Irish Fiction Fridays: Regina Maria Roche: The Children of the Abbey

This week on Irish Fiction Friday we offer The Children of the Abbey by Regina Maria Roche. Though not as famous as some of the other Gothic romance writers of her time, she was a bestselling author in her own time.

“Regina Maria Roche (1764–1845) is considered today to be a minor Gothic novelist who wrote in the shadow of Ann Radcliffe…. The popularity of her third novel, The Children of the Abbey, rivaled that of Ann Radcliffe’s The Mysteries of Udolpho.”

Roche was born in County Wexford, Ireland and grew up in Dublin. Her father was a Captain in the British 40th Regiment. She married Ambrose Roche in 1794 and moved to England. She published her first novel as a teenager and a total of 16 novels during her lifetime. After her husband died in 1829, she returned to Wexford, Ireland and remained there until her death.

“The Children of the Abbey was one of the period’s most popular novels, a sentimental Gothic Romance. Her book, Clermont, was Roche’s only real attempt at writing a truly Gothic novel, and is decidedly darker in tone than anything else she wrote. Both novels went through several editions and were translated into both French and Spanish. Clermont was one of the Northanger Horrid Novels satirized by Jane Austen in her novel Northanger Abbey.” (

Be patient as the pdf of The Children of the Abbey loads rather slowly.