The commission of one crime often requires the perpetration of another. When once we enter on the labyrinth of vice, we can seldom return, but are led on, through correspondent mazes, to destruction.On the northern shore of Sicily, a tourist visiting the ruins of the once-magnificent castle of the house of Mazzini uncovers the noble family’s turbulent history.The Marquis Mazzini’s daughters, Emilia and Julia, are beautiful and accomplished young ladies. Julia quickly falls in love with the young and handsome Italian count Hippolitus de Vereza, but, to her dismay, her father decides that she should marry Duke de Luovo instead. On the night before her wedding, Julia flees to elope with Hippolitus, but the Marquis ambushes them and seemingly kills Hippolitus, whose body is carried away by his servants. The Marquis demands that Julia accepts the engagement with de Luovo, but she manages to escape again, this time alone.In a tense game of cat-and-mouse, the Marquis and the spurned Duke de Luovo set out to catch Julia, who adopts various hiding places as she narrowly avoids capture and eventually ends up, by way of a secret tunnel, in the abandoned and supposedly haunted southern apartments of the Mazzini castle. There Julia discovers that her mother, thought to be dead, has instead been imprisoned here for years by the Marquis, who had grown to despise her. The newly reunited mother and daughter are determined to help each other. Meanwhile, the Marquis faces his own marital troubles with his new wife, Maria de Vellorno, and boldly accuses her of infidelity … with fatal consequences.First published anonymously in 1790, A Sicilian Romance is a haunting Gothic novel from Ann Radcliffe, whom Sir Walter Scott dubbed “the first poetess of romantic fiction.” She has influenced such notable authors as Sir Walter Scott, Victor Hugo, the Marquis de Sade, Alexandre Dumas, Jane Austen, Mary Shelley, Edgar Allan Poe, and H. P. Lovecraft.