Charlotte Temple

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Charlotte Temple is a novel by British-American author Susanna Rowson, originally published in England in 1791 under the title Charlotte, A Tale of Truth. It tells the story of a schoolgirl, Charlotte Temple, who is seduced by a British officer and brought to America, where she is abandoned, pregnant, sick and in poverty. The first American edition was published in 1794 and the novel became a bestseller. It has gone through over 200 American editions. Late in life, the author would write a sequel that would be published posthumously.

The book relates the tale of Charlotte Temple, who is enticed by a dashing soldier, John Montraville, to run away with him, but after they cross to America, he abandons her. It belongs to the seduction novel genre popular in early American literature.

The novel opens upon an unexpected encounter between the British Lieutenant Montraville and Charlotte Temple, a tall, elegant girl of 15. Montraville sets his mind on seducing Charlotte and succeeds with the help of his libertine friend Belcour and Mademoiselle La Rue, a teacher at the boarding school Charlotte attends. Mademoiselle La Rue had herself eloped from a convent with a young officer and "possessed too much of the spirit of intrigue to remain long without adventures." Montraville soon loses interest in the young girl and, being led by Belcour to believe in Charlotte's infidelity towards him, trusts Belcour to take care of Charlotte and the child she expects.

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