Emily St. Aubert leads a simple and contented life. A lover of nature, she finds the like-minded man of her dreams, the handsome Valancourt, on a journey across the Pyrenees. Her peace and happiness, however, come to a swift end when her father succumbs to an illness and she is sent to live with her aunt.
Madame Cheron does not share her niece’s interest in the natural world and shows little concern for the girl’s feelings. When her aunt marries a haughty Italian nobleman, Montoni, Emily has no choice but to accompany the couple to the gloomy and remote Castle Udolpho. Unsure if she will ever see her beloved Valancourt again, she is alone, trapped, and frightened. Her nightmare is about to begin.
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