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Charlotte Temple is the story of the titular young woman who becomes entangled in a love affair with a lieutenant in the British army. Encouraged by her wayward teacher, Mademoiselle La Rue, Charlotte leaves behind her boarding school and absconds to America along with her seducer, lieutenant Montraville, and his friend Belcour. Far from her home in England, Charlotte’s notions of purity, romance, and familial devotion are quickly brought into stark conflict as she experiences the pain of misplaced trust and betrayal on the unfamiliar shores of New York.
The novel, first published in 1791, quickly became a bestseller, and remained the best-selling novel in American literature until it was unseated in 1851 by Uncle Tom’s Cabin.
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