Cue dastardly music and mustache twisting villain – “Lady Audley’s Secret” by Mary Elizabeth Braddon

December 5, 2012 at 8:55 pm Leave a comment

Lady Audley’s Secret by Mary Elizabeth Braddon, Published in 1862

I will always have a soft place in my heart for the gothic Victorian novel.  They always contain the classic characters -the foolish spouse, the conniving wife, the blackmailer, the righter of wrongs.  And of course there is always the deep, dark secret that must be discovered.  Lady Audley’s Secret” was no exception to these gothic novel rules. As society has changed the deep, dark secret is really not so deep or dark as it once was but surely we must humor those stodgy Victorians.

Robert Audley’s friend George Talboys returns to London after living in Australia. Years before George had left his wife and his newborn son to strike it rich in Australia in the hopes of providing for them.  Upon his return, George finds that his wife has died and he suffers from extreme melancholy and guilt.  He frequently visits his son, who has been raised by George’s drunken father-in-law. Robert remains a steadfast friend while George mourns his wife.

Finally, Robert decides to take George to his Uncle’s house, Audley Court, for a relaxing stay. Robert is also interested in finally  meeting his beautiful and beguiling Aunt, who his Uncle has just married.  His Aunt, Lucy Graham, had been working as a governess in the local doctor’s home when her charms won over Lord Audley and so she quickly became Lady Audley. During Robert and George’s visit to Audley Court, George suddenly disappears.  Robert tries to piece together what has happened to him.  He returns to London and then visits George’s father-in-law who assures Robert that George has returned to Australia. But of course, Robert believes that George has met with some kind of foul play and begins his search for his friend. His search leads down a dark and twisted path ultimately answering the reader’s pressing question “What is Lady Audley’s Secret?”

Yes, it is cheesy and some of the scenes are perfectly ridiculous. But it is still such a great read. And it is fun to imagine the readers in 1862 sitting and waiting for the next installment of the book probably with secrets of their own, maybe that they were purposefully showing a little too much ankle. Oh the scandal!

Other reviews to check out:

From Musings

From The Book of Tomorrow

From The Book Return

Cover of

Cover via Amazon

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Entry filed under: December 2012 reads. Tags: , , , , , , .

A thankful reader Mr. Chabon is super cool and you get to read all about it – “Telegraph Avenue” by Michael Chabon

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There is some great literature out there, but there is a lot of bad literature as well. We shouldn't all have to read it. These are my recommendations and thoughts about the books I read.

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