Monday, April 11, 2011

Lady Audley's Secret

Finished Lady Audley's Secret by Mary Elizabeth Braddon. Originally published in 1862, it is a sensational novel involving murder, bigamy and madness. Braddon wrote many stories of this sort that were serialized in penny dreadfuls for the entertainment of the lower classes. This made me think of Louisa May Alcott's sensational fiction of the same period.

The prose is very straightforward and accessible. The pace is fast and the story compelling. In some ways I think the use of travel by railroad and message by telegraph increased the pace even more. Robert Audley's fondness for his missing friend George Tallboys and his attraction to George's sister Clara, in whose face he sees George, reminded me of Charles Rider's attraction to the Marchmain family in Brideshead Revisted. The story itself also reminded me of Wilke Collins' The Woman in White.

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