Friday, May 6, 2011

Lady Audley's Secret (Mary Elizabeth Braddon)

Good news! I got accepted as a reviewer for IntoTheBook. I was fairly worried at first, because I'm not used to writing structured reviews, but I managed to pass master. Praise the Lord!

Today, I surprised myself by reading Lady Audley's Secret, a book which to my surprise, was published in 1862. But the book actually appears quite contemporary. However, I suppose the thick novel is due to the style of writing in installments? I'm not sure, since I don't study Victorian Era Literature.

Lady Audley's Secret talks about Lady Audley (to state the very obvious), who is married to the much-older Sir Audley. However, she was a governess previously, which causes some surprise at first, but her amiable, open ways soon win people over, with the exception of her step-daughter.

However, suspicion soon falls on her, (by Sir Audley's nephew Robert),  when his friend mysteriously disappears. George Talboys (his friend), had just returned from Australia, where he made his fortune, to go back to the wife he loves.

The culprit in this story is actually very obvious from the start, but the ending had a real twist. It's not the doppelganger type of twist, that's not believable, but something that I can actually believe happened.

The story is very compelling, albeit at a fairly slow pace, and was quite different by the fact that a lot of thought was given towards the moral issues in the story, taking into consideration the opinions of many people (even Lady Audley!), something that isn't often seen today. However, I don't like two aspects of the book:

a. When Christianity is referred to, they seem to be talking about the forms of Christianity, and taking it to be the substance. The reference only appeared, I think, twice, but it was enough to dampen my complete enthusiasm for the book.

b. Despite the fact that this novel is written by a woman, there are many many disparaging comments about women here. Apart from over-generalisations, the portrayal is fairly negative (but not completely). This took up more 'space' in the book, but thankfully, did not overshadow the main plot.

Seeing as the book was published in the nineteenth century, I believe you can find it on Project Gutenberg, if so, just download it and read it(:

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