26 October 2010
She's a Lady?
Lady Audley's Secret, by Mary Elizabeth Braddon, is a fun Victorian sensation novel. There isn't much mystery exactly, as you pretty much know what the secret is pretty early in the story but that doesn't detract at all from the reading experience.
Lucy Graham is a vivacious, beautiful governess with whom Lord Audley falls in love. His first wife is long dead and his only daughter is in her teens and he has no need of a noble heir. He marries her and she becomes Lady Audley. Lord Audley has a nephew, Robert, who is a London lawyer who doesn't do much but travel and go to his club. Months after the marriage, Robert runs into a friend, George Talboys, who has just returned from Australia rich with gold. George left in disgrace, penniless, leaving his wife and infant alone and has not contacted them in over 3 years. Right after meeting Robert, George reads that his wife has died. George is distraught and Robert attempts to console him, first with trips to the Continent and Russia, then with a visit to Lord Audley's home to do whatever guys did back then. However, as they are about to leave, George disappears. Robert doesn't believe that George actually went back to Australia and searches for his friend.
I liked these characters! i liked Robert very much. I think it's about as clear as a Victorian novel could be that he was in love with George. I liked him for that. I felt for his struggles with what he should do, what was right or wrong. He's a darn good detective too, if a little slow. I can't say i liked Lucy but I wanted to read about her.
A thing i liked about the volume i read was the introduction. after having been spoiled by a couple intros i don't normally read them until after i finish the book. When i read this one, after i read the book, they had a few pages of general info then a space with a sentence all in caps: DO NOT READ ANY FURTHER IF YOU DO NOT WANT TO KNOW LADY AUDLEY'S SECRET. Perfect! That is exactly what intros need to do. The older a book is, the more likely a reader may need some background information. But that doesn't mean they already know the story or have read it before. Spoilers suck.
Overall, a 6. This counts for the 2010 Challenge as it is waaaaay Older than Me and also for the RIP Challenge. Oh and the Classics Challenge!