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Lady Audley's Secret by Mary Elizabeth…
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Lady Audley's Secret (1862)

by Mary Elizabeth Braddon

Other authors: See the other authors section.

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2,066664,622 (3.75)251
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English (64)  French (1)  All languages (65)
Showing 1-5 of 64 (next | show all)
Loved this...great fun. 4.5-stars, rounded down.

As I read Lady Audley's Secret, I kept thinking of Poe, Conan Doyle and Anne Bronte. A nice combination, if I must say so myself. Braddon has created an interesting story line and a creepy environment in which to plunk down her motley set of characters. I loved the conflicting ideas that are present within Lady Audley herself and especially enjoyed the myriad ways she is viewed by the other characters in the story. Her secret did surprise me, and I confess I thought it would not.

Braddon does a wonderful job of creating atmosphere and her descriptive passages are delightful and vivid. She plants red herrings and takes the mind into many dead-end suppositions. She made me laugh a little, but at the same time cringe. In the end, I loved both her story and the way it was delivered. While many things progressed in the novel exactly as I assumed they would, there were a few moments of complete surprise and that is always nice in this genre. I will not hesitate to read more of Braddon's work when I can fit it into my schedule. ( )
  phantomswife | Jul 6, 2018 |
Both of my book sites recommended I read Mary Elizabeth Braddon's "Lady Audley's Secret" -- and I can totally see why. Victorian mystery literature, billed as being in the vein of Wilkie Collins -- clearly right up my alley. I wasn't disappointed, I enjoyed this book a lot.

In this novel, Lucy Graham, is a governess who marries up and improves her circumstances to become Lady Audley. Her nephew by marriage, Robert Audley, visits the area with a new friend, who promptly disappears. Robert is determined to find out what happened to his friend, which brings him digging to determine what secrets is new aunt is hiding.

The mystery itself isn't really all that interesting -- there aren't a ton of twists and turns here. But the characters are interesting and it's enjoyable enough to see where desperate circumstances take them. This was a pretty fun read overall. ( )
  amerynth | May 1, 2018 |
Yikes! What a book! Who said the Victorians led prim and proper lives? This romance/thriller has everything: bigamy, attempted murder, arson,theft and madness. What's not to like?

The novel opens with the marriage of beautiful Lucy Graham to Sir Michael Audley, a middle-aged, rich widower. Lucy, n orphan, has been a governess for the local doctor, Mr. Dawson prior to her marriage. At the aame time, Sir Michael's nephew, Robert Audley, welcomes his old friend George Talboys back to England, after striking it rich in the gold fields of Ausatralia.

George is anxious to get news of his wife, Helen, whom he left with their infant son, Georgy, when their financial situation became desperate, to seek gold in Australia. However, he reads in the newspaper that she has died, and, after visiting her home to confirm this, he becomes despondent. Robert Audley cares for his friend, and, hoping to distract him, offers to take him to his wealthy uncle's country manor.

While at Audley Court, the new Lady Audley avoids meeting with George. She makes many excuses to avoid their visit, but he and Robert are shown a portrait of her by Alicia Audley, Robert's cousin, and George appears greatly struck by the portrait. Shortly thereafter, George disappears during a visit to Audley Court. Unwilling to believe that George has simply left suddenly and without notice, Robert begins to look into the circumstances around the strange disappearance.

Robert begins to take notes of the events as they unfold. His notes indicate the involvement of Lady Audley, much to his chagrin, and he slowly begins to collect evidence against her. He traces her life back to the time when George leaves for Australia And builds a damning case against his uncle's wife. Finally, while interviewing her employers before she became governess, Robert obtains a travel box that used to belong to Lucy, and upon examining stickers on the box, Robert discovers both the name Lucy Graham and the name Helen Talboys.

When Robert confronts Lucy, she tells him that he has no proof, and he leaves to find more evidence, heading to Castle Inn, which is run by the husband of Lucy's former maid. During the night Lucy sets the place on fire, with the intention of killing Robert. However, Robert survives and returns to Audley Court and again confronts Lucy. This time, she says she is insane and confesses her life's story to Robert and Sir Michael, along with the fact that she killed George by pushing him down a dry well in the garden.

Sir Michael embarrassed as well as heartbroken, leaves Audley for Europe while Robert instally Lucy in a French sanitarium where she will be out of the way. And like any good soap opera, George isn't dead after all. He just broke his arm in the fall into the well & was rescued by the proprietor of the Castle Inn, so smiles all around.

Published in 1862, this book has never been out of print and I can see why. Even with its somewhat florid 19th Century language (and the fact that the reader will figure out "the secret" almost immediately), this is a page turner & still is a great beach read. ( )
  etxgardener | Jul 20, 2017 |
This is a great Victorian "sensation" novel, with a mystery involving a beautiful, evil heroine, an amateur detective, romance, palatial mansion setting etc. It is a shorter and faster read than is typical of Victorian novels (really it's moving out of the Victorian genre in style even if not in time period). I loved it. ( )
  kaitanya64 | Jan 3, 2017 |
A young woman, whose husband has run off to Australia to make his fortune, gives herself a new name and ends up marrying an old rich lord. The husband returns, Lady Audley kills him and her secret is safe. Except that her husband was good friends with the lord's nephew, Robert. Robert investigates his friends disappearance and turns up all of Lady Audley's secrets. She is put away in an insane asylum. In the end she dies a couple of years later and her husband, who she supposedly killed, turns out to be alive, and in Australia.

Written back in the 1860's, I'm sure this was shocking stuff; bigamy, murder, etc, etc. Sadly, today, the social foundations that made this story shocking no longer exist and so the story descends into a mere murder mystery. I feel so jaded on society's behalf. ( )
  BookstoogeLT | Dec 10, 2016 |
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» Add other authors (25 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Braddon, Mary ElizabethAuthorprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Klett, ElizabethNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Leighton, LordCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Pykett, LynEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Skilton, DavidEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Stevenson, JulietNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Taylor, Jenny BourneEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Dedication
Dedicated to the Right Hon. Sir Edward Bulwer Lytton, Bart., M.P., D.C.L, &c., &c., in grateful acknowledgement of literary advice most generously given to the Author.
First words
Audley Court lay low down in a hollow, rich with fine old timber and luxuriant pastures; and you came upon it through an avenue of limes, bordered on either side by meadows, over the high hedges of which the cattle looked inquisitively at you as you passed, wondering, perhaps, what you wanted; for there was no thoroughfare, and unless you were going to the Court you had no business there at all.
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Robert had a prim bedroom . . . and he woke every morning upon a metallic spring mattress, which always gave him the idea of sleeping upon some musical instrument . . .
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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From the book cover:
"Did she remember the day in which that fairy dower of beauty had first taught her to be selfish and cruel, indifferent to the joys and sorrows of others?"

Sir Michael Audley is captivated by his young and beautiful second wife. She has made a most advantageous match: once a governess, she is now mistress of Audley Court, a splendid and rambling mansion, and envy of the neighborhood. Those who meet Lady Audley are fascinated by her, most particularly her husband's nephew, Robert. But his fascination begins to disturb him. For as he investigates the mysterious disappearance of his friend, George Talboys, he discovers that Lady Audley's beguiling charm masks the cold heart of a ruthless woman.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0192835203, Paperback)

This Victorian bestseller, along with Braddon's other famous novel, Aurora Floyd, established her as the main rival of the master of the sensational novel, Wilkie Collins. A protest against the passive, insipid 19th-century heroine, Lady Audley was described by one critic of the time as "high-strung, full of passion, purpose, and movement." Her crime (the secret of the title) is shown to threaten the apparently respectable middle-class world of Victorian England.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:25:36 -0400)

(see all 7 descriptions)

In a novel which has lost none of its power to disturb and entertain, the leading light of Victorian 'sensation' fiction draws on contemporary theories of insanity to probe Victorian anxieties about the rapid rise of consumer culture.

» see all 5 descriptions

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Penguin Australia

2 editions of this book were published by Penguin Australia.

Editions: 0140435840, 0141198842

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