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Mary Elizabeth Braddon, the daughter of a solicitor, was educated privately. As a young woman, she acted under an assumed name for three years in order to support herself and her mother. In 1860 she met John Maxwell, a publisher of periodicals, whose wife was in an asylum for the insane. Braddon acted as stepmother to Maxwell's five children and bore him five illegitimate children before the couple married, in 1874, when Maxwell's wife died. Braddon's most famous novel, Lady Audley's Secret (1862), was first published serially in Robin Goodfellow and The Sixpenny Magazine. One of the earliest sensationalist novels, it sold nearly one million copies during Braddon's lifetime. Its plot involves bigamy, the protagonist's desertion of her child, her murder of her first husband, and her thoughts of poisoning her second husband. The novel shocked and outraged her contemporary, Margaret Oliphant, who said Braddon had invented "the fair-haired demon of modern fiction." Throughout her long literary career, during which she wrote more than 80 novels and edited several magazines, Braddon was often excoriated for her penchant for sensationalizing violence, crime, and sexual indiscretion. Nevertheless, Braddon had many well-known devotees, among them William Makepeace Thackeray, Edward Bulwer-Lytton, and Robert Louis Stevenson. Braddon died in 1915. (Bowker Author Biography)
— biography from Lady Audley's Secret
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Short biography
Mary Elizabeth Braddon was born in London and her parents separated when she was five years old. Mary worked as an actress to support herself and her mother. In 1860, she met John Maxwell, a publisher, and began living with him despite the fact that he was married with five children; his wife was in an asylum in Ireland. Mary acted as a stepmother to the children until 1874, when Maxwell's wife died and they were able to marry. They had six children together, including the future writer William Babington (W.B.) Maxwell. Mary was an extremely prolific writer, producing more than 80 novels and numerous short stories. In 1866, she founded Belgravia, a lavishly illustrated magazine that published serialized novels, poems, travel narratives, and essays on fashion, history and science.
Disambiguation notice

LibraryThing Early Reviewers Alum

Mary Elizabeth Braddon's book Enter At Your Own Risk: Old Masters, New Voices was available from LibraryThing Early Reviewers.

Mary Elizabeth Braddon's book Dracula's Guest was available from LibraryThing Early Reviewers.

Mary Elizabeth Braddon's book The Lawyer's Secret was available from LibraryThing Early Reviewers.

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