Book Review: Lady Audley’s Secret by Mary Elizabeth Braddon (Four Stars)


Book Review: Lady Audley’s Secret by Mary Elizabeth Braddon

Four Stars

“You know the secret which is the key to my life.”

Unexpectedly good fiction. As deep and introspective as the best modern storytelling though written 150 years ago. Nineteenth century England produced many treasures apparently hidden to American readers by the glare of modernity. A mystery and a romance, of sorts. Based, as they say today, on a true story.

“Life is such a troublesome matter … that it’s as well even to take its blessings quietly.”

Braddon takes the reader deep into both male and female characters. That all is not as it appears is obvious, but what it turns out to be–especially the lady’s secret–is not what the reader suspects through most of the book. In her way, Braddon is as good as Jane Austen.

“It is mistake to judge what a man can do by that which he has done.”

Social, language, gender patterns have changed in 150 years. Some changes readers must sort for themselves, but some give insight to inner workings of the soul which resist change.

“I know I’m no better than the rest of the world, but I can’t help it if I’m pleasanter. It’s constitutional.”