Lady Audley's Secret
Oh dear! The blog has been neglected again. I still have to post my list of books read in February, which was considerable.
In the meantime, I really want to write about about Lady Audley's Secret by Mary Elizabeth Braddon. I listened to this as an audiobook at Librivox. The entire book was read by a single reader who did a marvelous job, and I recommend it highly.
Within the first two chapters, a tension is created that is maintained until the very end. The reader is not told outright, but is given enough hints to know pretty well what Lady Audley's secret is. But we are left to watch the characters with a sort of breathless anticipation. When will A meet B? When will B hear about C? And what, in the end, will the guilty party do when concealment is no longer possible? The writing is very good--very skillful--and the story compels you from chapter to chapter.
At first glance, the story seems as if it might be a tawdry tale--titillating in a Victorian sort of way--but it is not. It is a moral story--a righteous story. A great wrong has been done, and there is a chosen one, compelled by higher forces to act so that the wrong will be revealed, the evil-doer punished, and the innocent comforted to the greatest extent possible. Seemingly chance circumstances bring the secret to light, bit by bit. Be sure your sin will find you out.
Sir Michael Audley marries young, beautiful, orphaned Lucy Grahame. She is charming, generous, sweet, sensitive, and devoted to her husband. Young Robert Audley, Sir Michael's nephew, is half-infatuated with her himself at the first, for she is much younger than her husband, but the inexplicable disappearance of his bereaved friend, George Tallboys is consuming his thoughts. Always an indolent, relaxed sort of person, he is goaded into action and vigilantly pursues every clue that might lead him to the truth, no matter how grievous.
I really do not want to give away some of the surprises in the story, so I will say no more. For those who enjoy Victorian literature, as I do, this is definitely one to put on the "to be read" list. Or, head over to Librivox and listen to it there!