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Lady Audley's Secret

3.71 of 5 stars 3.71  ·  rating details  ·  9,006 ratings  ·  522 reviews
1862. In Lady Audley_s Secret, Lucy, a governess without family, is loved by Sir Michael Audley, a rich landowner of Audley Court, Essex, and marries him even though some consider her an adventuress. George Talboys went to Australia in search of gold and returns after many years with money intended to make his wife happy. But when he encounters his old friend Robert Audley...more
Paperback, 441 pages
Published December 31st 2005 by Barnes & Noble (first published 1862)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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mark monday
whatever could be Lady Audley's secret? could it be... murder? miscegenation? malfeasance? misdirected malevolence ending in tears, tragedy, and general tawdriness? an assumed identity? flatulence? that not-so-fresh feeling? bigamy? bigotry? child abuse? child abandonment? une affaire de coeur? une affaire de blanchiment d'argent? well, all or some of those things may or may not be a part of this novel - but they are not the secret in question. Lady Audley's terrible, terrible secret is...
This is a sadly forgotten but great 19th century sensation novel that rivals some of Wilkie Collins' best books such as The Woman in White and the Moonstone. Its also one of the first to feature a female villain which wasn't typical of early literature. Nevertheless, this dynamic creates an interesting character study which discusses female motives and what they are capable of despite their beauty and grace. This is a great book and it definitely needs to move closer to the top on your to-read l...more
Final Rating 2-1/2 stars

I gave this book 3 stars because I actually felt compelled to finish it. I was tempted to quit, several times, but persevered. I am certain that this novel was quite "sensational" and "shocking" back in its day, but I don't feel it stands the test of time. Not only was there not much to be shocked about, but the writing was just too much about telling the reader just how shocking and terrifying the story is. Lots of dark lanes, wet, falling leaves, and sinister looks. The...more
This book was really good fun. A 19th century who-dunnit complete with beautiful but cunning villainess, rambling old houses and an upper-class layabout-turned-detective. Fabulous!

This was one of the first "sensation" novels ever written, and while it doesn't have the sophisticated and multi-layered plots of today that keep us guessing until the very end and on the edge of our seets, it is nonetheless a great page turner and so much fun. This book was originally serialised in a paper back in 186...more
I've read my fill of mystery/suspense stories and I must say that this was one of the better ones, in my opinion. Although it was published in the mid 1800's, the story line still felt fresh. Lots of build- up and even midway through I was not knowing where we would go next. I don't want to say too much, as to what happens, as "the secret" is the primary focus of the novel.

What I can say is that I was kept guessing throughout. There was one point in the book where I thought something was going t...more
Since this is one of those books that to tell too much of the story would ruin it, I'm only giving you the bare bones. Baronet Sir Michael Audley takes himself a young, beautiful (but penniless) wife, but his eighteen year old daughter Alicia is not quite so enthralled with Lucy's charms. Sir Michael's nephew Robert Audley greets his old friend George Talboys on his return from the gold-fields of Australia, but George is anxious to reunite with the wife and child he left behind when he was unabl...more
I think this would be a good book either for a teenager looking for "difficult" books or for someone who generally doesn't like literature.

About fifty pages in, I realized this book had absolutely nothing to say about people, or morality, or society. However, reading to the end wasn't a chore, and the last fifty pages or so actually moved at a rapid pace. Good writing on the part of Braddon? Maybe I had just clued in to the fact that half of every page was description that neither served the plo...more
A great psychological mystery. It was a lot of fun and I caught myself yelling at the protagonist, Robert Audley, who completely drove me nuts.

Honestly. How stupid can you be? Sure, it's a great idea to tell the person you suspect of murder that you suspect them, what and where your evidence is (so they can steal or destroy it again?) and who your witnesses are (they've probably killed once, what's to stop them again?). Smart. Then it dawns on him that maybe his suspect could turn all this again...more
Loved it. Not in that "wow, what a great piece of literature this hundred and fifty year old book is," but more like it's trashy and awesome and doesn't have a chapter 39. It skips right from 38 to 40. Probably because it's more lurid that way.

Also she calls the character Robert George at one point. Which I checked at all sources I could - apparently that's really not the narrator's issue - it's sic.

Lady Audley, girlfriend? Her secret's so big a Lady Sasquatch could use it for all-day protection...more
Things are not always as they appear, if there's a lesson to be learned from this book...there it is in a nut shell. There was a major curve ball thrown at the end and I was pleasantly surprised. I guess this is what was considered "chick-lit" in the 1800s. Bigamy, murder, lunacy, etc. Good deal!
What a fantastic, full book! I had never heard of this author until she was mentioned in the Victorians group and am thankful to them for bringing her to my attention.

This book has everything; great depth of characters, engaging plot, mystery, mayhem, murder, love, agony, despair, all nestled within a wonderfully described setting.

Interestingly, the women are also portrayed in a way that I don't often find, especially in the little Victorian literature I've read thus far. They are strong, they...more
Despite the title, the book is hardly salacious. It is actually a simple murder mystery with some 19th century scandal thrown in. I loved it, and think it is tragically underrated. The writing was crisp and neat and the plot was thought out. The characters were all different and had their own viewpoint. It was totally refreshing. (I also got to tell my husband while I was reading, "Quiet, I'm trying figure out Lady Audley's secret!")
Allison (The Allure of Books)
I intended to like this book more then I did. It was a good story -- really it was. It was just pure torture for me to read the whole thing knowing full well what would happen at the end. No surprises...poor Alicia!

I'll stick with Wilkie Collins in the future, thank you very much.
Megan Cullen
Apr 24, 2010 Megan Cullen rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Austen fans, Bronte fans
Wow! I LOVED this book. :) Sometimes I feel I should love dusty old classics because I am a writer, so I try desperately to love them but sometimes wind up feeling like I have been cheated. But this one really, really pleased me. Perhaps in part because I listened to it on my Ipod over the course of several months while I took long walks. I looked forward to my walks in anticipation of finding out what would happen next.

Surprisingly, I found Braddon's male viewpoint believable. Male readers may...more
Robert Audley, not the most highly motivated individual, finds himself investigating the disappearance of his friend, George Talboys, who is somehow linked to Robert’s aunt, the charming and beautiful – not to mention recent - Lady Audley. Almost universally adored, particularly by her doting husband, Lady Audley has a past that she is desperate to keep from her interfering step-nephew.

Robert is an unusual romantic hero, in that he is not the least inclined to be romantic, or to move himself to...more
Who wants to read an essay on this run-of-the mill Victorian sensation novel?!?!?!

A Mournful Presentiment:
A Synthesis of Childishness, Death, and Fate in Lady Audley’s Secret

In Lady Audley’s Secret, Mary Elizabeth Braddon uses childishness to achieve a heightened awareness of death. I will define “childishness” to include the inherent relationship between parent and child, and characters exhibiting childlike behavior. The juxtaposition of death and violence with childishness jars the reader fr...more
Years ago I read dozens of "classics" but I am so glad that this wasn't one of them, and that I saved myself the pleasure of it. This could well turn out to be one of my favourite reads of 2012. Audley, a village in Essex is home to Sir Michael Audley, who in his mid fifties marries the beautiful penniless governess of the local surgeon. The new Lady Audley takes up residence at Audley Court, with her new husband and his daughter Alicia. Alicia having had her father to herself for years is non t...more
Feb 07, 2008 Wealhtheow rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Wealhtheow by: Maggie
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Liz (Consumed by Books)
As you can tell from my status updates on GoodReads, this book took me a ridiculously long time to get through. It was actually for my Vic Lit book club (not school), and the week I had for Thanksgiving wound up being ridiculous, so I've only just had the chance to finish it. Despite the amount of time it took me to read Lady Audley's Secret, I really enjoyed it on the whole.

I have to say that the plot is a bit predictable. It's fairly easy to figure out what the basic idea is. With that being s...more
"The author writes lightly but her characters are firm. Strangely compelling," I wrote at first, and I'm giving this three stars because fore and aft were very interesting -- it was only the middle that sagged (Robert Audley is a damn useless bore.)
An absorbing Victorian sensation novel - murder, arson, blackmail, bigamy, you name it. Braddon's writing style is nothing special, but the plot is fast-paced and never dull, and the main character is a nicely manipulative villainess. I'll have to read The Woman in White by Wilkie Collins soon, as this book is often compared to it. (I have since read The Woman in White twice and think it superior.)
One of my more enjoyable reads of the Victorian era. A good story of an English gentleman on the trail of answers to his friend's disappearance. The young wife of his noble uncle becomes the unlikely center of his investigation. I like the way the wheels turn in this well written story. It was a page turner for me and I can see how the "sensational" Ms. Braddon was so popular in her day.
E. Chainey (Bookowski)
Altın Bilek Yayınları'nın haberine göre kitabın basımı 2014 içinde olacak, tavsiyem üzerine almışlardı yayın programına. Klasik yazarlar sürekli aynı eserleri Türkçe'ye çevrilen yazarlardan ibaret değildir, bunu dikkate alan yayınevi görmek güzel. Bize de kitabın çıkmasını beklemek, almak, okumak ve yorumlamak düşer. Ve umarım en kısa zamanda.

A "classic" free as audio here Book Should Bee Free or at LibriVox. Narrated by Elizabeth Klett.

Lady Audley's Secret is written by Mary Elisabeth Braddon (1837-1915) , her first novel (one of the most popular English novels of its day) published 1862.
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‘Surely a pretty woman never looks prettier than when making tea.’

From the blurb
Lady Audley's Secret tells the story of the lovely Lucy Graham, who becomes Lady Audley at the beginning of the novel, and who conceals a scandalo...more
Nov 10, 2013 Kathleen marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, classic
This Victorian novel is a classic, full of sensationalistic drama: bigamy, madness, deception, etc. It is available for FREE on audio, at Librivox, narrated by one reader, and proofed. It's good quality. Find it at
Elli (The Bibliophile)
I really enjoyed this! I think this is more 3.75 stars for me, but I'll keep it at 4 stars for now! I'll be doing a google hang-out with Mercedes on April 5, so keep a look out for a video announcement soon!
☽ Moon Rose ☯
Falsehood is often hard to recognize especially if it bears a face with a tantalizing beauty of a woman. Her infectious charm and beguiling nature can easily hide a lie, where the essence of its truth could never be questioned as it fades into the hypnotic allure of her mysterious smile. It is within this arresting power of a woman that she can maneuver a man to whichever she wants, dominating him over to believe in whichever she pleases, a silent power that lies within the heart of any woman, w...more
Indu Sundaresan
Braddon was a prolific author of some eighty books, but the one she’s best known for is Lady Audley’s Secret .

As novels go, this one has the usual cast of characters. A rich, older nobleman, Sir Michael Audley, who’s never been in love before but is ripe for it in his later years. The young woman he marries, Lucy Graham, pretty, blue-eyed, a head covered in yellow ringlets, possessed of an imperturbable temper. Audley’s daughter, Alicia, until now first in her father’s affections, and naturally...more
I haven't met a Victorian sensation novel that I haven't enjoyed yet and this one was no different in that sense. It's a mystery novel, and though you sort of know what Lady Audley's secret it very early on, there are enough twists and turns to keep you flipping the pages as fast as you can. Unlike other novels of this time period (thinking Of East Lynne and Wilkie Collins's books) I found it difficult to become emotionally involved with any of the characters - Braddon tried to infuse them with...more
Jul 17, 2012 Michigosling rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Beach readers, lovers or Victorian pulp fiction
Recommended to Michigosling by: M. H. Lovelace gave it a negative recommendation
The main character in one of my all-time favorite books, Betsy and Tacy Go Downtown, gets in trouble for reading this book, so I've always felt mildly curious to find out what the fuss was about. Since I can't go to the Betsy-Tacy convention that I was hoping to attend this coming week, and there are no MHL books left on my "to read" list, I decided this is as good a time as any to read it.

Having now finished it, I can't agree with Mrs. Ray or Mr. Kelly that it's trash not worth reading. Granted...more
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Mary Elizabeth Braddon was a British Victorian era popular novelist. She was an extremely prolific writer, producing some 75 novels with very inventive plots. The most famous one is her first novel, Lady Audley's Secret (1862), which won her recognition and fortune as well. The novel has been in print ever since, and has been dramatised and filmed several times.

Braddon also founded Belgravia Magaz...more
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“Surely a pretty woman never looks prettier than when making tea.” 91 likes
“Phoebe Marks was a person who never lost her individuality. Silent and self-contained, she seemed to hold herself within herself, and take no colour from the outer world.” 21 likes
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