BohoAutumn's Reviews > Lady Audley's Secret

Lady Audley's Secret by Mary Elizabeth Braddon
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's review
Feb 18, 2011

it was ok
bookshelves: classics
Read in August, 2009

A sensation novel of Victorian England that rivalled Wilkie Collins' own efforts. What's a sensation novel?

For this reason alone, it is an important work. It was one instrument in the creation of a genre, as well as being amongst the earliest crime novels. This novel includes murder attempts, child abandonment, bigamy, and deceit.

The plot is complex and well-structured, overall a generally good story, and the characters are well-rounded enough. However..... the writing is dull. No, not the dullest, but dreary nonetheless. I enjoy a lengthy well-described scene, but Braddon writes more like a screen writer. It's just lifeless and flat. After 100 pages, they became mind-numbing.

I can certainly see its appeal in its day, very shocking indeed. But today? I think that I can only recommend it to those who are fans of both crime-mysteries and classics. For it's importance it's worth having read it, and may deserve another star for that, but if 19thC crime doesn't do it for you, you'll likely be disappointed and find it a waste of time. I'm a classics fan and this was very below par. I didn't hate it, but I didn't enjoy it either.

You can read it online here.
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