The Readers Review: Literature from 1714 to 1910 discussion

Wyllard's Weird
This topic is about Wyllard's Weird
17 views
2019 Group Reads - Archives > Wyllard's Weird Sept 8-14: Vol III, Ch 8 (The Last Link) to the end.

Comments Showing 1-15 of 15 (15 new)    post a comment »
dateDown arrow    newest »

message 1: by Frances, Moderator (last edited Sep 08, 2019 06:07PM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Frances (francesab) | 1775 comments Mod
Thank you for joining me on this read-I'm so glad so many of you read and discussed!

How have our characters fared? Bothwell put in his hard work and dedication to his life's plan, and won back Hilda by proving his loyalty and his worth.

As for Lady Valeria

That winter of widowhood at Monaco, with her staunch ally Sir George Varney in constant attendance upon her, had made a curious change in Lady Valeria. It had vulgarised her with that gratuitous vulgarity which has become of late years one of the leading notes in English society—the affectation of clipped words and slang phrases, the choice of vulgar ideas, the studious cultivation of vulgar manners. Naturally this acquired vulgarity of Mayfair is not quite the same as that of Brixton or Highbury. There is not the genuine ring about it. The accent is the accent of Patricia, but the words are the words of Plebeia. It is, however, all the more offensive, because of that blending of aristocratic insolence—that Pall Mall swagger which gives ton to the idioms of Hoxton and Holloway.

Harsh words for this character and for aristocratic society in general.

What did you think of Dora's long recovery? Will she marry Edward, or be a perpetual widow? What do you think of their prospects if they do marry?

What did you think of the novel overall? Would you consider it an early mystery or a character-driven novel, or something else? Had you read other Braddon novels, if so how does this compare? if not, are you inclined to do so now?

Please share your final thoughts as this read wraps up.


message 2: by Lori, Moderator (new) - rated it 5 stars

Lori Goshert (lori_laleh) | 1280 comments Mod
Braddon seems to imply that Dora and Heathcote will marry. I think they will be happy.

At some point after finishing, I remembered that Heathcote had children. I thought it a bit strange that he never really mentions them or thinks about them, as far as we get into his head.

I liked the way Braddon handled the Hilda/Bothwell thing. Hilda didn't shut herself away and cry when she heard about Valeria (though, as mentioned last week, she probably should have spoken to Bothwell). She took the opportunity to do something she really wanted to do. And Heathcote, instead of freaking out about it, trusted to his sister's good sense. Bothwell, back home, started his work and was well established by the time Hilda returned. I wonder if Braddon had been rolling her eyes at the way female protagonists were often portrayed by male authors.

My only criticism on the "character" count is that Dora and Heathcote may have been written a bit too perfect.

I haven't read any other Braddon novels, but this one impressed me and I've added more to the list.


message 3: by Frances, Moderator (new) - rated it 4 stars

Frances (francesab) | 1775 comments Mod
I also think that Dora and Heathcote will marry, however I do worry that, in taking so long to recover from her relationship with Julian (far beyond the expected year) she rather makes it clear that Heathcote is a distant second to the very flawed Julian. I wonder what effect that will have on their relationship in the long term, whether Heathcote will come to resent having always been second place.

Good point about the children-he was willing not only to miss Hilda's wedding but also left his children in the care of their governess for a very long time when he decided to extend his stay in Paris to pursue the mystery.


message 4: by Robin P, Moderator (new) - rated it 4 stars

Robin P | 2028 comments Mod
On the other hand, Julian never had children with his Marie or Dora, which was convenient.


message 5: by Frances, Moderator (new) - rated it 4 stars

Frances (francesab) | 1775 comments Mod
I'm hoping that Dora will get pregnant if and when she marries Edward. (I once again see parallels with our discussion of The Claverings and Hermione's pregnancies or lack thereof).


Jenny | 124 comments Lori wrote: "I liked the way Braddon handled the Hilda/Bothwell thing. Hilda didn't shut herself away and cry when she heard about Valeria (though, as mentioned last week, she probably should have spoken to Bothwell). She took the opportunity to do something she really wanted to do. And Heathcote, instead of freaking out about it, trusted to his sister's good sense...."

While I’ve mentioned that I wasn’t a big fan of Hilda running away, I agree with Lori, I was impressed with the way it was handled once she was in Paris. For a woman to be on her own fulfilling her own desires and for her brother to trust in her ability to take care of herself and make intelligent choices was ahead of its time.


message 7: by Frances, Moderator (new) - rated it 4 stars

Frances (francesab) | 1775 comments Mod
Jenny wrote: "While I’ve mentioned that I wasn’t a big fan of Hilda running away, I agree with Lori, I was impressed with the way it was handled once she was in Paris. For a woman to be on her own fulfilling her own desires and for her brother to trust in her ability to take care of herself and make intelligent choices was ahead of its time."

My only concern was that I wondered if she might fall in love with one of the sons of the household, but this being a Victorian novel I guess no heroine (other than Dora!) could be untrue to her first love.


message 8: by Robin P, Moderator (last edited Sep 08, 2019 05:32PM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Robin P | 2028 comments Mod
The ending reminded me of Wilkie Collins, a lot of drama and the villain confessing.

I have so much trouble keeping this straight from The Claverings that when Florence was mentioned, it took me a moment to realize it was the city and not a woman's name!

There is a certain feminism in this story in that Hilda sets the terms for the marriage and decides what will be good for their relationship, rather than just being grateful a man has proposed to her. Also she pursues her own interests, as mentioned above. Trollope probably wouldn't have given as much agency to a woman. I was a bit annoyed that after Hilda was discovered by her brother, he had to review her situation and make sure he approved of the family and her endeavors.


Emma (emmalaybourn) | 298 comments Frances wrote: I'm hoping that Dora will get pregnant if and when she marries Edward...

I hope so too, and I expect she will. I think the barrenness of her marriage to Julian is supposed to somehow symbolise its essential hollowness because of his long deceit. Although it will obviously be a long wait for Heathcote, I think that Dora's loyalty to her flawed husband underlines her essential goodness.

Until Lori mentioned it, I hadn't noticed that Heathcote never mentions his children. Yes, that is a little disturbing...


message 10: by Lori, Moderator (new) - rated it 5 stars

Lori Goshert (lori_laleh) | 1280 comments Mod
Emma wrote: "Although it will obviously be a long wait for Heathcote, I think that Dora's loyalty to her flawed husband underlines her essential goodness."

And I think Heathcote would be the type to like Dora less if she showed any disloyalty to her husband, even if it were in his favor. This might include being too quick to marry again after Julian's death. But hopefully she doesn't wait too long. They deserve to be happy.


Linda | 228 comments Everything wrapped up satisfactorily for me. Ultimately, I was happy that Dora found out what her husband had done. I think that was probably very hard to reconcile with the fact that he was her husband that she loved, though. Perhaps trying to recover from such a shock, and not only losing her husband, was a cause of Dora taking so long to come back to Heathcote. I do think that they will ultimately marry, though, and I had been thinking while reading the book (and assuming they would find their way to each other again) that Dora might end up bearing children with Heathcote.

I am also happy with Bothwell and Hilda's ending, that Bothwell was able to live for himself with the hope that Hilda would come back to him, but that was not the only reason he was building his house and taking on students. It seemed he was finally doing it for himself and not simply because he had a wife on the horizon.

And good riddance to Valeria!

This was my first book by Braddon, and reading it was such a pleasure that it will make me take notice of her other books for future reading. Thank you for this great moderator pick.


message 12: by Rosemarie, Moderator (new) - rated it 4 stars

Rosemarie | 2768 comments Mod
I liked this book a lot too. I think that Dora will eventually marry Heathcote because she really felt sad that she did not have any children of her own.


Rachel Stimson (naturalladyuk) | 5 comments I really enjoyed the ending of this book, even though I had guessed much earlier than Wyllard was the murderer (when they found the door in the Paris apartment). I did find Dora's reaction a little contrived, as someone said earlier just too perfect. I would have expected either more shock or anger at discovering that the man you have loved faithfully for 7 years had been guilty of murdering three people.

The final scenes reminded me a great deal of The Woman in White by Wilkie Collins, the same confession while the virtuous have built lives for themselves beyond reproach, their former slight sins having been forgiven.

This is the first Braddon novel I have read and I think that I might read more, but not immediately. Considering the volume she wrote I worry that the themes might be a bit repetitive.


message 14: by Deborah, Moderator (new) - rated it 4 stars

Deborah (deborahkliegl) | 4446 comments Mod
It’s been a long time since I’ve read Braddon, and this was a nice reminder of how much I enjoy her work.


message 15: by Frances, Moderator (new) - rated it 4 stars

Frances (francesab) | 1775 comments Mod
Rachel wrote: "I really enjoyed the ending of this book, even though I had guessed much earlier than Wyllard was the murderer (when they found the door in the Paris apartment). I did find Dora's reaction a little contrived, as someone said earlier just too perfect. I would have expected either more shock or anger at discovering that the man you have loved faithfully for 7 years had been guilty of murdering three people."

Agreed-even if she continued to love and look after him for the remainder of his life, i would have expected some shock and anger. This is something that really seems to permeate so much of 19th century lit-the feminine ideal that loves wholly and completely and subsumes itself in it's object of love-I remember noticing this so strongly in Dickens-wives and sisters and daughters and granddaughters who would devote their lives with apparent complete self-sacrifice and no resentment at all to often quite unworthy recipients. We see this in both Hilda (who is otherwise a very strong and independent character) and Dora. Only our "bad" female character, Lady Valeria, shows any sense of having some importance in herself beyond serving her husband, and of course in her case it becomes a betrayal of a good man.


back to top

37567

The Readers Review: Literature from 1714 to 1910

unread topics | mark unread


Books mentioned in this topic

The Claverings (other topics)