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Lady Audley's Secret
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Gabriel Spencer What a shift! From Austen to Braddon. After the first chapter I feel alienated from Lucy, without hope of ever knowing her. The unaccounted laugh and the comment, "I do not love any one in the world," jars me. At twenty-something, if she had not loved someone by then, she had found another means to satisfy that longing for love, that need to be loved. The question was limited to romantic love, but the answer seemed to spread beyond. But then, if so, how can she spread so much joy among her neighbors, if the narrator is to be believed, without having loved?
It feels sinister. Braddon keeps the third-person with absolute distance, so different from Austen. Add to that Lucy's thoughts of money, rather than marriage, Mr. Audley's "corpse in his bosom," no redemptive character in sight - though Lucy does attend church thrice on Sundays - and now a "black ribbon at her throat."

Gabriel Spencer I keep waiting for somebody to look in the old well. Somebody please look in the old well! There could be a body in there and its bothering me.

Did anyone else get a chill wondering whether Robert was going to get pushed into that well? That would make two bodies! (possibly two.)

Braddon shows me there is another power quite possibly, at this point, equal to the power of the truth. The power of persuasion, manipulation, and woman. She writes, "Better the pretty influence of the tea cups and saucers gracefully wielded in a woman's hand than all the inappropriate power snatched at the point of the pen from the unwilling sterner sex." Then she shows me the treacherous power of a woman whose time of tea cup influence has been threatened. May Robert's pen prove victorious in the defense of the truth!

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