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on 5 April 2017
I have not got to the end of this book yet but am enjoying reading it. The plot seems sometimes a llittle contrived, if not to say very contrived in some places, but it is nevertheless a gripping story and the characters do come alive, especially Robert Audley. There are long passages of "philosophising" in between the action so if you just like to race through a book and see "whodunnit" you may find this tiresome. Although I prefer a book which I can linger on and read again at some time, I am finding Lady Audley requires a good degree of concentration and I am not at all sure I have truly understood all the "phlosophising". Nevertheless, I find it well-worth reading and, when once I have finished it, will definitely be reading it again at some time in the future.
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on 3 January 2012
If you like a well written book that relies on a plot full of intrigue then this gem is for you. I am only 1/2 way through and can't put it down - when I have finished I am going to look for more from this Author. Although free this version is excellent - only a couple of typos so far and a bit short of full stops, nothing to spoil a good read.
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on 12 July 2014
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on 23 October 2008
This is a tremendous page-turning whodunnit with a fabulous cast of characters set against a richly detailed and authentic 1850's Home Counties backdrop.

Braddon is especially good at contrasting the hero, Robert Audley, against his newly acquired young aunt, Lady Audley. Robert starts the book as a foppish wastrel whilst Lady Audley is a girlish accessory for Lord Audley. Robert's search for the missing George Talboy causes both Robert and Lady Audley to show steel and determination as they lock horns in a mortal conflict. Even though the reader pretty much knows who-dun-what from the start, it's still gripping as Robert strips away the layers of the secret. The action flows thick and fast - the book was written as a weekly serial - with plenty of cliffhangers and false trails.

The supporting cast includes a great smorgasbord of characters, showing all sides of humanity, and in many cases spinning their fate out of their own selfish and unselfish actions. It's not quite Hardy but it's a lot more fun.

The greatest strength of the book is that the characters are fully formed and sympathetic, even when foul deeds are being done they are not incomprehensible in ordinary human terms.

I loved it and I wish someone would write a whole series of Robert Audley books.
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on 30 April 2017
This is perhaps one of the worst novels I've pushed myself to finish. The author's building of suspense and mystery seems only to fatigue the audience to the point where reading on becomes a chore. The unnecessary detail and frankly boring characters constitute a piece that could have been finished in one, at the most two, volumes and would have been all the better for it. Save your time and read Christie or Collins instead. Utter waste of time.
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First published in 1862, at which time its themes of avarice, bigamy and murder shocked and tantalized its readers, Mary Elizabeth Braddon's 'Lady Audley's Secret' became one of the most sensational novels of its time. The novel's main protagonist is the young and beautiful Lucy Graham, a penniless governess who attracts the attention of the wealthy widower Sir Michael Audley, whose country seat is Audley Court. When Sir Michael proposes, the lovely Lucy accepts and she looks forward to a life of luxury and ease; however, her relationship with her new stepdaughter, Alicia, leaves a lot to be desired, and when Sir Michael's nephew, Robert, arrives at Audley Court with his friend, George Tallboys (who has recently returned from Australia and is grieving from the death of the wife he left behind in England), Lucy's behaviour becomes rather erratic and she makes excuses to avoid meeting them. And then George suddenly and very mysteriously disappears and Robert, distrusting his lovely, but manipulative new step-aunt, decides to investigate Lucy's past - however, to reveal more would spoil the story for those who have yet to read the novel.

Influenced by the case of the real-life murderess Constance Kent, and where alongside its themes of bigamy and murder, are those of gender and class, this 'sensation' novel, like Wilkie Collins' marvellous 'The Woman in White', requires the reader to suspend their disbelief at times, but also has them rapidly turning the pages in order to discover Lady Audley's secret. And although it is fairly clear from early on in the story what the lovely Lucy is trying to conceal, we do not know the full depth of her deception, and of what she is prepared to do keep her secret, until all is finally revealed towards the end of the story. Although I have to say that this is not a novel in which the plot bears close analysis, I was drawn into the story from the opening pages and was entertained from start to finish.

4 Stars.
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on 11 October 2009
Lady Audley's Secret caused a lot of controversy when it was first published amid the Sensation period in the Victorian times. Initially scorned by reviewers, critics and the press at the time the public disagreed and it became a huge success despite being labelled immoral. The book opens with the poverty stricken but incredibly beautiful governess of a small town doctor, Lucy Graham, marries the wealthy widower Sir Michael Audley.

All is well and happy until the arrival of Sir Audley's nephew Robert and his friend George Talboys. The later who has not long come back from Australia where he has made his fortune hunting for gold though once back finds the wife he left behind has died. However the new Lady Audley refuses to see Robert and his friend and then suddenly George vanishes from the house leaving a mystery as to why.

Robert being the good friend that he is decides he must find out what has happened to his friend and becomes amateur detective discovering more about his friends past and that events and people at Audley Court may have some connection to the mystery. That's all I shall say on the plot as to give any more away would ruin the book (makes giving book thoughts on sensational fiction so difficult).

I do think, and if you have read it or once you have you will also hopefully agree, that the plotting is just incredible. Ok so there are some moments when you have to suspend disbelief, could a letter actually travel slower than a person one year and faster the next to suit the tale its sensation fiction. I do think this book does have one of the most thrilling and gripping chase scenes as the villainess and the hero race to get to the same destination, brilliant. It thoroughly pleases me that the public opinion over rode the critics opinions of this absolutely wonderful book or it could easily have been lost forever and that simply wouldn't do!
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on 9 November 2000
The best thriller of the Victorian age, this is still a real page-turner today. It's well worth reading - you won't be able to put it down!
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Wonderful suspense-ful Victorian novel about pretty, luxury-loving little Lady Audley who has made an advantageous match which has raised her from her humble origins. One day her husband's nephew comes to stay, bringing a dear friend of his, who has just returned from Australia having made his fortune and intending to reunite with the wife and child he left behind...
The writing is fantastic and there are twists right up to the end.
I love the way Braddon sets the scene for terrible events in her descriptions:
'A fierce and crimson sunset. The mullioned windows and the twinkling lattices are all ablaze with the red glory...till the dank weeds and the rusty iron wheel and broken woodwork seem as if they were flecked with blood'.
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on 7 December 2009
Enjoyed reading this, wasn't quite sure what to expect. I got onto this book through reading about the PreRaphaelite painters (Desperate Romantics). The Victorian language, standards and customs take a little getting used to but it was a page turner for me. The Preface is thought provoking but should indeed be read after the story.
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