Sunday, February 4, 2007

Lady Audley's Secret (thoughts)

I devoured my fourth classics challenge, Lady Audley's Secret, starting it Thursday night and finishing it Friday evening (would've been sooner if not for pesky classes and homework). It was just what I needed at the time: the good characters all end up happily, the bad ones unhappily, and in the middle is a lot of gothic English.

In brief, two gentlemen go to visit the Audley estate, where a new, much younger wife is conquering all of the small village's hearts. However, one of the gentlemen myseriously disappears, causing his friend to begin to investigate. The more the friend looks into things, the more it appears that Lady Audley is not what she seems...

The 'mystery' of the novel is painfully obvious for the reader, as well as for the friend doing the investigations. The plot isn't really the point; instead, the heart of the novel is in the characters, all of whom are very finely drawn. From the kind-hearted but lazy friend, to his fox-hunting, 'gypsy faced' cousin, the characters manage to be both stereotypical and immensely human. I loved curling up with them all. The writing is quite good; Braddon knows how to balance her sentences, and I really enjoyed her language. She managed to sketch the settings for all of her characters without getting bogged down in unnecessary detail. In fact, the novel feels very modern: it could've been historical fiction, instead of a classic.

All in all, I highly recommend this for when you just want to escape. Nothing in the novel is particularly serious, and you'll end up with the feeling that all is right in the world.

Favorite Passages:

For you see Miss Lucy Graham was blessed with that magic power of fascination by which a woman can charm with a word or intoxicate with a smile. (6)

"Why don't I love her? Why is it that although I know her to be pretty, and pure, and good, and truthful, I don't love her? Her image never haunts me, expcet reproachfully. I never see her in my dreams. I never wake up suddenly in the dead of night with her eyes shining upon me and her warm breath upon my cheek, or with the fingers of her soft hand clinging to mine. No, I'm not in love with her; I
can't fall in love with her." (334)


iliana said...

So glad to hear you enjoyed this one. It's one of my classics for the challenge too. Just don't know when I'll finally get to it. Sigh.

litlove said...

This is on my shelf to read, and I so nearly chose it a couple of weeks back. I shall make sure I save it for a rainy weekend when I need some delightful escapism!

sarala said...

I like your reviews. I read Out of Africa years ago. It is a beautiful novel, but one needs to remember she was a product of her time and culture. By the way, did you ever see the movie?
I am a little behind you in the reading. I've done 3-1/2 so far but only 2 reviews are up yet.
I've never read Lady Audley's. Maybe some day.