By: Mary Elizabeth Braddon (1835-1915)
Strangers and Pilgrims follows the journey of Elizabeth Lutterell from a vain, beautiful and self-centred although good-hearted 19 year old to a mature woman. She begins her journey to maturity when she meets the Rev. Malcolm Forde, whose influence opens her eyes to the trivial and selfish ways of the wealthier levels of society. When her genuine love for Malcolm Forde is thwarted and she becomes trapped in a cold, loveless marriage of convenience, she suffers illness, tragedy and regret. Will she find ultimate happiness?
A hugely prolific and popular author, M. E. Braddon was known as the “queen of the Sensation Novel” because of the taboo social subjects in some of her novels. In her own life she courted scandal by living in a de facto relationship with her publisher and becoming mother to six children and also step-mother to five of his children – his wife reportedly being in an asylum in Ireland, although her family denied this. In this novel, published about a year after the wife’s reported death, the scenes dealing with mental illness, its treatment and the difficulties of those seeking divorce are well observed, perhaps from the personal experiences of the author.