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Agatha's Husband A Novel   By: (1826-1887)

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Agatha's Husband, a novel written by Dinah Maria Mulock Craik, is a gripping tale that delves into the complexities of marriage, personal growth, and the pursuit of happiness. Set in mid-19th century England, this book offers a thought-provoking exploration of societal expectations and the limitations placed on women during that time.

The story revolves around Agatha, a young woman who has grown up in a sheltered and traditional environment. When she marries Gerard, a seemingly ideal husband, she expects a life filled with love, companionship, and fulfillment. However, as Agatha soon realizes, her husband is obsessed with his business and rarely devotes any attention to her emotional needs. This neglect leads to feelings of isolation and despair, as Agatha struggles to navigate the challenging realities of her married life.

As the plot progresses, Agatha undergoes a profound transformation. Through her encounters with various characters, including the enigmatic Mrs. Bouverie and the unconventional artist Mr. Fordyce, Agatha begins to question the constraints of her marriage and societal expectations. She slowly discovers her own individuality and desires, ultimately leading her on a path towards self-discovery and independence.

Craik's writing style is richly descriptive, vividly portraying the world of 19th-century England. Through her eloquent prose, she skillfully captures the subtleties of human emotions, making the readers empathize with Agatha's plight. Moreover, the author seamlessly weaves social commentary into the narrative, shedding light on the gender dynamics and societal norms of the era.

The characters in this novel are multi-dimensional and relatable. Agatha, in particular, is a compelling protagonist who undergoes a significant personal journey. Her internal conflicts and struggles are depicted with sensitivity and authenticity, allowing readers to connect with her on a profound level. The supporting characters also play pivotal roles, each representing different facets of society and contributing to Agatha's growth.

One of the strengths of Agatha's Husband lies in its exploration of the complexities within marriages during the Victorian era. By highlighting themes of duty versus personal happiness, the author challenges traditional notions of marriage and raises important questions about the role of women in society. Furthermore, Craik’s emphasis on self-discovery and empowerment underscores the universal desire for personal fulfillment and autonomy.

However, while the narrative is compelling and thought-provoking, the pacing at times feels slow, particularly in the early chapters. Additionally, some readers may find the language and style of writing slightly dated, which can be an initial hurdle to overcome when immersing oneself in the story.

Overall, Agatha's Husband is a captivating novel that skillfully delves into the complexities of marriage and societal expectations. Through the transformation of its protagonist, it offers a thought-provoking exploration of personal growth and the pursuit of happiness. Dinah Maria Mulock Craik’s insightful writing and compelling characters make this book a worthwhile read for anyone interested in historical fiction or discussions of gender dynamics.

First Page:

David Widger



By The Author Of

'John Halifax, Gentleman'

DINAH MARIA CRAIK, AKA: Dinah Maria Mulock

With Illustrations By Walter Crane

Macmillan And Co.







The husband's farewell

"She began leisurely to read"

"Will you accept it, with my love?"

Arrival at Kingcombe Holm

On horseback

Along the road



If there ever was a woman thoroughly like her name, it was Agatha Bowen. She was good, in the first place right good at heart, though with a slight external roughness (like the sound of the g in her name), which took away all sentimentalism. Then the vowels the three broad rich a's which no one can pronounce with nimini pimini closed lips how thoroughly they answered to her character! a character in the which was nothing small, mean, cramped, or crooked.

But if we go on unfolding her in this way, there will not be the slightest use in writing her history, or that of one in whom her life is beautifully involved and enclosed as every married woman's should be

He was still in clouded mystery an individual yet to be; and two other individuals had been "talking him over," feminine fashion, in Miss Agatha Bowen's drawing room, much to that lady's amusement and edification... Continue reading book >>

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