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Lady Audley's Secret

Lady Audley's Secret by Mary Elizabeth Braddon
By: (1837-1915)

Inspired by a true life story, Lady Audley's Secret is the story of a woman's overwhelming ambition and passion for social success. When the first book came out in 1862, Victorian readers were shocked and outraged by its portrayal of aspects like bigamy, insanity, yearning for social status and the will to commit murder to achieve one's goals.

The novel belongs to a genre that became very popular during that era. Known as “sensation novels” they can probably be equated to today's pulp fiction. It was received with huge enthusiasm by readers and most critics of the day and the central theme of “accidental bigamy” was a popular one. But the author Mary Elizabeth Braddon took it to new heights, introducing several intriguing twists and turns to the plot. In fact the novel was so successful that it allowed the author to become financially independent for the rest of her life and its publisher to purchase a villa, which he christened Audley Lodge, with the profits gained from sales of this Victorian bestseller!

In the story, the young, enchanting, doll like Lucy Graham marries a wealthy old widower, Sir Michael Audley. Not much is known about Lucy by people in the village, except that she was till recently employed as a governess. The couple enjoys a pleasant life together, with every comfort and luxury. Things take a turn when Sir Michael's nephew and heir Robert Audley arrives with news of dear friend of his George Talboys. Talboys who had left England to seek his fortune gold prospecting in Australia is now suffering from a mental breakdown following the apparent death/disappearance of his wife whom he left behind.

When Robert and George arrive at Audley Court, they're warmly welcomed by the host, but of the hostess there is no sign. She completely avoids coming into Talboys' presence. Her behavior begins to intrigue Robert and raise his suspicions and he sets out to uncover the mystery. But the truth is far more devastating and disturbing than anybody could imagine.

Said to be based on events concerning the real life serial killer Constance Kent which had stunned the nation a few years ago, the book in fact explores many themes of Victorian morality, gender biases, stereotypes about the perfect mother and domestic goddesses who enriched the home and hearth with their innocence and purity.

The author Mary Braddon's own controversial personal life and her nonchalant attitude to prevailing morals also piqued readers' imaginations. For modern day readers, Lady Audley's Secret remains a gripping tale of the lust for power and wealth and of a woman's descent into the misery of her own creation.

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Reviews (Rated: 5 Stars - 26 reviews)

Reviewer: - July 14, 2021
Subject: So good
Loved the story and couldn’t wait to finish. People are capable of so many atrocities. I know this is fiction but it’s inspired by the cruelty of a young girl who murdered her own brother in cold blood. I highly recommend this book!
Reviewer: - May 3, 2020
Subject: Good book
Good story line, quite enjoyed it although in some instances it was a tad bit difficult to understand the reader, nonetheless it was very interesting.
Reviewer: - July 18, 2018
Subject: Thank you
A very good book and excellent reading
Reviewer: - March 22, 2018
Subject: Lady Audley's Secret
Loved this story! Stayed up late until I finished the book!
Reviewer: - September 4, 2017
Really interesting mystery, did not see the end coming! The reader was also awesome giving each character its own unique voice. Really well done.
Reviewer: - September 20, 2016
I have listened to this book atlist three times, i arbosolutely love it...i wish i could meet Elizabeth Klett or atlist see her picture, she is a GOOD narrator.
Reviewer: - September 9, 2015
Subject: Loved it!
Enjoyed the book and the narration
Reviewer: - August 31, 2015
Subject: Lady Audley's Secret-August 30, 2015
How wonderful to listen to such a mysterious novel. It would have been Easy to pick the police or the butler (so to speak) as the culprit. And I was intrigued how it did end. Great reading. Recommend to all mystery Lovers.
Reviewer: - July 18, 2014
Subject: Absolutely wonderful
I wrote a thesis on this book and this recording was the thing that first hooked me. Fantastic story with complex characters and a narrator who is absolutely perfect for the part. I especially loved her voice for Lady Audley.
Reviewer: - May 28, 2014
Totally agree with reviewer Kristina. Beautifully narrated, excellent book. 5 stars
Reviewer: - March 2, 2014
Subject: Wonderful book
This book had me from the intriguing and beautifully narrated..well worth reading (listening)
Reviewer: - January 29, 2014
Subject: Great book!
I loved this book and Elizabeth Klett has to be one my favorite readers. She never misses a beat throughout the entire book. If there's anything negative about this book it would be that the beginning of the book is a little predictable, but I kind of like that since I have a hard time getting into books and following the plot sometimes. Predictability soon ended (at the right time for me) and the suspense then began.
Reviewer: - January 2, 2014
Subject: Definitely Worth 5 Stars!!!
Wonderful reader and mesmerizing story with unexpected twists and turns. Hope to find more from this author and especially from this reader.
Reviewer: - December 30, 2013
Subject: Fantastic Reader!!!
Wonderful story wonderfully read. You won't be disappointed.
Reviewer: - October 28, 2013
Subject: Many thanks.
I enjoyed the story and the reader was great, thank you.
Reviewer: - October 4, 2013
Subject: Really was very good
I've read many novels from this time period, so when I noted one reviewer's comment that the story was predictable, I wasn't sure if I would enjoy this or be bored by it. Although there is some predictably typical for a novel from this era, there are some surprises as well. All in all, it was an engrossing story, I quite enjoyed it, and was sorry when it was over (as I always am when I come to the end of a good book). I didn't care for the narrator for the first chapter or so, but after that really fell in love with her style, voices, and general pacing. It's clear she devoted a tremendous amount of time and care to this project and did the book justice. Having an excellent, consistent narrator is sometimes hard to find, and I have even abandoned some books to get them in print simply so that story isn't ruined by poor narration. I'm happy to say, that this was very well-done and commend and thank the reader for the time she took to bring this story to us.
Reviewer: - October 2, 2013
I love the voice of hte narrator and the book is interesting.
Reviewer: - August 21, 2013
Subject: :-D
Love this book!
Reviewer: - July 18, 2013
Subject: Review
Encore, encore! What amazing and professional narration. Every book should be so beautifully read. I actually clapped when the book was done!! Thank you. :0)
Reviewer: - June 27, 2013
Subject: Lady Audley's Secret
This is one of the best books I’ve listened to...Excellent narrator!
Reviewer: - June 11, 2013
Subject: Lady Audley's Secret
Good book, well read a bit predictable but good all the same.
Reviewer: - June 10, 2013
Great plot and the narrator, was fantastic. Highly recommend!
Reviewer: - June 4, 2013
Subject: Lady Audley's Secret
Wonderful speaker.
Reviewer: - May 22, 2013
Subject: Wonderful
I thought this was a lovely book. Very pleasant to listen to and I will listen to anything else that is read by Elizabeth Klett willingly, marvelous.
Reviewer: - October 28, 2012
The book has an interesting plot that keeps the reader guessing all the time about what is really going on. I enjoyed listening to it. I strongly reccomend it. The reader was brilliant and easy to follow. Elisabeth Klett has done some of the best recordings for Librivox.
Reviewer: - October 25, 2012
Subject: Romance
Light reading. Chatty and predictable. Good for whiling away a few tedious hours.

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