Notes & Reviews:
Mary Elizabeth Braddon published Lady Audley's Secret in 1862. It went on to be Braddon's most well-known novel. John Sutherland, literary critic, wrote of the work in 1989, "the most sensationally successful of all the sensation novels." The plot follows the heroine who abandons her child, throws her husband down a well, considers poisoning her second husband, and burns down a hotel where her other male 'acquaintances' are staying. Pieces of the novel seem to be drawn from the Constance Kent case of June 1860 which riveted the nation for years to follow. The work is a play on Victorian anxieties centered on the domestic sphere, in which the home is supposed to be a refuge, but here a domestic lady turns out to be a violent criminal. Kim Hicks gives a charming and insightful reading of this novel.