Thursday, 15 May 2014

Lady Audley's Secret by Mary Elizabeth Braddon: Read-a-long Chapters 10-15

I totally didn't forget to read these chapters until this afternoon...

So, things are finally starting to get interesting in Lady Audley's Secret. We began today with Lawyer What's-His-Face frantically running around the county, looking for his friend who hadn't turned up for dinner. Does this not seem like a huge over-reaction to anybody else?

Yes yes, I know there's clearly something going on with his disappearance but at the time all he knew was that Whiny-Bum wasn't around, yet he still starts hyperventilating into a paper bag about it. Separation anxiety much?

Oh, but then the bruises on Lady Muck's arm! Lady Audley's Secret, on the whole, is fairly rubbish at keeping secrets but at least this part of it has been somewhat subtle. When her bruises were discovered by Lawyer What's-His-Face, I was actually really excited. She's either very skilled at not portraying her emotions or she's just written carelessly. When she's directly in the narrative, she does seem kind of guilt-free, like maybe she didn't do what we're all assuming she did...

Bruises!? That's the most interesting thing so far!
Except then this happened...

In another dream he saw the grave of Helen Talboys open, and while he waited, with the cold horror lifting up his hair, to see the dead woman rise and stand before him with herstiff, charnel-house drapery clinging about her rigid limbs, his uncle's wife tripped gaily out of the open grave...

Subtle, no?

So clearly Bitch Maid and Johnny Psycho know about her little secret and the latter has decided to blackmail Lady Much into buying them a pub. I am so not impressed with this man. She tried to help them for no other reason than she wants to, and he has to throw it back in her face and demand more. Dick.
The baby shoe didn't come up though, which is weird. Why steal it if they weren't going to dangle it in front of her ringlet-framed face? Oh, Lady Muck has ringlets by the way. I don't know if you noticed.

SO. Clearly Lady Muck and Father Muck are in it together. We know he's an ass because of his willingness to pack Whiny-Bum off to Australia and now she (we assume) has sent her father a telegram to warn him that her husband is on the way. I wonder what's actually happened to him though. Don't get me wrong, I don't care half as much as Lawyer What's-His-Face but I am vaguely curious. He's probably just sat whimpering somewhere.

As for the book itself... I don't know. I'm enjoying it, but it's a little sledgehammery and it seems very dated. Some novels manage to translate to a modern era just fine (Jane Austen, Charles Dickens, Charlotte Bronte) but this just seems a little odd.

Since reading all your posts:

Yeeeeeeeah, I didn't make the connection between George and that damn well. How can I not predict such a blindingly obvious book!?

That said though... how could Lady Muck have possibly shoved him down there? She's all delicate and weak (she can't even cut her own meat, for God's sake) and he's a strapping ox of a man (or something). Unless she paid her maid's soon-to-be husband to do it for her, which seems unlikely.

Also, I don't like Alicia. There. I said it.  

Well, read-a-longers? How's it going?


  1. Rob loooooooooves George. Hence his immediate concern when he's missing.

    When is that baby shoe going to come up again? It was this big deal in the first section and we've heard nothing about it since.

    1. If MAB wrote the novel as a newspaper series, maybe she published that part before she'd written rest of the book and later realised along the way that it wasn't as good a plot device as she thought, and so just... disregarded it?

    2. I'm gonna be so sad if that's the case. Although I don't think I'll be all that surprised

  2. *Gasp!* You don't like Alicia! That's ok.

    Yeah, you would think the baby shoe would be hinted at 10 times a page. Like, "Luke pats his pocket, as if he had a stolen baby shoe in there." That would be more in keeping with the rest of it.

  3. Did I completely miss the bit about Lady Audley coming out of Helen Talboys' grave?! Nope, I just checked - I DID NOT GET THAT PART IN MY COPY OF THE BOOK?! I don't think. If anyone else is reading the PEL edition, where is this Medusa imagery?! I just got a bit about the stonemason removing the inscription from her grave, for some unknown reason?

    And whyyyyyy do you not like Alicia?! I didn't to start with, back when Lucy was all perfect, but now I'm like, "Thank heavens, there is one lone voice of dissent amongst all the 'The Sun Shines Out of Lucy's Arse' menfolk in this book." Hooray for cynical young ladies and their knowing canine friends!

  4. Oo, yeah, Luke could totally have shoved Robert down the well for Lucy. Except, would he do something as helpful as that? He seems to be opposed to being helpful on principle in most circumstances.


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