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Lady Audley's Super-Secret Readlong Week 1: Bales of Stupid Wool


It is, and if you forgot, it's okay because I did too until Laura reminded me on Tuesday. But it was only FOUR chapters, which was about 23 pages, could just knock that out right now. ANYWAY.

Our story begins with a description of a house, which is an attention-grabber if I've ever seen one. Maybe you should've joined some kind of a writing circle, MEB. 'Cause if I'd been in it with you, it would've been like:

"You're,'re STARTING with the house description?"

"Well, when I read books I like knowing right off where I am, so this'll set people up nicely."

"Yeah, but...y'know, if I picked up a book and the first two pages were a really boring description of a house, I'd probably put it down."

"What if it had 'SECRET' in the title?"

"...I'd give you two more pages."

I realized in the first few chapters that I'd been conflating Lady Audley's Secret with Mrs Warren's Profession, and oops, I don't think our Lucy runs a whorehouse. What her secret is in its secrety completeness, I don't know yet, because I thought it was all "UGH she's gonna be married to this seafaring gentleman and now she's a bigamist and I guess this'll be a soap opera."

Although soap operas are pretty great

BUT NO. Because PLOT TWIST at the end of chapter 4. All right, Mary Elizabeth Braddon, you have my attention. At times my grossed out attention, because remember Doug's Pride and Prejudice post? The one where he said "I'm going to create an Internet start-up dedicated to 19th century English literature fandom. It shall be called"

"They were first cousins, and had been play fellows in childhood, and sweethearts in early youth."

It's not even like in Jane Eyre or Pride and Prejudice where they'd never met before! They grew up together! As did their PARENTS. Because their parents had the same parents.  "[W]hen you're my wife you won't have overmuch time for gentility, my girl," the author wrote as if this were totally fine and not going to result in children with webbed feet.

Yeah, so we have Lady Audley's maid, who I guess is now going to blackmail her, and all right. I get that, girl. It's not good, but if I were a Victorian era servant and marrying my cousin who kind of seems like an asshole, I also might steal a baby shoe so I could open a bar.

Our society's one constant

HOW DO WE FEEL ABOUT MEB'S WRITING OF LADIES? And have you read her Wikipedia page? Because not only was she a scandalous actress who wrote a zillion novels, but she lived with a guy whose wife was in an asylum and founded a magazine and hm, I do not know what to make of you, Braddon.

P.S. My mind is way too in the gutter to deal with that proposal scene. I just...nope.


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