This Victorian bestseller, along with Braddon's other famous novel, Aurora Floyd, established her as the main rival of the master of the sensational novel, Wilkie Collins. A protest against the passive, insipid 19th-century heroine, Lady Audley was described by one critic of the time as "high-strung, full of passion, purpose, and movement." Her crime (the secret of the title) is shown to threaten the apparently respectable middle-class world of Victorian England
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.
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