Tuesday, December 20, 2011

East Lynne - by Mrs. Henry Wood

East Lynne by Mrs. Henry Wood, is an 1861 best seller that was very popular in the UK & the US and had numerous stage adaptations. (US Edition)  (UK Edition) The Amazon reviews assure us that it is a page turner with a strong plot and that the Victorians were not as prim as their reputation.  

Barbara, I think your mother looks unusually ill."

"You know she suffers a little thing to upset her; and last night she had what she calls one of her dreams," answered Barbara. "She says that it is a warning that something bad is going to happen, and she has been in the most unhappy, feverish state possible all day. Papa has been quite angry over her being so weak and nervous, declaring that she ought to rouse herself out of her 'nerves.' Of course we dare not tell him about the dream."

"It related to--the----"

Mr. Carlyle stopped, and Barbara glanced round with a shudder, and drew closer to him as she whispered. He had not given her his arm this time.

"Yes, to the murder.

Oh my!  Tell us more . . .

There is an omniscient narrator, dear reader, who will remind you of Trollope:

Look at the visitor well, reader, for he will play his part in this history. He was a very tall man of seven and twenty, of remarkably noble presence. He was somewhat given to stooping his head when he spoke to any one shorter than himself; it was a peculiar habit, almost to be called a bowing habit, and his father had possessed it before him. When told of it he would laugh, and say he was unconscious of doing it.

Some of the reviewers say the plot is great, but the characters are not drawn well.  I would dispute that.This looks like the whole package for a excellent free holiday read.

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