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Weathering critical scorn, Lady Audley's Secret (1862) quickly established Mary Elizabeth Braddon as the leading light of Victorian 'sensation' fiction, sharing the honour only with Wilkie Collins. Addictive, cunningly plotted and certainly sensational, Lady Audley's Secret draws on contemporary theories of insanity to probe mid-Victorian anxiety and the doubts that accompanied the rapid rise of consumer culture. What is the mystery surrounding Mary Elizabeth Braddon's artful and charming heroine? Lady Audley's secret is investigated by Robert Audley, aristocrat turned detective, in a novel that has lost none of its power to disturb and entertain.
Lady Audleys Secret epitomized the scandalous and irresistible "sensation" fiction of the period and established Braddon as the doyenne of the genre. Lady Audley, a beautiful woman with a mysterious past, serves as a commentary on the rise of the middle class and the consumer culture, and her fate reflects the publics fascination with psychological theories about the nature of identity and the definition of madness.
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