Book Review: “Lady Audley’s Secret” by Mary Elizabeth Braddon

Warning: This book review contains some spoilers for “Lady Audley’s Secret” by Mary Elizabeth Braddon.

Cover of "Lady Audley's Secret" by Mary Elizabeth Braddon.
Cover of “Lady Audley’s Secret” by Mary Elizabeth Braddon.

I’m back with another book review, and this time I’m reviewing “Lady Audley’s Secret” by Mary Elizabeth Braddon! It’s been a while since I read and reviewed a book that was considered a “classic” or even a book that was written and published back in the 1800s or so, so I was interested in picking this one up to try out. Here’s a quick summary so we know what it’s about:

“Lady Audley is young, beautiful, and universally adored. Everyone comments on her sweet nature and her perfect marriage to the wealthy and aristocratic Sir Michael Audley. Sir Michael’s nephew Robert is equally struck by his new aunt’s angelic ways—until he notices the strange, terrifying effect Lady Audley has on his friend George Talboys. When George mysteriously vanishes, Robert is convinced that Lady Audley is neither as innocent nor as helpless as she appears, and he sets out to discover what secrets lie in Lady Audley’s past.”

Plot Development: 3 out of 5 stars

The main plotline was really slow. Much of the book contained physical descriptions of characters, things and places. This acquainted me well with the book’s overall setting. Unfortunately, the constant amount of description made the book’s actual main plotline longer it needed to be. The pacing could be much tighter, especially in the first third.

However, the plot’s pacing picked up more in the second third of the book. It unfortunately then slowed down in the last third. What redeemed the last third, however, was the twist ending. It was a nice surprise, and I enjoyed reading that part. I felt that the actual ending of the book was…too resolved, however. Considering the twists and turns of the mystery that this book went through, I almost expected a cliffhanger ending, or at least an ambiguous ending from this story.

Character Development: 3 out of 5 stars

The only two characters that are interesting to read, in this book, are Robert and Lady Audley. All of the rest of the characters certainly hold their own secrets and personalities, but none of them get any development (other than, well, potentially dying and other misfortune happening to them).

The changing point-of-view in the book threw me for a loop in the beginning, as a reader. By the time I hit the halfway mark of the book, however, I enjoyed reading the story in both Lady Audley and Robert’s perspectives. I also enjoyed reading the tension that both of them had between each other, including trying to outdo each other with every page.

Overall, I’m rating this book out 3 of 5 stars!

I recommend this book for those that enjoy lots of mystery and reading characters going head-to-head against each other. If you’re not a fan of slow plotlines, this might not be for you.

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