The Classics Club has held its 17th Spin, and this was my first time of playing the book roulette.
The idea is to list 20 of the books on your Classics Club list before Friday 9 March when the wheel will turn and reveal the winning number. The challenge is to read whatever book falls under that number on your Spin List, by 30 April 2018.
The rules suggested we pick five books from each of the following categories:
5 books you are dreading/hesitant to read
5 books you can’t WAIT to read
5 books you are neutral about
5 books which are free choice
Now I’m one of those people who tend to follow the rules and although I didn’t have any books I was dreading I duly put my five books that I was more hesitant about in the first five on my list, and then the classic club number came up as number 3!
This means that I need to read Lady Audley’s Secret by Mary Elizabeth Braddon before 30 April 2018. Fortunately I already have a copy of this book so no purchasing required.
‘Lady Audley uttered a long, low, wailing cry, and threw up her arms above her head with a wild gesture of despair’
In this outlandish, outrageous triumph of scandal fiction, a new Lady Audley arrives at the manor: young, beautiful – and very mysterious. Why does she behave so strangely? What, exactly, is the dark secret this seductive outsider carries with her?
A huge success in the nineteenth century, the book’s anti-heroine – with her good looks and hidden past – embodied perfectly the concerns of the Victorian age with morality and madness. Amazon
I’ve never read this book, obviously it didn’t appeal when I did the majority of my classic reading in my late teens and twenties but I do like a bit of scandal!
Lady Audley’s Secret was first published back in 1862 and it was originally added to my bookshelf as elements of Mary Elizabeth Braddon story mirrored the real-life story of the day, that of the Road Hill Murder, in the storyline. I read about this crime in the fabulous The Suspicions of Mr Whicher by Kate Summerscale.
Lady Audley’s Secret centres on the key concerns of the day, the enemy within the domestic sphere… not so very different to our current diet of domestic noir – it’s funny to think that Victorian women in the early 1860s reading this novel, which was first serialised over three months in 1861 in a magazine before it was published in three volumes. I’m guessing that the readers were in a state of high anticipation for the next of these bite-size chunks. I wonder if they sat all prim and proper in their drawing rooms, gasping over the events in the way more modern women read on their e-Readers about friends, sisters and husbands terrorising lives in a world which seems far away from over hundred years in the past.
The story promises it all; a wicked stepmother, a country-house murder, a dollop of madness and a detective.
So although I put this in my I’m hesitant to read this novel pile, based on the overly dramatic book cover and the time period it was written, as anything else – now I’ve reminded myself why I wanted to read Lady Audley’s Secret, I’m actually very keen to read it indeed.
What did you get fellow Classic Club Spinners?
Looking forward to everyone’s views on whether I should be celebrating my success or perhaps this book missed the mark where you’re concerned?