❴Epub❵ ➜ East Lynne Author Mrs. Henry Wood – Peakpopa.info
Eat your heart out Wilkie Collins What a fantastic book this is I just loved every minute of it and there were a LOT of minutes for some reason it took me an age to read For about three weeks I felt like I was living in the middle of a Victorian soap opera There was murder, betrayal, divorce, disguises and death and all this set among a backdrop of stately homes and horse and carriages What s not to love I can t understand why this book is not better known or held in higher esteem Hallelujah for Oxford World Classics reviving this book with a fab cover too I haven t read anywhere near the amount of Victorian classics that I want to yet but for me, this ranks among my favourites now Classed as a sensational novel in the 1800 s when it was written, this book was serialised in a weekly newspaper How I would have waited with baited breath for each new edition to hit the news stands The books main character is Lady Isabel Vane who lives at East Lynne a grand stately home with her Father When her Father, the Earl of Mount Severn, dies and his debts are discovered Lady Isabel is proposed to by the lovely young lawyer, Archibald Carlyle much to the heartache of one Barbara Hare who, unbeknown to Archibald, is in love with him Lady Isabel and Archibald seem happy together and go on to have three children, but all the while Archibald is helping Barbara Hare to clear her brother s name for a murder that was committed some years ago and for which he escaped the scene of the crime and hasn t been seen since With all the clandestine meetings between Archibald and Barbara, Lady Isabel is overcome by jealousy and in the heat of the moment abandons her entire family for a man of very dubious character I don t want to say too much else for fear of spoiling the book for anyone, but needless to say that this is most definitely not the last we see of Lady Isabel or the cad she ran off with With misinterpreted conversations gallore, hushed secrets and christmas cracker disguises this book gallops along with you not daring to let go.I can honestly say that, for me, there was not a dull moment in this book It is very accessible and easy to read, even for those who find Victorian literature hard going, and long though the book was, I was sad when I came to the end.I think I can honestly say that the sensational novels of the Victorian era are becoming my favourites, having also loved Lady Audley s Secret Mary Elizabeth Braddon and The Woman In White Wilkie Collins I love the dramatic story lines and the fact that you can almost hear the swish of the stage curtain at the end of a chapter and the DUN DUN DUUUUUUUN Fabulous book Highly recommended Why oh why is this book not better known East Lynneis a sensation novel written in the Victorian era It is also my first read of Ellen Wood Sensation novels were very a popular genre in the Victorian era, and East Lynne was a best seller along with Wilkie Collin sThe Woman in Whiteand Mary Elizabeth Braddon sLady Audley s SecretAdultery, murder and mistaken identity were the popular themes of this genre and in all three above mentioned books these themes are touched at differing degrees Coming to the book, East Lynne, there is murder, adultery and mistaken identity The book looked conceptually good and the sensation element was pretty intriguing The knowledge that I acquired that this novel was held equal with the above mentioned novels which I really liked and became my favourites was enough recommendation for me to look upon this with an eager enthusiasm But needless to say that I was very much disappointed It is in every sense a sensation novel no disagreement there It had all the mentioned alluring themes But unfortunately these interesting themes were presented to us in a far fetched and implausible plot It getsandunrealistic with the progress of the story to the extent of exasperating the reader This was still alright still tolerable But what was worst was Ellen Wood s writing style She clearly has adopted a predictable, unambiguous writing style affirming the doom of certain characters even before the catastrophe really strikes This predicable way of writing destroyed the element of suspense and made it an uninteresting and a tedious read It is really sad that a conceptually and thematically promising book fell flat due to the writing and its presentation Although thematically East Lynne could be similar toThe Woman in WhiteandLady Audley s Secret , in its execution of the plot and characters, East Lynne fall far too short to reach the excellence displayed in the other two novels. Well that was one of the most exciting Victorian novels I ve ever read Fascinating themes, poignant characterisation and wonderful plotting I d highly recommend When one wants to read a Victorian author who wrote salacious stories full of intrigue and unrequited love and a dash of murder, they usually reach for Wilkie Collins And there s nothing wrong with that because Collins is one of my favorites and he is truly delicious Or they turn to his BFF, Charles Dickens, arguably the most famous Victorian author evah.TheI read, however, theI realize there are a lot of other books that are really great and, I dare say, better than Dickens This is one of them.Mrs Henry Wood was Ellen Wood who apparently wrote some 30 novels East Lynne is, apparently, the most well known of the batch I say this because it s the only book my normally awesome library system has by her.If you want sensational, you d be doing yourself a favor by picking up this book This story has it all there is a murder mystery, and there s also sort of unrequited love, and love triangles, and sneaky financial sorts, and even a courtroom drama I really enjoyed the entire story and felt connected to most of the characters throughout, even if they did lean towards the melodramatic with some swooning and lots of tears.There s a heart here that is missing from a lot of Dickens s stories, or even those by Collins One could say that as a female author, Wood was able to get into the hearts of her female characters in ways that her male counterparts might struggle with, being the repressed Victorian fellows that they were and all But maybe it s just that Wood is a better writer, and understands human nature better than they In any case, she rocked the socks off of characters.She didn t shy away from awkward parts of her story, either There s less than subtle references to sex, and female characters who weren t really excited by it That also seems unusual for the time period but was sort of refreshing to read.There are a few different storylines in this book, but they all come together fairly well in the end Wood focused on one person or one family for a bit, and then turned her focus to another person or family for another bit, but throughout all of that, the reader never loses sight of the other persons or families which I found to be rather artfully done Even though I was reading about the Carlyles, for example, I never stopped thinking about the Hares, and vice versa, mostly because Wood managed to tie pieces of the other family s stories into one another so they were never very far from the reader s mind, even if they were not the focal point at that particular moment So often while reading Dickens, we meet characters and then they disappear for a great part of the book, and by the time they show up again it s like Oh, shit, yeah, this guy Riiiight and then I have to remember what his story even was I didn t have that problem with Wood Because she was good.I highly recommend this to people who dig sensational Victorian novels as I do, and especially to those who like to read less well known Victorian authors This was a delicious read My only complain was actually on the last page that made me roll my eyes and feel differently about the entire story, but the pros definitely outweigh the cons here. When The Aristocratic Lady Isabel Abandons Her Husband And Children For Her Wicked Seducer, Is At Stake Than Moral Retribution Ellen Wood Played Upon The Anxieties Of The Victorian Middle Classes Who Feared A Breakdown Of The Social Order As Divorce Became Readily Available And Promiscuity Threatened The Sanctity Of The Family In Her Novel The Simple Act Of Hiring A Governess Raises The Spectres Of Murder, Disguise, And Adultery Her Sensation Novel Was Devoured By Readers From The Prince Of Wales To Joseph Conrad And Continued To Fascinate This Edition Returns For The First Time To The Racy, Slang Ridden Narrative Of The First Edition, Rather Than The Subsequent Stylistically Improved Versions Hitherto Reproduced By Modern Editors A sensational Victorian novel that tackles jealousy, love triangles, mistaken identities, murder, and divorce, East Lynne was seven hundred pages of unputdownable I was enthralled by the character of Lady Isabel Carlyle and her ill fated life story Not that she doesn t hold some responsibility for her own fate, but was there ever a woman born under a less auspicious star For the Victorians, marriage was still a sacred institution and inviolable, divorce was a new idea and allowed only for the most immoral of infractions For someone who wrote under the appellation, Mrs Henry Wood, it must have been a struggle to understand what forces could compel a decent woman to end up with one While there could be no doubt where Mrs Wood stood on this, I thought she handled the subject in a fair and thoughtful manner and painted a sad and tragic, but not a villainous, figure in Lady Isabel.I followed the story with relish beginning to end, and just when things seemed predictable, I found they weren t For anyone who enjoys the works of Elizabeth Braddon, Elizabeth Gaskell or Wilke Collins, I would say this book is a must. I could tell you that East Lynne , a huge popular success in its day, has unremarkable writing, is horribly contrived, holds no real surprises, drifts into silliness and goes on for much too long.But I could also tell you that I had to keep reading, that I was very well entertained, and that the book was very easy to read.I d read it before, many years ago, when my love for Victorian sensation novels was very new and though I remembered that arc of the story I had forgotten so many details.East Lynne is an estate, located near the small town of West Lynne It s owner, the Earl of Mount Severn, was far from old but he was crippled by gout and very close to bankruptcy He hoped to sell East Lynne, the only unentailed property still in his possession, privately, so that his creditors would not find out Archibald Carlyle, a successful young lawyer from West Lynne, visited the Earl as he was very interested in the property.At dinner, he met the Earl s daughter, Lady Isabel Vane He saw that she was beautiful, that she was innocent, that she loved her father dearly, and that she had no idea how precarious his and her position was.After dinner, Lady Isabel left to attend a party with her cousin and chaperone Mrs Vane Lady Isabel met Captain Francis Levison, her chaperone s cousin from another wing of her family, at that party He was charming but clearly no good she was blind to his failings, and utterly smitten.The Earl dies suddenly, and his estate and his title are inherited by a distant cousin He is a good and decent man and he takes Lady Isabel into his home He grows fond of her but his wife is unhappy with the situation and takes that out on Lady Isabel When Carlyle has occasion to visit he discovers Lady Isabel in an agitated state and when he sees her position, and she reluctantly tells him what has happened to her, he offers her an escape He proposes marriage, knowing that she has the qualities to become an excellent wife She was still in love with Levison, but he had failed to show himself, and so she agreed to the wedding so that she could leave a horrible situation and return to the home she loved at East Lynne.Meanwhile, in West Lynne, another young woman was trouble Barbara Hare s brother, Richard was a fugitive from justice, accused of the murder of George Hallijohn He had been found standing over Hallijohn s corpse, gun in hand It was known that Richard was he had been courting the dead man s daughter Afy, whom he used to visit in their isolated cottage, despite his father s angry opposition Richard paid a furtive visit to his family home, to see his mother and ask for money He told his sister that there was another man present on the night of the murder, a Captain Thorn, who had also courting Afy He thinks that Captain Thorne must be the murderer, but he has no idea who he was or where he came from, and Afy has disappeared.Barbara turns to Archibald Carlyle a friend and neighbour of her family, and the man she had hoped to marry for help for whom her feelings arethan friendly Her father has disowned Richard, her mother is frail, and so she and he begin to work together, to try to clear Richard s name.In these early chapters I was wonderfully caught up with the story and the characters developing firm opinions about the different characters, about what had happened, and what in all probability was going to happen.Archibald Carlyle was a good man, but he was foolish in many ways.He allowed his imperious spinster sister Miss Corny to shut up her own home and move into East Lynne, without giving a thought to whether she and his sweet natured wife would be compatible They weren t.He kept Barbara Hare s secret and he failed to give his wife any explanation about why he spent so much time at her family home It didn t occur to him that his wife might fear the worst She did.Captain Francis Levison reappeared when Lady Isabel was at a very low ebb He charmed her all over again, and she made a decision that would have terrible consequences.This was where things started to go wrong because what I knew of Lady Isabel wouldn t let me believe that she did what she did.There was much drama as the story played out A train crash A parliamentary election A trial for murder A deathbed scene or two.I was increasingly aware that there was far too much melodrama, there was too much that was implausible and that there were far too many coincidences I was still turning the pages quickly, I was still being wonderfully well entertained the story was full of incident and I continued to be engaged by the characters and their situations.I was fascinated by Ellen Wood s attitude to them to When she addressed her reader she had a very firm moral stance, but her story suggested that she really had a littleempathy and understanding Even after her fall, Lady Isabel remained the heroine, and even though her creator put her through the mill she did allow her glimpses of true happiness and a promise of redemption.I had to sympathise with her a fundamentally good woman whose circumstances led her to make one mistake, that she would quickly realise was that and pay for so dearly.I was sorry that the villain responsible for her fall was a little one dimensional.The women in this story wereinteresting that the men, and they made must have made this story feel very modern in its own time Afy was a minx, but she was doing what she had to, left to make her own way in the world Barbara may have been rather proud, but her family situation was difficult, the prospects for a young woman whose brother had been labelled a murderer weren t good, and she did the best she could for herself and the people she loved Miss Corny well I don t quite have the words, except to say the her dress sense, her economies and her firm principle were wonderfully entertaining I d love to send her into the future maybe into another book to see what she made of it and what the future made of her.East Lynne is a very big book, and because it became less plausible andpredictable as I went on I wasn t entirely sorry to reach the end.I have to say though, that because there was so much going on its pages, so much to think about, I m very glad that I decided to visit it again. It s been Sensation Novel Spring here, and I ve said a lot of what I have to say about them in my review of Lady Audley s Secret East Lynne isof the same Disguises, mountains of foreshadowing, Nancy Drew esque use of italics, it s all here That s certainly a lot of fun, and so is this book.Here s the general plot Isabel marries Mr Carlyle Romantic comedy complications the type that could easily be cleared up if anyone had an honest conversation with anyone else creep in view spoiler Isabel runs off with the loathsome Levison, who shortly abandons her with their lovechild, who s then killed in a deus ex trainwreck Isabel pulls a Mrs Doubtfire, disguising herself as a governess to infiltrate her former household, where Mr Carlyle has remarried to his former flame Barbara Levison is finally exposed as a murderer everyone dies in lengthy and maudlin death scenes that involve plenty of Jesus talk The end hide spoiler East Lynne is a classic among 19th century sensation fiction but a sadly neglected gem in the history of English literature The author, Ellen Wood, is among the big three of sensation authors alongside Wilkie Collins and Marie Elizabeth Braddon Whenever people are in the mood for this type fiction they usually reach for Collins The Moonstone or Braddon s Lady Audley s Secret Unfortunately, East Lynne gets passed up for thesefamous works and the book became a one hit wonder for Ellen Wood Nevertheless, this mystery story is a must read if you are interested in the genre. East Lynne was an extraordinary publishing success in its day, and it s not difficult to see why It s right up there with the best of Victorian sensation fiction, which, for me, means Wilkie Collins I have also tried Mary Elizabeth Braddon s Lady Audley s Secret, which was fun, but not quite in the same league Ellen Wood s literary career had a distinctive and unusual shape She began her life as a wealthy Victorian wife and mother then, when her husband s business failed, she reinvented herself, in her mid forties, as a highly successful novelist and magazine editor The fact that she was writing to keep her family financially afloat presumably explains the racy, populist, sensational character of her fiction My impression from East Lynne is that she had the writing skills to craft a very different kind of fiction had she wanted to perhaps something along the lines of Elizabeth Gaskell s Wives and Daughters, whose provincial town setting East Lynne shares This is a novel of two halves The first is a morality tale, so clearly portended from the opening pages that I don t feel any scruples about spoilers in revealing the plot Penniless but beautiful Isabel Vane, daughter of a spendthrift nobleman, marries a wealthy country lawyer, Archibald Carlyle, whom she admires and likes but does not love After a marriage of some years, when the couple have three children, Isabel abandons her family in a moment of madness for an old flame and notorious rake , Francis Levison, with predictably disastrous results.So far, so archetypal as a morality tale, but the novel doesn t stop there instead, it takes a plunge into the bizarre and quasi Gothic for the final, long stretch of the book The plotting getsconvoluted in this section, as the novel s subplot, concerning an unsolved murder, becomes everclosely enmeshed with its main, sentimental plot There are some highly unexpected developments in the second half of the book, and spoilers would truly be spoilers Suffice to say that Lady Isabel gets a peculiar, and grotesque, second act, something akin to a Dantean contrapasso.One striking thing in the novel is to watch a highly upright Victorian female novelist engaging sympathetically with the plight of a fallen woman and one who, on the face of things, has far less justification thanfamous sisters in sin, such as Emma Bovary or Anna Karenina her husband, Archibald Carlyle, is pretty close to a model spouse warm, witty, intelligent, handsome, kind, loyal Ellen Wood heaps all kinds of opprobrium on Isabel and inflicts all kinds of punishment on her in narrative terms yet she sticks with her and refuses to condemn her in absolute This seems to me positively enlightened by Victorian standards.Like other Victorian provincial novels, East Lynne has a strong interest in class and in social stratification I found Wood s take on this intriguing One subplot of the novel is the displacement of the landed aristocracy, represented as morally and physically degenerate, despite a certain surface glamour, by a new, rising, meritocratic bourgeois class Where male characters are concerned, this dichotomy plays out most clearly in the contrasted figures of Levison and Carlyle Where women are concerned, the starkest contrast is between Isabel and her love rival Barbara Hare, the daughter of a local magistrate and a childhood friend and distant cousin of Carlyle The contrast has an almost Darwinian character in a novel published hardlythan a year after On the Origin of Species with Isabel physically delicate and illness prone, and Barbara the picture of energetic good health.This makes the novel sound very schematic, and that s a little unfair Barbara s brother Richard, falsely accused of murder, is an interesting attempt to portray a sympathetic male character who is self declaredly lacking in courage and considerably less virile than his sister, for example There s an interesting pairing to be explored across the novel s class divide, between Isabel and Richard, both of whom spend part of the novel in disguise.A further, outstanding feature of East Lynne worth noting precisely because it is so unusual in Victorian middle class fiction is that a servant emerges as a genuine character in the novel Joyce Hallijohn, who works first for Carlyle s termagant sister Cornelia, and then in the household of Carlyle Joyce is represented as a woman of sense and sensibility an intelligent and sympathetic observer of the novel s domestic melodrama, as well as an occasional plot agent Fortunately for the reader, Wood equips her with the kind of family background that allows her plausibly to be portrayed as speaking in standard English she is the daughter of a legal clerk and a downwardly mobile lady , so we are spared the tiresome, over colored attempts at dialectal speech that generally characterize Victorian novelists forays below stairs.