East Lynne

by Mrs Henry Wood (aka Ellen Wood)

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

I nearly gave up on this title, but I was reading this as a group read & Charlene (one of the moderators of the Women’s Classic Literature Enthusiasts) encouraged me to carry on – & I’m very glad I did.

This is an interesting book. Wood I think has a naturally engaging writing style and used a lot of dialogue to drive her narrative forward. One of the main problems for me was that even allowing for Lady Isabel’s start in life with a very selfish father, is her sickliness and determination to take the worst possible view of other characters actions – except for the person she really should be wary of!

By the middle of Part Two the unrelenting misery was getting to me a bit and if it hadn’t been a group read I would have made this a DNF. And this would have been a pity as this book is not only about Isabel and her elopement with the dissolute Francis Levison.

But the third part ties things together really nicely! The boredom I felt in the middle had made me forget that there was also a murder mystery in the first part. It becomes very obvious who the murder is.

Of course in this age, Isabel must pay for her crimes against society. But although improbable this part does have some touching moments.

I don’t think I will read another Wood title, but I’m glad to have read her most popular title. It shows an interesting take on Victorian morality.

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