Mary Elizabeth Braddon's novel Lady Audley's Secret has never been out of print since its publication in 1862 and has been described by the critic John Sutherland as "the most sensationally successful of all the sensation novels".
Thanks to Oxford University Press I have an advance copy of their new edition which will be out in early January, and from which the blurb is as follows:
"When beautiful young Lucy Graham accepts the hand of Sir Michael Audley, her fortune and her future look secure. But Lady Audley's past is shrouded in mystery, and to Sir Michael's nephew Robert, she is not all that she seems [shades of My Cousin Rachel?]. When his good friend George Talboys suddenly disappears, Robert is determined to find him, and to unearth the truth. His quest reveals a tangled story of lies and deception, crime and intrigue, whose sensational twists turn the conventional picture of Victorian womanhood on its head. Can Robert's darkest suspicions really be true?"
I thought this book sounded just the thing for a leisurely read by the fireside over Christmas and into the New Year, and to get us into the spirit of it straightaway I've posted the opening passage here. Being a classic which is available in many editions, copies should be easily obtainable in libraries, shops and online (including through Amazon US and with free international delivery from The Book Depository), while the e-book version is free. If I set the discussion date as Saturday, 21st. January, that will give us more than eight weeks to get hold of it and take our time over it it, so please do join in with the group read, whether you're a first-timer or a regular, as the more, the merrier!