Merry Wanderer of the Night + victorian literature

Aurora Floyd

I was introduced to the lovely Mary Elizabeth Braddon when I read her novel Lady Audley's Secret last semester. I was interested in her first novel that I decided to take a classic all about sensation fiction just so I could read more books by her. And I'm glad I did, because I found Aurora Floyd to be vastly superior to Braddon's first novel. While Lady Audley's Secret is fabulous because of its strange characters and intense plot, Aurora Floyd won for me because of its concentration on minor characters. I also felt the plot wasn't wrapped up as quickly as the plot in Lady Audley's Secret. Aurora Floyd is about a woman whose name is, you guessed it Aurora Floyd. She pursues and is pursued by a clean soldier, but after she is rejected by him for her inability to share a dark secret she moves on and finds a new love interest. While this is simple enough, Aurora is still haunted by her secret which she refuses to share with anyone.

Aurora is a complicated character. She is beautiful, though not conventional. She is honest, but secretive. She is charitable and caring, which makes it difficult for the reader to suspect her of any wrongdoing. But then, what is her secret? She also has a love for gambling and horses, which makes her challenging as a Victorian woman. So basically, Aurora is a woman to love. And I fell in love with her very quickly. My love for her pushed me to the end of novel, because obviously I had to find out what her secret was. A word of caution, DON'T read the back of the book if you get the Oxford World's Classics version. It will ruin it for you.

Another aspect of this novel I loved was the used of, as mentioned before, minor characters. This novel truly plays with servants and makes them threatening to the seemingly powerful masters. I loved how Braddon made this characters evil yet somewhat understandable... similar to Lucy Audley in Lady Audley's Secret. They might have bad motives, but they're basically just a product of their environment. Check out this passage:

"Why is it that the dependants in a household are so feverishly inquisitive about the doings and sayings, the manners and customs, the joys and sorrows, of those who employ them? Is it that, having abnegated for themselves all active share in life, they take an unhealthy interest in those who are in the thick of the strife? Is it because, being cut off in a great measure by the nature of their employment from family ties and family pleasures, they feel a malicious delight in all family trials and vexations, and the ever-recurring breezes which disturb the domestic atmosphere? Remember this, husands and wives, fathers and sons, mothers and daughters, brothers and sisters, when you quarrel. Your servants enjoy the fun." (177)

This novel earned an A.

I am an Amazon Affiliate. If you make a purchase using one of my links I will earn a small percentage which will then go back into this blog.

book review, LIFE, novel, and more:

Aurora Floyd + victorian literature