Eleanor’s Victory by ME Braddon

A naive young woman loses her beloved father to scoundrels in a Parisian back alley, and decides to devote her life to seeking vengeance.

ME Braddon was a best-selling author of “Sensation Novels” in the Victorian era–all the more remarkable because she was a woman. She is most famous for Lady Audley’s Secret, which I have not read. Eleanor’s Victory has traces of Austen, the Brontes, and Wilkie Collins, with a winsome main character and a thoroughly implausible plot. The language is at a much simpler level than that of the three authors I just named, and the book would probably be best enjoyed by a book-loving eighth-grader. There’s loads of atmosphere and a suitably dashing villain, but not much in the way of nuance and sophistication.

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