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East Lynne

Mrs. Henry Wood

Book Overview: 

Lady Isabel Carlyle, a beautiful and refined young woman, leaves her hard-working but neglectful lawyer-husband and her infant children to elope with an aristocratic suitor. After he deserts her, and she bears their illegitimate child, Lady Isabel disguises herself and takes the position of governess in the household of her husband and his new wife".

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Book Excerpt: 
. . .They are for East Lynne," he quietly replied.

"Oh, for the Carews." And Barbara's interest in the item was gone.

They turned into the road just below the grove, and reached it. Mr. Carlyle held the gate open for Barbara.

"You will come in and say good-night to mamma. She was saying to-day what a stranger you have made of yourself lately."

"I have been busy; and I really have not the time to-night. You must remember me to her instead." And cordially shaking her by the hand, he closed the gate.

It was two or three mornings after the departure of Mr. Carlyle that Mr. Dill appeared before Miss Carlyle, bearing a letter. She was busy regarding the effect of some new muslin curtains, just put up, and did not pay attention to him.

"Will you please take the letter, Miss Cornelia? The postman left it in the office with ours. It is from Mr. Archibald."

"Why, what has he got to write to me about?" retorted. . . Read More

Community Reviews

East Lynne, Mrs. Henry Wood
East Lynne is an English sensation novel of 1861 by Ellen Wood. A Victorian best-seller, it is remembered chiefly for its elaborate and implausible plot, centering on infidelity and double identities. There have been numerous stage and film adaptations.
Lady Isabel Carly...more

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, divo...more

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!

East Lynne is 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’s The Woman in White and Mary Elizabeth Braddon’s Lady Audley’s Sec...more

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 fi...more

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 i...more

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 is more of 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 bo...more

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...more

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, Ch...more

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...more

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