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The Golden Calf

M. E. Braddon

Book Overview: 

A late 19th Century sensation novel following the young life of Ida Palliser as she searches for fortune and love within England's Gentry Class. Victorian sensation books were often set in ordinary, familiar setting, undermining the perceived adherence to social convention. They exposed the true lives of Victorian England's upper class - lives they tried to keep hidden.

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Book Excerpt: 
. . .ony of her days was a lonely walk by the river, with a shabby Wordsworth or a battered little volume of Shelley's minor poems for her companions. She possessed so few books that it was only natural for her to read those she had until love ripened with familiarity.

On this autumnal afternoon she walked with slow steps, while the river went murmuring by, and now and then a boat drifted lazily down the stream. The boating season was over for the most part—the season of picnics and beanfeasts, and Cockney holiday-making, and noisy revelry, smart young women, young men in white flannels, with bare arms and sunburnt noses. It was the dull blank time when everybody who could afford to wander far from this suburban paradise, was away upon his and her travels. Only parsons, doctors, schoolmistresses, and poverty stayed at home. Yet now and then a youth in boating costume glided by, his shoulders bending slowly to the lazy dip of his oars, his keel now a. . . Read More

Community Reviews

This may be my last Braddon. Equally predictable as Lady Audley's Secret, if not more so, and certainly less engaging. I am not sure I would have finished it if not for the ease of audio format.

Still, Braddon has an art for quiet humor, and I found myself far more impressed by the witty banter a...more

Not as much happens in this book as in some of the other Braddons, but it kept me interested. Any writer who can make me like a novel of manners has to be good.

The plot follows the life of Ida Palliser, the daughter of a poor Anglican curate. The schoolmistress Miss Pew and a wealthier student na...more

Another highly readable, though highly predicatable, sensation novel from Mrs Braddon.

Ida Palliser is an impoverished young woman whose feckless father has dumped her in a boarding school and left her to fend for herself. The story involves a secret marriage, Ida's efforts to find a position in life, and the tribulations she endures before finding true love.

It's a typical Braddon...more

I enjoyed this book a lot and found it very thought-provoking (as I find a lot of M.E. Braddon's books). The plot is based on a "marry in haste, repent at leisure" theme, but it was very well done. It's not a book for unexpected plot twists (you can always guess what's going to happen), but I enj...more