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The New Magdalen

Wilkie Collins

Book Overview: 

Mercy Merrick is living a difficult life on the streets, but when she meets the young and charismatic clergyman Julian Gray, she desires to leave this life behind and start afresh. She packs her things and volunteers as a nurse in the Franco-Prussian war of 1870. It is, however, very difficult to leave your life behind, and even harder to start a new life in a society so dependent on social connections. So when she sees that Grace Roseberry is killed by a shell, Mercy assumes Grace's identity and social position.

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Book Excerpt: 
. . .My dear Grace!" he exclaimed; "what have I said or done to startle you this time?"

She held up her hand for silence. "Lady Janet's nephew is Julian Gray," she repeated; "and I only know it now!"

Horace's perplexity increased. "My darling, now you do know it, what is there to alarm you?" he asked.

(There was enough to alarm the boldest woman living—in such a position, and with such a temperament as hers. To her mind the personation of Grace Roseberry had suddenly assumed a new aspect: the aspect of a fatality. It had led her blindfold to the house in which she and the preacher at the Refuge were to meet. He was coming—the man who had reached her inmost heart, who had influenced her whole life! Was the day of reckoning coming with him?)

"Don't notice me," she said, faintly. "I have been ill all the morning. You saw it yourself when you came in here; even the sound of your voice alarmed me. I shall be better directly. . . . Read More

Community Reviews

I love this book. It shows that those who truly love us forgive. It's not where you were but where you are going that counts.

This novel is more a would be stage play really in both its form and melodramatic makeup. It is a joy in its, what I would call now, overblown nature and impassioned speeches. However, WC was in ernest when they were written, determined to right a social wrong. It would make for a very interesting d

It's a brilliant read - from the scintillating open chapters to the meandering and intriguing close, the story has really stood the test of time, and deserves to be considered a British classic. The structure story is unique in that it was not only serialised in the papers at the time, but it was al

Dans un poste provisoire de l’armée française, au cours de la guerre de 1870, deux Anglaises amenées là par le hasard font connaissance : l’une, miss Grace Roseberry, pauvre mais de bonne famille, seule au monde, tâche de regagner le Royaume-Uni après le décès de son père en Italie pour y rentrer au

-Though the excellent writing and the majority of the story was written with the intense emotion and deeply absorbing style typical of this author, the ending, which was unexpected, was probably written as a critique on the rules of society in 19th century England, in which the ton, the upper class

Una novela de fácil lectura, empieza con el encuentro de dos jóvenes mujeres en circunstancias de guerra, una es herida gravemente y la toman por muerta, así la otra puede en su situación desesperada, apoderarse de su identidad; más el destino le traerá sorpresas muy dolorosas. Desde la primera pági

Ça y est, j’attaque Wilkie Collins en VO ! The new Magdalen est disponible en français chez Phébus, sous le titre harlequinesque de Passion et repentir. Un assez court roman qui rompt un peu avec le reste de son œuvre. L’intrigue est simple, et démarre en 1870 quelque part en France, durant la guerr

It was a well-written story. I truly enjoyed it. It suffers a bit from the same problem as many novels. It had a somewhat disappointing ending. Now the ending may please some; but to me, it seemed to end too abruptly and not the way I would have liked. However, the overall story is good. It leaves t

This novel is one of Wilkie Collins later ones set in the 1870s during the Franco-Prussian war. His heroine, Mercy is deeply flawed. Believing that Grace died due to a German shell hitting her in the head, she assumes her identity. Therefore among her misdeeds she adds identity fraud.

A German surgeo

The most interesting thing about this book is the ending - despite being a "fallen woman", Mercy marries her hero instead of dying a redemptive death! Wilkie Collins being very controversial here! But, more realistically, he acknowledges that their marriage leads to them being shunned by society. An

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