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Phantom Fortune

M. E. Braddon

Book Overview: 

Lady Maulevrier was once a beautiful socialite, beloved and welcomed in London high society. But her life took a turn for the worse when her husband, whom she married only for his fortune, committed a terrible crime in India. Forty years later, she is taking care of her two granddaughters, Mary and Lesbia. She prefers Lesbia, because of her beauty. Therefore, the relationship between the sisters is tolerable at best. Mary marries the man of her dreams while Lesbia enters London society under the wing of her grandmother's faithful friend. Would she take all the advantages offered to her and find a match which would make her grandmother happy? Would Mary finally be happy? And what has Lord Maulevrier done in India which makes his wife continue to bury herself in shame?

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Book Excerpt: 
. . .You are talking of impossibilities,' said Lesbia, frowning. 'Why do you talk to me as if I were a child? I know hardly anything of the world, but I do know the woman who has reared and educated me. My grandmother would never forgive me if I married a poor man. I should be an outcast.'

'We would be outcasts together—happy outcasts. Besides, we should not always be poor. I tell you I am predestined to conquer fate.'

'But we should have to begin from the beginning.'

'Yes, we should have to begin from the beginning, as Adam and Eve did when they left Paradise.'

'We are not told in the Bible that they had any happiness after that. It seems to have been all trouble and weariness, and toil and death, after the angel with the flaming sword drove them out of Eden.'

'They were together, and they must have been happy. Oh, Lesbia, if you do not feel that you can face poverty and the world's contempt by my side, and for my sake, you d. . . Read More

Community Reviews

Whether you like or despise Mary Elizabeth Braddon's work, her great success lay in the telling of a story. Her work may be derivative (Wilkie Collins leaps to mind) melodramatic, character driven, cliché-ridden, but however weak the plot, however many coincidences are introduced as an alternative t

Not her best but pretty fun

Braddon is my current fixation based on how varied and outright weird her novels are, and what they say about the anxieties of late Victorian gentry. An amazing set up that like most of Braddon's novels, grows weaker toward the end. Some nice characterization in the proud, ambitious, and self defeat

I thought this was a well-written story with multiple overlapping plots, keeping my attention to the end. The shocking decadence of "the season" in London (is that what they got up to???) and double standards of the upper classes seem to be a deliberate theme through the book. It is a bit let down b

This book tells the love stories of two sisters and their grandmother, and how all three stories are intertwined. Two aspects I love about Braddon’s writing: we get to follow her characters through several different phases of their lives, and she lets us guess many of the story’s secrets early on, b

Engrossing Victorian novel

This is a novel by Mary Elizabeth Braddon, a popular novelist in the mid to late nineteenth century. It was first published in 1883. She was known for her "sensation novels," the most famous of which, "Lady Audley's Secret," is still read today. Most of her other novels (th

Highly entertaining Victorian pulp novel. Not as well crafted as some of ME Braddon's other works but enjoyable nonetheless.