“Surely a pretty woman never looks prettier than when making tea. The most feminine and most domestic of all occupations imparts a magic harmony to her every movement, a witchery to her every glance. The floating mists from the boiling liquid in which she infuses the soothing herbs; whose secrets are known to her alone, envelope her in a cloud of scented vapor…”
“To do away with the tea-table is to rob woman of her legitimate empire.”—Lady Audley’s Secret, Mary Elizabeth Braddon
This quote. This book. This cover.
When I’m drinking tea and read something like this, it could possibly blind me to everything else in the book. But in the case of Lady Audley’s Secret, there was no need to be blinded. I sat back in my chair, sipped and continued to read with tea-lightful joy. At this point, everything feels as it should, this passage is completely accurate and I’m smitten while trying to figure out the secret.
But to be fair, I think my time spent years before reading Wilkie Collins, primed me to appreciate Lady Audley’s Secret. The suspense, the intrigue, the comic relief in the form of eccentric characters, some who charm but are conniving, sinister, and hiding a secret perhaps?
Lady Audley, it’s obvious from the title of the book, has a secret. As I was reading, I suspected a lot of things, recorded my theories and suspicions after each section, (this book is divided into three parts or volumes) and discussed them with my buddy reader.
I’m never really good at unraveling the mystery and sometimes don’t pay attention to the clues because I’m too busy reading to find out what happens. But this time, I allowed myself to take note and wasn’t I in for a treat at my own tea table.
Might I regret the missed #opportunitea for an alliteration by not reading this in April. But perhaps since I started reading it the last few days in April I could still call this one #AudleyInApril.
But I tell you what, I will be reading more Audley in the future. I think Madam Bovary might be next to prepare me for The Doctor’s Wife.
In conclusion, steeped in secrets, suspense, and supremely satisfying.