DEAD LOVE HAS CHAINS
MARY ELIZABETH BRADDON
Described by Robert Lee Wolff as one of 'her very best novels (...) and marking a new departure in its bold and delicate exploration of human psychology and in its economy of style,' Dead Love Has Chains was published in 1907.
Written when Braddon was in her seventies, Dead Love has Chains is one of Braddon's most daring works, and certainly one of her most interesting late novels. Concentrating on character, rather than sensation, Braddon moves away from the detection and crime which characterized her earlier work.
Seventeen year old Irene has been sent home from India in disgrace; she is pregnant and unmarried. Only one person in society knows her secret and this woman, Lady Mary, although unsympathetic, has sworn to keep her confidence. Some time later, after Irene has lost her baby, her father launches her in London society to find a rich husband. To Lady Mary's horror she becomes engaged to her son Conrad. Conrad has secrets of his own, having had a nervous breakdown after the working class girl he had paid to educate abandoned him for a more virile man. Conrad idolises Irene as a pure and perfect woman and she is unable to confide in him about her past. When her former lover reappears in her life, Irene has to decide between the secure but dull Conrad and the passionate and overbearing man from her past.
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