The Doctor's Wife

Mary Elizabeth BRADDON (1835 - 1915)

This is one of the Victorian “Sensationist” Mary Elizabeth Braddon's many novels (best known among them: “Lady Audley’s Secret”). It is extremely well written, fluid, humorous and, in places, self-mocking: one of the main characters is a Sensation Author. The motifs of the-woman-with-a-secret, adultery, and death are classic “sensationist” material. Yet this is also a self-consciously serious work of literature, taking on various social themes of the day. Specifically, Braddon presents the psychological struggle and cognitive dissonance which are the inevitable plight of the married middle-class woman with a strong sense of self, who is essentially constrained to live the life of her husband. In this, it echoes Flaubert’s “Madame Bovary.”

The heroine, Isabel Sleaford, was driven early in her childhood to bury herself in, and develop her sense of self through, romantic novels and poetry. She is thus ill-adapted to the conventional, provincial structures and strictures laid upon her when she marries the very good and adoring, but also boring and unimaginative, Dr. George Gilbert. Isabel forms friendships with men (including her husband's best friend) who are more amenable to her romantic inclinations, and inevitably encounters social condemnation as a result. The book shows how life’s tragedies and the world’s cruel judgments shape Isabel, as she grows more mature, somewhat embittered, but also – true to her nature – beautifully resilient. (Summary by Kirsten Wever)

Genre(s): General Fiction, Historical Fiction, Romance

Language: English

Section Chapter Reader Time
Play 01 Chapter 1 Kirsten Wever
00:16:49
Play 02 Chapter 2 Kirsten Wever
00:30:57
Play 03 Chapter 3 Kirsten Wever
00:45:38
Play 04 Chapter 4 Kirsten Wever
00:29:25
Play 05 Chapter 5 Kirsten Wever
00:35:05
Play 06 Chapter 6 Kirsten Wever
00:34:05
Play 07 Chapter7 Kirsten Wever
00:43:58
Play 08 Chapter 8 Kirsten Wever
00:14:22
Play 09 Chapter 9 Kirsten Wever
00:20:10
Play 10 Chapter 10 Kirsten Wever
00:18:56
Play 11 Chapter 11 Kirsten Wever
00:25:23
Play 12 Chapter 12 Kirsten Wever
00:46:26
Play 13 Chapter 13 Kirsten Wever
00:33:56
Play 14 Chapter 14 Kirsten Wever
00:31:02
Play 15 Chapter 15 Kirsten Wever
00:13:48
Play 16 Chapter 16 Kirsten Wever
00:29:37
Play 17 Chapter 17 Kirsten Wever
00:48:48
Play 18 Chapter 18 Kirsten Wever
00:33:17
Play 19 Chapter 19 Kirsten Wever
00:17:35
Play 20 Chapter 20 Kirsten Wever
00:32:32
Play 21 Chapter 21 Kirsten Wever
00:26:19
Play 22 Chapter 22 Kirsten Wever
00:19:41
Play 23 Chapter 23 Kirsten Wever
00:23:42
Play 24 Chapter 24 Kirsten Wever
00:23:35
Play 25 Chapter 25 Kirsten Wever
00:31:01
Play 26 Chapter 26 Kirsten Wever
00:31:56
Play 27 Chapter 27 Kirsten Wever
00:25:14
Play 28 Chapter 28 Kirsten Wever
00:21:00
Play 29 Chapter 29 Kirsten Wever
00:14:33
Play 30 Chapter 30 Kirsten Wever
00:30:16
Play 31 Chapter 31 Kirsten Wever
00:28:44
Play 32 Chapter 32 Kirsten Wever
00:28:59
Play 33 Chapter 33 Kirsten Wever
00:35:44
Play 34 Chapter 34 Kirsten Wever
00:20:26
Play 35 Chapter 35 Kirsten Wever
00:17:26
Play 36 Chapter 36 Part 1 Kirsten Wever
00:30:33
Play 37 Chapter 36 Part 2 Kirsten Wever
00:41:00
Play 38 Chapter 37 Kirsten Wever
00:27:53