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An upper-class woman recovering from a suicide attempt, Margaret Prior has begun visiting the women's ward of Millbank prison, Victorian London's grimmest jail, as part of her rehabilitative charity work. Amongst Millbank's murderers and common thieves, Margaret finds herself increasingly fascinated by on apparently innocent inmate, the enigmatic spiritualist Selina Dawes. <P><P> Selina was imprisoned after a séance she was conducting went horribly awry, leaving an elderly matron dead and a young woman deeply disturbed. Although initially skeptical of Selina's gifts, Margaret is soon drawn into a twilight world of ghosts and shadows, unruly spirits and unseemly passions, until she is at last driven to concoct a desperate plot to secure Selina's freedom, and her own.
An anthology of the winning entries for the Jane Austen Short Story Award Two hundred years ago, Jane Austen- traumatized by her parents' decision to give up the rectory in Hampshire where she grew up, and unable to write for a decade-accepted her brother Edward's offer of a permanent home in his Chawton House estate. It was there that she picked up her pen once again . . . and gave the world some of the most beloved and enduring novels ever written. The Jane Austen Short Story Competition celebrates the immortal author and her works, and the blessed home that afforded her the peace and security to create them. Judged and chosen by Sarah Waters, bestselling author of Tipping the Velvet and Fingersmith, Dancing with Mr. Darcy includes the winning selection and nineteen runners-up, as well as introductions from Waters and Rebecca Smith, the great-great-great-great-great niece of Jane Austen.
Sue Trinder is an orphan, left as an infant in the care of Mrs. Sucksby, a "baby farmer," who raised her with unusual tenderness, as if Sue were her own. Mrs. Sucksby's household, with its fussy babies calmed with doses of gin, also hosts a transient family of petty thieves--fingersmiths--for whom this house in the heart of a mean London slum is home.<P><P> One day, the most beloved thief of all arrives--Gentleman, an elegant con man, who carries with him an enticing proposition for Sue: If she wins a position as the maid to Maud Lilly, a naïve gentlewoman, and aids Gentleman in her seduction, then they will all share in Maud's vast inheritance. Once the inheritance is secured, Maud will be disposed of--passed off as mad, and made to live out the rest of her days in a lunatic asylum.With dreams of paying back the kindness of her adopted family, Sue agrees to the plan. <P> Once in, however, Sue begins to pity her helpless mark and care for Maud Lilly in unexpected ways...But no one and nothing is as it seems in this Dickensian novel of thrills and reversals
One postwar summer in his home of rural Warwickshire, Dr. Faraday, the son of a maid who has built a life of quiet respectability as a country physician, is called to a patient at lonely Hundreds Hall. <P><P>Home to the Ayres family for over two centuries, the Georgian house, once impressive and handsome, is now in decline, its masonry crumbling, its gardens choked with weeds, the clock in its stable yard permanently fixed at twenty to nine. Its owners--mother, son, and daughter--are struggling to keep pace with a changing society, as well as with conflicts of their own.<P> But are the Ayreses haunted by something more sinister than a dying way of life? Little does Dr. Faraday know how closely, and how terrifyingly, their story is about to become intimately entwined with his.
Moving back through the 1940s, through air raids, blacked-out streets, illicit partying, and sexual adventure, to end with its beginning in 1941, The Night Watch tells the story of four Londoners--three women and a young man with a past--whose lives, and those of their friends and lovers, connect in tragedy, stunning surprise and exquisite turns, only to change irreversibly in the shadow of a grand historical event.
From the bestselling author of The Little Stranger and Fingersmith, an enthralling novel about a widow and her daughter who take a young couple into their home in 1920s London.<P><P> It is 1922, and London is tense. Ex-servicemen are disillusioned; the out-of-work and the hungry are demanding change. And in South London, in a genteel Camberwell villa--a large, silent house now bereft of brothers, husband, and even servants--life is about to be transformed as impoverished widow Mrs. Wray and her spinster daughter, Frances, are obliged to take in lodgers.<P> With the arrival of Lilian and Leonard Barber, a modern young couple of the "clerk class," the routines of the house will be shaken up in unexpected ways. Little do the Wrays know just how profoundly their new tenants will alter the course of Frances's life--or, as passions mount and frustration gathers, how far-reaching, and how devastating, the disturbances will be.<P> Short-listed for the Man Booker Prize three times, Sarah Waters has earned a reputation as one of our greatest writers of historical fiction, and here she has delivered again. A love story, a tension-filled crime story, and a beautifully atmospheric portrait of a fascinating time and place, The Paying Guests is Sarah Waters's finest achievement yet.
Nan King, an oyster girl, is captivated by the music hall phenomenon Kitty Butler, a male impersonator extraordinaire treading the boards in Canterbury. <P><P>Through a friend at the box office, Nan manages to visit all her shows and finally meet her heroine. Soon after, she becomes Kitty's dresser and the two head for the bright lights of Leicester Square where they begin a glittering career as music-hall stars in an all-singing and dancing double act. At the same time, behind closed doors, they admit their attraction to each other and their affair begins.
Mary Elizabeth Braddon (1837-1915), Victorian England's bestselling woman writer, blends Dickensian humor with chilling suspense in this "exuberantly campy" (Kirkus Reviews) mystery. The novel features Jabez North, a manipulative orphan who becomes a ruthless killer; Valerie de Cevennes, a stunning heiress who falls into North's diabolical trap; and Mr. Peters, a mute detective who communicates his brilliant reasoning through sign language. This edition includes a critical Afterword and endnotes by Victorian scholar Dr. Chris Willis.