books > helen
544pp B-format paperback
by maria edgeworth
“Jane Austen fans are bound to relish this fine mix of social comedy and thwarted love.” JOHN MULLAN
She was the bestselling author of Regency England. Admired by Jane Austen whose fame she eclipsed and dubbed ‘Our Great Maria’ by Sir Walter Scott. John Ruskin declared her work, ‘The most re-readable in existence’. Isn’t it time we started reading Maria Edgeworth?
Written in 1834, Helen was the last and most psychologically powerful of Edgeworth’s novels.
Newly orphaned Helen Stanley is urged to share the home of her childhood friend Lady Cecilia. This charming socialite, however, is withholding secrets and soon Helen is drawn into a web of ‘white lies’ and evasions that threaten not only her hopes for marriage but her very place in society.
A fascinating panorama of Britain’s political and intellectual elite in the early 1800s and a gripping romantic drama. Helen was the inspiration for Elizabeth Gaskell’s Wives and Daughters.
The book is introduced by John Mullan, Professor of English at UCL. He hosts the Guardian Book Club, and contributes regularly to Newsnight Review, LRB and New Statesman.
“No one can fail to be interested in what Maria Edgeworth shows us of the conflicting pressures on women of her day.” MAGGIE GEE