She was the bestselling author of Regency England. Admired by Jane Austen, whose fame she eclipsed. John Ruskin declared her books ‘the most re-readable in existence’. Isn’t it time to read Maria Edgeworth?
On the death of her guardian, honest, generous-spirited Helen Stanley is urged to share the home of her childhood friend, Lady Cecilia. But this charming socialite is withholding secrets and 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.
Introduction by John Mullan, Professor of English at University College, London, and host of the Guardian book club.
About the Author
Maria Edgeworth (1768–1849) was the second child of Anglo-Irish Richard Lovell Edgeworth, a political liberal and enlightened educator. Her pioneering regional novels set in Ireland and sparkling comedies of high-life English manners, from Belinda (1801) to Helen (1834), commanded unprecedented advances and were major best-sellers. She was read and admired by Jane Austen, Walter Scott, Byron, Stendhal, Turgenev and Ruskin. She never married and lived, from age 14 until her death aged 81, at her father’s estate in Edgeworthstown in the Irish Midlands.