Mary Elizabeth Braddon was a British fiction writer of the Victorian era. Her most renowned books are Lady Audley’s Secret (1862) and Aurora Floyd (1863), but she wrote over ninety novels, one hundred and fifty short stories, and countless plays and articles.
Braddon is also the mother of novelist W.B. Maxwell.
Mary Elizabeth Braddon was born in London. She was the only child of Henry Braddon, a solicitor, and Fanny White. Unfortunately, her parents separated when Mary was still young. Her mother later married a publisher named John Maxwell. He had a significant impact on Mary's literary career.
Braddon began as a journalist, publishing articles, stories, and reviews in various periodicals. Her breakthrough was her first novel, Lady Audley's Mystery, published in 1862. This novel, which dealt with themes such as bigamy and identity, captured the imagination of readers and made her a prominent figure in the genre of sensational fiction.
Lady Audley's Secret has been in print ever since and has been dramatized and filmed several times.
Braddon also founded Belgravia Magazine (1866), which presented readers with serialized sensation novels, poems, travel narratives, and biographies. She wrote essays on fashion, history, and science and edited Temple Bar Magazine.
Her work is distinguished by the Gothic influences found in earlier fiction, applied with new interest to more domestic situations of Victorian life. She often explored controversial and taboo subjects, contributing to their popularity among readers hungry for scandalous and thrilling narratives.
Mary Elizabeth Braddon passed away in 1915 at the age of 79. She lived during a period of significant social and cultural change and witnessed the development of Victorian literature.