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Considered to be one of the first feminist novels. Originally published in 1848, it challenged the prevailing morals of the time; a critic went so far as to pronounce it "utterly unfit to be put into the hands of girls". It is concerned with the story of a woman who leaves her abusive, dissolute husband, and who must then support herself and her young son.
The work opens with an unnamed narrator listening to the reading of a manuscript written many years ago by a now dead young governess. The governess relates that soon after arriving to work in the house she learns that her predecessor had died under mysterious circumstances. As the tale unfolds the reader has room to doubt the reality of the evil that the governess feels is approaching.
One of the first and finest "sensation novels", the story begins when the protagonist, Walter Hartright, encounters a mysterious woman dressed all in white on a moonlit road in Hampstead. She is confused and in distress, and Hartright helps her to find her way back to London. In return she gives him a warning. Soon after, Hartright learns that she might have escaped from an asylum. The story is told by a succession of character, each with different motivations and agendas.
What might a young boy living with his parents in a sleepy seaside town in 18th century England fancy? An adventure in search of buried treasure in exotic locations might seem like just the thing. But what young Jim Hawkins doesn't realise is that there is much more to this horrifying adventure when the buccaneering pirate Long John Silver and his band are involved. A gripping tale and a marvellous coming-of-age story.
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