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Download Mrs. Robinson’s Disgrace: The Private Diary of a Victorian Lady Audiobook

Extended Audio Sample Mrs. Robinson’s Disgrace: The Private Diary of a Victorian Lady Audiobook, by Kate Summerscale Click for printable size audiobook cover
3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (1,337 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Kate Summerscale Narrator: Wanda McCaddon Publisher: Tantor Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: June 2012 ISBN: 9781452678016
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"I think people marry far too much; it is such a lottery, and for a poor woman-bodily and morally the husband's slave-a very doubtful happiness." -Queen Victoria to her recently married daughter VickyHeadstrong, high-spirited, and already widowed, Isabella Walker became Mrs. Henry Robinson at age thirty-one in 1844. Her first husband had died suddenly, leaving his estate to a son from a previous marriage, so she inherited nothing. A successful civil engineer, Henry moved them, by then with two sons, to Edinburgh's elegant society in 1850. But Henry traveled often and was cold and remote when home, leaving Isabella to her fantasies.No doubt thousands of Victorian women faced the same circumstances, but Isabella chose to record her innermost thoughts-and especially her infatuation with a married Dr. Edward Lane-in her diary. Over five years the entries mounted-passionate, sensual, suggestive. One fateful day in 1858 Henry chanced on the diary and, broaching its privacy, read Isabella's intimate entries. Aghast at his wife's perceived infidelity, Henry petitioned for divorce on the grounds of adultery. Until that year, divorce had been illegal in England, the marital bond being a cornerstone of English life. Their trial would be a cause celebre, threatening the foundations of Victorian society with the specter of "a new and disturbing figure: a middle class wife who was restless, unhappy, avid for arousal." Her diary, read in court, was as explosive as Flaubert's Madame Bovary, just published in France but considered too scandalous to be translated into English until the 1880s.As she accomplished in her award-winning and bestselling The Suspicions of Mr. Whicher, Kate Summerscale brilliantly recreates the Victorian world, chronicling in exquisite and compelling detail the life of Isabella Robinson, wherein the longings of a frustrated wife collided with a society clinging to rigid ideas about sanity, the boundaries of privacy, the institution of marriage, and female sexuality. Download and start listening now!


Quotes & Awards

  • “Summerscale unspools the Robinsons’ tale with flair in Mrs. Robinson’s Disgrace, but it’s her social history of marriage that’s really riveting. Grade: A.”

    Entertainment Weekly

  • With intelligence and graceful prose, Summerscale gives an intimate and surprising look into Victorian life. Publishers Weekly Starred Review
  • “The end of the court case is surprising, and to give it away would be an insult to Summerscale’s cleverly constructed narrative. But she stresses that one thing is clear: the diary ‘may not tell us, for certain, what happened in Isabella’s life, but it tells us what she wanted.’”

    New York Times Book Review

  • “You’ll find Fifty Shades of Grey on beaches everywhere…but the story of Mrs. Robinson deserves a place on summer reading lists. She is pretty hot stuff.”

    Boston Globe

Listener Opinions

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Dayle | 2/17/2014

    " It was good but I got bogged down about a third of the way through. I'm glad I continued be it is a bit of a slog a times. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Darlah | 2/15/2014

    " Very eye-opening to the lack of women's rights in Europe in the mid 1800's. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Katherine | 2/11/2014

    " The second history I've read by Summerscale. Very readable, excellent research, and a very interesting personal story of the times. Summerscale does a great job of bringing Isabella's story into the wider context of the mid-Victorian era. Guest spots by Charles Darwin, George Eliot and Charles Dickens only make the story more interesting. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Jane | 2/4/2014

    " Interesting story of its time. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Sara | 2/4/2014

    " I wish I could give this book more stars because the story itself was good. The life of women in Victorian England was appalling in so many ways. Unfortunately, I feel like Summerscale's delivery didn't make this book easy or even necessarily enjoyable to read. But the topic was excellent, as was her research. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Acacia | 1/16/2014

    " this was more like a 1.5 stars. the thrill of an adulterous affair was covered up with too much boring detail. some interesting divorce law info, but not much else. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Lorraine Seigel | 9/13/2013

    " Fairly interesting account of the scandal surrounding one of the earliest divorces in England. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Carol Eshaghy | 5/29/2013

    " Factual account of a Victorian lady who is accused of having an affair with a family friend. The affair comes to light when her husband finds her diary. Interesting commentary on the rights of women in Victorian England. Is this why they chose the name Mrs Roginson for the movie THE GRADUATE? "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Isabel | 1/1/2013

    " Loved The Suspicions of Mr. Whicher, by the same author, and although I was looking forward to reading this one, it was a very slow and painful slog. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Nele | 12/6/2012

    " The troubles of Mrs Robinson seem a bit dated but nevertheless this is a very interesting read. Makes you very very happy that times have changed for women. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Sandy | 10/27/2012

    " Too much detail - I had to skip through big chunks of it to get to the end. It really brought home exactly how misogynistic Victorian society was. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Kirsten | 8/18/2012

    " Remarkably dull for a book about adultery and intrigue. We don't get many of Mrs. Robinson's actual words. This more a sociological study of Victorian England than anything else. I'm not sure how Summerscale manages to make it so dull and academic, but she does! Like reading someone's dissertation. "

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About the Author
Author Kate Summerscale

Kate Summerscale is the former literary editor for the Daily Telegraph and author of The Queen of Whale Cay, which won the Somerset Maugham Award and was shortlisted for the Whitbread biography award. She lives in London.

About the Narrator

Wanda McCaddon (a.k.a. Nadia May or Donada Peters) has narrated well over six hundred titles for major audiobook publishers, has earned numerous Earphones Awards, and was named a Golden Voice by AudioFile magazine.