Customer Reviews for

Mrs. Robinson's Disgrace: The Private Diary of a Victorian Lady

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Most Helpful Favorable Review

9 out of 11 people found this review helpful.

Mrs Robinson’s Disgrace is a non-fictional accounting of V

Mrs Robinson’s Disgrace is a non-fictional accounting of Victorian woman’s diary and her secret love. Isabella Robinson was an upper middle class woman married to a successful businessman with whom she had three children. One could say Isabella had it all &n...
Mrs Robinson’s Disgrace is a non-fictional accounting of Victorian woman’s diary and her secret love. Isabella Robinson was an upper middle class woman married to a successful businessman with whom she had three children. One could say Isabella had it all – a wealthy husband, plenty of servants, plenty of fashionable clothes and accessories, and the perfect family. Despite all this, Isabella was not happy. She was trapped in a loveless marriage with a difficult, cold man who was away from home most of the time. He had two illegitimate children, a sign that his own moral values were corrupt. Her unhappiness led to Isabella falling hopelessly and lustfully in love with Dr Edward Lane, the son-in-law of a family within her closest social circle. In a secret diary, Isabella diligently recorded her innermost feelings, desires, and thoughts as her passion for the married Dr Lane turned into obsession. As her marriage failed and led to divorce, her diary was used against her by her infuriated husband and mocked for its scandal in the media at the time. Her husband had stolen the diary and used it against her in his divorce suit on the grounds of her adultery. The case culminated in a choice for Mrs Robinson to declare herself sexually active and immoral or insane. She chose to be labelled immoral and be disgraced, thus erasing any moral after-effects on Dr Lane and his family.

This book provides readers with an accurate depiction of how difficult and complex life for Victorian women was and the dilemmas they faced in matters of sexuality and married life. Excerpts of the diary are interspersed in in the factual, historical accounting of this famous case. All in all, it is a fascinating case story and an important historical event worth reading about.

posted by Mirella on June 29, 2012

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Most Helpful Critical Review

3 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

Dissertation?

Reads like some Eng Lit Major's final thesis. Not at all what I expected...

posted by Dananicb on August 4, 2012

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  • Posted June 29, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    Mrs Robinson’s Disgrace is a non-fictional accounting of V

    Mrs Robinson’s Disgrace is a non-fictional accounting of Victorian woman’s diary and her secret love. Isabella Robinson was an upper middle class woman married to a successful businessman with whom she had three children. One could say Isabella had it all – a wealthy husband, plenty of servants, plenty of fashionable clothes and accessories, and the perfect family. Despite all this, Isabella was not happy. She was trapped in a loveless marriage with a difficult, cold man who was away from home most of the time. He had two illegitimate children, a sign that his own moral values were corrupt. Her unhappiness led to Isabella falling hopelessly and lustfully in love with Dr Edward Lane, the son-in-law of a family within her closest social circle. In a secret diary, Isabella diligently recorded her innermost feelings, desires, and thoughts as her passion for the married Dr Lane turned into obsession. As her marriage failed and led to divorce, her diary was used against her by her infuriated husband and mocked for its scandal in the media at the time. Her husband had stolen the diary and used it against her in his divorce suit on the grounds of her adultery. The case culminated in a choice for Mrs Robinson to declare herself sexually active and immoral or insane. She chose to be labelled immoral and be disgraced, thus erasing any moral after-effects on Dr Lane and his family.

    This book provides readers with an accurate depiction of how difficult and complex life for Victorian women was and the dilemmas they faced in matters of sexuality and married life. Excerpts of the diary are interspersed in in the factual, historical accounting of this famous case. All in all, it is a fascinating case story and an important historical event worth reading about.

    9 out of 11 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted August 4, 2012

    Dissertation?

    Reads like some Eng Lit Major's final thesis. Not at all what I expected...

    3 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted July 12, 2012

    Lengthy Lengthy. Repetitve.

    Tried to be both novel and journalistic account. Should have been one or the other. Consequently did not succeed as either. Historically interesting.



    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted June 23, 2012

    Nice to see marriage in the eyes of someone in a different time.

    Nice to see marriage in the eyes of someone in a different time.

    3 out of 8 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 16, 2013

    It sounds like it's a novel (and a saucy one at that), but it is

    It sounds like it's a novel (and a saucy one at that), but it is not. At all. Not by any stretch of the imagination.

    However, it is a very fascinating, deeply researched examination of marriage, divorce, sexuality, family, women's rights, and shifting social and moral values in Victorian England and Scotland, focussed around the experiences of a handful of specific people.

    Definitely an engrossing and informative read, but certainly not saucy or a novel.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 18, 2012

    not what I thought it would be

    The description made it seem as if it would be a real story of a Victorian lady-juicy stuff. Instead, it is more like someone's class project. Dry and not overly absorbing. Didn't even finish it. Would like my money back.

    2 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted November 28, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    If you've read The Suspicions of Mr. Whicher you already know th

    If you've read The Suspicions of Mr. Whicher you already know that Kate Summerscale can write fascinating nonfiction. Mrs. Robinson's Disgrace is certainly no exception.

    One thought that I kept having while reading this was how very glad I am to be a woman now, rather than in the 1800s. Mrs. Isabella Robinson was put on trial for adultery after her husband read her diary. Did it matter that Mr. Robinson himself was a known adulterer? No.

    Men were excused to behave in certain ways and women were expected to take it. Women were expected to be chaste, even within their own marriages. If a woman enjoyed sex...sought out sex? Hooo boy. She must have a disease of the uterus! She must be insane! Hysterical!

    Kate Summerscale uses the trial of Mrs. Robinson to explore the framework of Victorian life and she does it wonderfully.

    Jennifer @ The Relentless Reader

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 16, 2013

    A Waste!!!

    Not what I was expecting!! Just an everyday story of the usual tramp with too much time on her hands.... Waste of money!!!!

    0 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 25, 2013

    From the dark ages of women's legal status

    Knowing what this book is about, it's hard to turn the pages knowing of the ultimate humiliation awaiting her. But the reader is compelled to keep going to see if Mrs Robinson prevails. Married to a nasty, money-grubbing husband, Mrs Robinson seeks affection elsewhere. The ensuing legal battle takes place just as the English courts allow divorce to be more available and affordable. The husband, himself involved in another relationship, wants a divorce so he can have his wife's property, and he wants to sue her alleged lover so he can get his money too. Not only a salacious tabloid tale, the legal and historical research is impressive.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 25, 2012

    Informational, but misleading.

    The book jacket makes "Mrs Robinson's Disgrace" seem like its the exciting romance of Mrs Robinson, and her downfall from grace as, she is a married woman. I was ecxited to read it, yet was sadly disappointed to realize that it as a meare retelling, in book report form, the story of one woman.
    Unless you enjoy boring, make you want to read a medical dictionary for fun type of work, I wouldn't waste your prescious time on this book.

    0 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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