Magdalen Vanstone and her sister Norah learn the true meaning of social stigma in Victorian England after the sudden death of their dearly loved parents, leaves them orphaned. The traumatic discovery that they were not married at the time of their birth leaves the daughters with no name, no rights and no property. With the help only of their loyal governess Miss Garth, the two girls set out to make their own way in the world.
A long-ago murder unites two distantly-related cousins. After running away from his abusive home, Allan Armadale chases fate and reinvents himself as Ozias Midwinter. He quickly befriends his cousin, also named Allan Armadale, who inherits an estate but becomes encumbered by his newfound wealth. The cousins’ relationship is further complicated by the interference of Lydia Gwilt, a governess and fortune-hunter who was also involved in that long-ago murder.
THE DEAD SECRET
Warned by a servant to avoid a particular room in her ancestral home, Porthgenna Tower, a wealthy heiress searches the room only to discover a long-held secret that has the potential to strip her of her inheritance. But when Rosamund Treverton reveals the secret of her birth, she is surprised by the reactions of those closest to her.
THE HAUNTED HOTEL: A MYSTERY OF MODERN VENICE
An enigmatic countess with a wicked past, a terrible crime, a shadowy Venetian palazzo and a grisly apparition demanding vengeance - all the ingredients for a vintage Gothic horror tale. Also includes the short story 'The Dream Woman'.
MAN AND WIFE
Man and Wife centres on the confused and inequitable marriage laws of 19th-century Britain, reflecting the author’s own antipathy toward the institution. The plot follows the fortunes of a woman who, committed to marriage with one man, comes to believe that she may have inadvertently married his friend, according to the archaic laws of Scotland and Ireland. Collins shows himself to be a masterly storyteller, seamlessly moving the action from a country house to a suburb of London, and into a world of deceit and murder.
The beautiful moonstone is given to Rachel Verrinder as a birthday present, but the fabulous diamond brings with it a terrible curse.