The Water Doctor's Daughters
The Water Doctor's Daughters is the fascinating tale of Dr James Marsden, a wealthy nineteenth-century homeopathist and water-cure practitioner, and his troubled family life. Though Marsden's children grew up knowing some of the most famous personalities of the day, including Charles Darwin and Alfred Tennyson, they were severely emotionally deprived. Their mother had died in childbirth and Marsden himself was both self-absorbed and autocratic. In 1852 he employed French born Celestine Doudet as a governess. Doudet came highly recommended, having once served as wardrobe mistress to Queen Victoria. Within weeks she had accused the doctor's five young daughters of 'self-abuse'. Marsden urged the governess to do everything in her power to 'cure' them, condoning the use of physical restraints and insisting on a rigid homeopathic diet aimed at decreasing sensuality. By the autumn of 1853 Marian Marsden and her sister Lucy were dead and the governess was charged with manslaughter and cruelty. Two sensational trials followed, but who was more culpable...the girls' father or their governess?
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- Hardback | 272 pages
- 160 x 234 x 22mm | 759.99g
- 01 May 2013
- The Crowood Press Ltd
- ROBERT HALE LTD
- London, United Kingdom
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About Pauline Conolly
Pauline Conolly has worked in libraries and in the vocational training sector, but now divides her time between the UK and Australia. Conolly has written for a wide range of Australian publications, including the Sydney Morning Herald, The Australian and the literary magazine Quadrant.
'[The Water Doctor's Daughters] outdoes any fictional Victorian melodrama I have ever read...I hope she gives us more.' - Edward James, Historical Novels Review
Table of contents
A true crime story and psychological drama but also a study of the prudishness and moral duplicity of the Victorian era Contains new material on the Doudet trials accompanied by portraits of virtually all those involved plus photographs of associated places and properties Extensively researched, with information from the descendant of a principal character and unpublished family diaries Reveals for the first time the fate of the three surviving Marsden sisters The story has close connections with many prominent Victorians, including Darwin, Tennyson and Thackeray