First published in 1867, "Anne Hereford" is the story of murder, scandal, and misunderstandings in an aristocratic country house, told from the point of view of an orphaned ten-year-old. Its setting and viewpoint have led to natural comparisons with "Jane Eyre," but it is "Jane Eyre" shot through with scandal and sensation -- the kind of book that might have appealed to the first Mrs. Rochester.
Despite its antiquated wills, inheritances, shotguns, and other paraphernalia, the novel is almost entirely accessible by modern readers -- with perhaps one exception. The reader should keep in mind that the phrase "make love to" denoted harmless flirting or praise in Victorian parlance. Thus when Selina urges, "Anne, come forward, and let Mr. Heneage make love to you. It is a pastime he favors," nothing sinister is implied.
-- Martha Bayless