Dr Phil didn’t invent family drama. This Victorian novel might as well be given the Dr Phil caption of "I found out my parents weren’t married, and my cousin won’t give me my inheritance". A suspenseful yet poignant tale of the prejudices against illegitimacy, "No Name" captures the anxieties at the time – but also love stories – surrounding marriage.
Two sisters, Magdalen and Norah Vanstone live an idyllic life in the English countryside with their wealthy parents. A tragedy upends their lives, suddenly losing their status in society. This new life brings Magdalen to York, then London, beginning her riveting tale of acting, marriage proposals, revenge, and even poison.
A thriller that would put Dr Phil out of business, "No Name" emphasises romance in the face of rigid Victorian society. London-born Wilke Collins (1824-1889) became known in Victorian England for his novels and plays, sometimes writing together with Charles Dickens. His most famous works, "The Woman in White" (1859) and "The Moonstone" (1868), are examples of the first modern detective novels.