Paul Ferroll (1855) is a novel by Caroline Clive. Published to widespread critical and commercial acclaim, Paul Ferroll gained comparisons to Jane Eyre and predated the rise of popular detective fiction, but has since been largely forgotten. A captivating novel of Victorian social conventions with elements of Gothic horror, Paul Ferroll is an underrecognized work of literature that remains both entertaining and ultimately open ended.
Paul Ferroll, a respected English magistrate, lives with his loving wife and young daughter at their comfortable country estate. When Ferroll’s wife is found murdered in her bed, the family’s idyllic image is disrupted forever. Although a servant is quickly arrested for the crime, a lack of evidence leads to his subsequent acquittal, raising questions about Ferroll’s increasingly reclusive behavior. Despite remarrying, Ferroll clearly harbors a dark secret. He turns away from friends and neighbors, forcing his daughter to raise herself. While an outbreak of cholera devastates the local village, Ferroll, a formerly generous public servant, turns a blind eye to their suffering. As acquaintances speculate, unsure if Ferroll remains in mourning or if his change of heart signals something much darker, his home becomes haunted with ghosts of the living. Building slowly toward its unbearable conclusion, Paul Ferroll investigates the motives that lead to murder, illuminating the condition of the male psyche with expert precision.
With a beautifully designed cover and professionally typeset manuscript, this edition of Caroline Clive’s Paul Ferroll is a classic of English literature reimagined for modern readers.