What is the basic plot summary and major character names of Mary Elizabeth Braddon's The Doctor's Wife?
"The Doctor's Wife" by Mary Elizabeth Braddon is in many ways a reworking of Gustave Flaubert’s Madame Bovary for the English market. Like most of Braddon’s work, it was initially published in serial form. The protagonist, and viewpoint character, is Miss Isabel Sleaford. Her mother died when she was young, her father is a rather sleazy barrister, and she is mistreated by her stepmother and stepbrothers. She retreats into reading sensation novels and Byronic poetry; he mind is entirely formed by this material. Her best friend is Sigismund Smith, a sensation novelist, and her favourite book of poems an anonymous one called “The Alien”. She marries a dull but kind and respectable doctor, George Gilbert, who turns out to the mentor of Roland Landsdell, the handsome and romantic author of The Alien. A scandal, and a relatively happy ending ensue.