Belinda is a book written by Maria Edgeworth in 1801. The story revolves around a young woman called Belinda, who lives with her aunt, Mrs. Stanhope. Belinda is sent to live with Lady Delacour and Belinda is fascinated by her. The first part of the story focuses on the relationship between Belinda and Lady Delacour and how this blossoms into a friendship. Lady Delacour is however worried that she is dying from breast cancer but she hides her worries from Belinda. Belinda later goes to live with a different family (the Percival family) after tensions rise high with Lady Delacour but she returns to support Lady Delacour through her time of ill health. Lady Delacour ultimately discovers that she is not terminally ill and so restarts her friendship with Belinda.
The book was written by the author in order to portray how a young woman grew up in the 1800s and how she looked to role models in order to fashion her own life - but also to display that friendships can become sour due to paranoia and that it is often something very bad (such as breast cancer) which brings back together two very good friends.
The book has been well-received by critics and fans and it was initially published by Joseph Johnson and later by Pandora Press in 1986. Indeed, famous critic George Saintsbury stated that Jane Austen's female characters owed a debt to the character of Belinda in this book and praised Maria Edgeworth.