Esther Waters


Set in England from the early 1870s onward, the novel is about a young, pious woman from a poor working-class family who, while working as a kitchen maid, is seduced by another employee, becomes pregnant, is deserted by her lover, and against all odds decides to raise her child as a single mother. Esther Waters is one of a group of Victorian novels that depict the life of a "fallen woman".

Written in a Zola-like naturalistic style, the novel stands out among Moore's publications as the book whose immediate success, including Gladstone's approval of the novel in the Westminster Gazette,[1] brought him financial security. Continuously revised by Moore (1899, 1917, 1920, 1931), it is often understood to be his best novel.

Esther Waters is dedicated to T. W. Rolleston.

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