The Water Doctor’s Daughters is the fascinating but tragic tale of wealthy 19thC. water-cure doctor James Loftus Marsden and his children. The girls grew up knowing some of the most famous personalities of the day, including Charles Darwin and Alfred Tennyson, but two would die in suspicious circumstances. They were severely emotionally deprived. Their mother died in childbirth and Dr Marsden was self-absorbed and autocratic.
In 1852 Marsden employed French born Célestine Doudet as a governess. Doudet came highly recommended, having once served as wardrobe mistress to Queen Victoria. Within weeks she had accused the doctor’s five young daughters of ‘self-abuse’. Marsden urged the governess to do everything in her power to ‘cure’ them, condoning the use of physical restraints and insisting on a rigid homeopathic diet aimed at decreasing sensuality. By the autumn of 1853 Marian Marsden and her sister Lucy were dead. Two sensational trials followed, but who was more culpable… the girls’ father or their governess?
In stock in the UK at Blackwell’s, London, Oxford and Cambridge.
Available in Australia at bookshops throughout the Blue Mountains and at Abbey Books in Pitt Street, Sydney.
Julie Schwabe – Doudet’s Strongest Supporter
The wealthy and influential Julie Schwabe of Manchester (friend of Florence Nightingale) testified on behalf of the governess. I have published an article on this aspect of the case on the community site Middletonia. It contains information discovered after the book went to press.
The Water Doctor’s Daughter’s Daughters has received a number of 5 star reviews on Amazon.Uk
A very positive mainstream review appeared recently – click here to view.
MLLE DOUDET’S TRIAL WAS DRAMATISED ON FRENCH TELEVISION IN 1960. FRENCH SPEAKERS, JUST CLICK ON THIS LINK
COMPETITIONS – The Water Doctor’s Daughters was long-listed in the prestigious 2013 Waverley Literature prize:-