... Annie Sophie Cory, was also a writer – using the pen name Victoria Cross, she wrote racy novels. Her most popular, Anna Lombard – published in 1901 – is said to have sold six million copies.
Set in India, it’s about a genteel young English woman who takes her Indian servant as her lover and won’t give him up even when she gets engaged to an eligible English colonial administrator. Her lover dies, but she discovers she is expecting his child. She marries her English fiancé and they move away; when the baby is born, she realises that her husband can never abide this living reminder of her Indian lover. So… she suffocates the child.
It’s fiction, of course. But this sensational storyline does make you pause. The novel violates so much of what is expected of a refined English woman in India at the time.
You wonder whose anxieties are being expressed in this tangled plot – and what its emphatic commercial success says about its readership: that they liked to be shocked and appalled or, in some vicarious manner, wanted to share in the thrill, and agony, of a woman who breaks the rules.
The book is available on archive.org: https://archive.org/details/dli.bengal.10689.21692/page/n7/mode/2up
Author: Annie Sophie Cory (1868-1952) Her death date means the book is in copyright for life+70 countries (for another couple of years).