1. Impossible Realism
Even if Ouida’s world is a fantastic one, dipping into that world is always entertaining. Of course, Ouida firmly believed her “fanciful” stories to be descriptions based in the real world. True fans, nevertheless, adore that her narratives are full of dramatic events, wild plot twists, and intense character relationships. As a devout Ouida fan, her works of fiction provide the perfect blend of art and entertainment.
2. No Apologies
Edgar Fawcett’s (1887) "The Truth about Ouida" was correct to call out and challenge the derisive criticism found in Harriet W. Preston's (1886) article on the author. Even George Slythe Street fell into the unfortunate tendency to take on an apologetic tone in the appreciation of Ouida’s genius. Why should Ouida fans be so apologetic when the author herself was so unapologetic in her adherence to her craft? I'm with Beerbohm; no apologies here.
3. Guilty Pleasure
For some reason, reading Ouida under the threat of some mild form of societal chastisement only adds to the appeal of the reading experience. It is the “guilty pleasure effect”—a paradox of popular culture which adds an addictive quality to her books. Ouida’s ability to push her stories to the edge of the acceptable combined with her penchant for challenging any of the orthodoxies which she found repugnant have made the reading of her stories an act of quasi-rebellious consumption for multiple generations of readers.
4. Too Many Words
Wordiness continues to be one of the main criticisms against Ouida. Ouidaites, however, often view this supposed defect as being among her key merits in terms of style. To the Ouida fan, the lengthy descriptions are poetic and visually evocative to the point of being cinematic. Besides, we understand perfectly how Ouida could have held the notion that, ideally, her novels were to be precisely as long as required to relate the narrative; not a word more, and none less. And judging from the frequent examples of complex alliteration and the attention paid to character names it is clear that the author invested much thought into her choice of words.
We cannot forget, also, that Ouida was a woman of singular achievement. As an unwedded woman living in the Victorian Era, Ouida managed to comfortably support both herself and her mother (not to mention her many canine companions) throughout most of their adult lives. She succeeded in materializing many of her ambitions through her vision and hard work. Moreover, she achieved her success during a period when a woman’s vocational options were comparatively limited. Very inspirational indeed!
6. Renaissance Woman
Simply put, Ouida’s dedication to humanistic learning is nothing less than astounding, especially for an individual who had been, for the most part, autodidactic in their approach to pursuing knowledge.
7. All My Single Ladies
Ouida’s ideas were wonderfully independent. When all is said and done, she was always her own person. This indefatigable independence of spirit is reflected in her many novels and short stories. It is an independence that underscores her ability to rearticulate the more commonly accepted boundaries concerning nineteenth century perceptions of gender and race in a manner that persistently fascinates.
8. Bridge Builder
Ironically, for an author with such a unique style and an independent voice, Ouida’s novels are remarkably universal. For more than a century now her books have been enjoyed by people from different income levels, from a number of different countries the world over, and in many different languages.
9. Income Inequality
Similarly her novels, much like the works of Shakespeare, include narratives about people from different income levels, from a number of different countries the world over, and in different languages.
10. Homo Novus
Although many of her stories are melancholic in nature, there is often a sentimentalism in them which is at once soul-stirring and cathartic. To put it in the clearest of terms: reading Ouida’s novels motivates me to work at being a better human being.