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The Grey Woman

Elizabeth Cleghorn Gaskell

Book Overview: 

A “Bluebeard” story in which a young woman marries a man whom she discovers has killed his previous wives and is trying to kill her as well.

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Book Excerpt: 
. . .r his housekeeper, and repeating how often she had spoken of the happy life she led with him. The men might have their doubts, but they did not wish to offend the miller, and all agreed that the necessary steps should be taken for a speedy funeral. And so they went out, leaving us in our loft, but so much alone, that, for the first time almost, we ventured to speak freely, though still in a hushed voice, pausing to listen continually. Amante took a more cheerful view of the whole occurrence than I did. She said that, had the old woman lived, we should have had to depart that morning, and that this quiet departure would have been the best thing we could have had to hope for, as, in all probability, the housekeeper would have told her master of us and of our resting-place, and this fact would, sooner or later, have been brought to the knowledge of those from whom we most desired to keep it concealed; but that now we had time to rest, and a shelter to rest in, during the. . . Read More

Community Reviews

This set of short stories is hit or miss, as most collections of short stories are. The first story is by far the strongest, but overall I liked the others. The brief commentary I give on each story below will not contain spoilers. All in all, if you like Elizabeth Gaskell and short stories, it is w

ENGLISH: Eight stories by Gaskell, quite good all of them, although I liked best those in the Cranford collection. Most of them are moral lessons, some of which I found somewhat sentimental, although all in all I quite liked them.

The story of the title (The Grey Woman), also the longest, is a formid

The Gray Woman short story was surprisingly gripping, about a woman falling into and escaping from an abusive relationship. This edition has versions of the short stories that have been "translated" into modern English. The originals are in appendixes.

The first story, "The Grey Woman" is a standout. Many of the other stories were pieces of their time and haven't remained contemporary. I wonder if when many of these stories were written when Gaskell was tired out from childbirth and not a her full writing prowess.

These lovely little stories, many of which are about children or young people, are more often than not morality tales. They often feature kindness and generosity in the face of great difficulty. The characters are well rounded and I enjoyed the description of life (usually of the lower classes) in V

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