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Wives and Daughters

Elizabeth Cleghorn Gaskell

Book Overview: 

Mrs. Gaskell, as she was often referred to, is considered one of the greatest British novelists. She was the author of The Life of Charlotte Brontë, a much-acclaimed and sometimes-reviled biography of her friend and peer.

Wives and Daughters revolves around Molly Gibson, only daughter of a widowed doctor living in a provincial English town.

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Book Excerpt: 
. . .You'll know better before you come to my age. And I suppose you've been taught music, and the use of the globes, and French, and all the usual accomplishments, since you have had a governess? I never heard of such nonsense!' she went on, lashing herself up. 'An only daughter! If there had been half-a-dozen girls, there might have been some sense in it.'

Molly did not speak but it was by a strong effort that she kept silence. Mrs. Kirkpatrick fondled her hand more perseveringly than ever, hoping thus to express a sufficient amount of sympathy to prevent her from saying anything injudicious. But the caress had become wearisome to Molly, and only irritated her nerves. She took her hand out of Mrs. Kirkpatrick's, with a slight manifestation of impatience.

It was, perhaps, fortunate for the general peace that just at this moment Mr. Gibson was announced. It is odd enough to see how the entrance of a person of the opposite sex into an. . . Read More

Community Reviews

I finished this 700 page book in less than four days, which of course means that by my rating system it's a five star, utterly compulsive read. But now having gulped the whole thing down I'm going back to re-read it at a more sedate, Victorian pace.

How could I not love a book that has lines like th

[4.5] I am so so sorry to leave the comfort of this marvelous novel. Over the last several days I have become enthralled with Molly Gibson and the fascinatingly flawed characters that surround her. Gaskell captures Molly's world brilliantly. I had hoped the book would carry me through Election Day b

Why has it taken me so long to finally read this wonderful novel? I bought the Penguin edition when I was in my 20s, read a page or two, put it down and didn't pick it up again. The book sat on my shelf for years. For all I know, it could be there still. However, after university I went right off Vi

To begin with the old rigmarole of childhood. In a country there was a shire, and in that shire there was a town, and in that town there was a house, and in that house there was a room, and in that room there was a bed, and in that bed there lay a little girl…
Wives and Daughters reads like a fai

Whilst Wives and Daughters isn't my favourite Elizabeth Gaskell, I loved the insight in to 19th century domestic life, especially the customs, relationships and descriptions of rural living.

Our heroine, Molly Gibson, is unassuming and quiet, yet has an inner steely determination and steadfast values

Wives and Daughters is Elizabeth Gaskell's final novel which was interrupted in its completion due to the untimely death of the author. However incomplete it may be to the end, I found the book to be a completed work with beautiful writing, an interesting set of characters, and a good storyline. At

[Review on second reading]
I have no words for how much I love this book and how thoroughly impressed I was on this reread. It is an incredible, beautiful, poignant, subtle novel, and an absolute must-read.
[Review on third reading]
I have to say this is fast becoming one of my absolute favourite novel

Do you like fairy tales? Well Gaskell certainly did:

"To begin with the old rigmarole of childhood. In a country there was a shire, and in that shire there was a town, and in that town there was a house, and in that house there was a room, and in that room there was a bed, and in that bed there lay a



This 1865 novel by Elizabeth Gaskell, who also wrote the lovely North and South, is a pleasant but rather leisurely and lengthy tale of the personalities that inhabit an English country town in about the 1830's. The novel centers around Molly Gibson, the quiet and somewhat passive, but deeply sensit

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