Jan 26, 2016
I've read everything by E. Gaskell and they're all great. She uses her interesting stories and well-drawn characters to point out social injustice of the time. I don't know why her books aren't as popular and common as Dickens!
Sep 8, 2013
This is a wonderfully entertaining period novel from a very skillful author. The characters are living, breathing people with emotional depth. Why this author or especially this work is not more known, I do not understand. To me, this is every bit as interesting as "Pride and Prejudice" and superior to some other popular works. However, Ms. Gaskell may be known for her "Cranford" and "North and South." But, for me, this is her best.
One of the central characters may now be my favorite male character in fiction, the doctor. I found the reading gentle, yet vital with its variety and cross section of rural English village life. However, they do have their aristocratic family frequently in residence to add some "tone." Much spice is provided by a central character's second wife, bringing along a coming-of-age daughter to the mix. Both add "adventure" and complication to the rather well settled household. Whether or not the father's own daughter is better served by this "oversight" for her life is open for conjecture. But this is not especially a woman's book as there are some very strong and definitive men in this work. Think of the surprising interest many a man has displayed by the 1995 film adaptation of "P&P" as well as the recent "Downton Abbey." They will like this one too.
Overall, there is a rich and well told tale encompassing wit and humor, joys and sorrows and characters who will become very real and some beloved. There are no all black or all white characters, but real people who have their mix of virtues and foibles, more true to life in general. I consider many of these characters to be in the classic vein, eligible for life reference as to their type as many of Dickens and Austen's characters have become.
If you have any interest in period, family, villagey type stories, you may find this one of much enjoyment and, for me, one to definitely own for re-reading. Book clubs would likely run overtime in its discussion. Highly recommend.