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Once Upon A Bookshelf

Where Fiction and Reality Meet

Wives and Daughters

Author: Elizabeth Gaskell
Originally Published: 1865
Edition Courtney Read Published: 2004
Publisher: Penguin
Source: Library

Wives and DaughtersThis is one of those books where, after finishing it, I did absolutely nothing but just SIT there with a warm and fuzzy feeling in my stomach, a smile on my face and the occasional happy sigh escaping – which is entirely not good at 2 in the morning.

Wives and Daughters was the book Elizabeth Gaskell was in the middle of writing when she passed away. It takes place in Hollingford, a country town in England in the 19th century. Molly Gibson is the county doctor’s daughter. Things get rolling when one of Mr. Gibson’s apprentices falls in love with Molly – she’s sent away for a while to visit the Hamleys, and Mr. Gibson decides that it’s in both his and his daughter’s best interest for him to get married again. Along with a new mother for Molly comes a step-sister, Cynthia, who at times I want to strangle, and at other times absolutely adore.

This is such a sweet and touching book. But, ah I so wish it had been finished! Even though there is a little blurb at the end of the book saying how Gaskell was planning on finishing the book, I don’t feel like I have closure, whereas I get that when I watch the miniseries. I want to read about Roger and Molly after Roger comes back from Africa! Alas! Plus, I’m coming to believe that the best thing about watching a miniseries before reading the book is the fact that I don’t get angry at certain characters when it looks like they’re going to get in the way of the certain happy ending that I want to happen. And that really makes me enjoy the book more. (I definitely get way too emotionally involved with characters in books.)

On a side note, Roger Hamley has entered the same category as Col. Brandon, Mr. Darcy and Kenneth Ford in my mind – he’ll be one of those men that I will love with undying affection, and so on and so forth. So charming is he.

Posted by Courtney Wilson @ 10:57 pm March 26, 2006.
Category: Classics
Book Author(s):

  • rachel

    Wives and Daughters is a splendid book. I first read it in high school and it entered North and South territory for me. I concur that Roger Hamley is a delight ( even more so when rendered so well by Anthony Howell in the BBC version ). I am glad that how it is supposed to end is so safely established. Sometimes, as in Charlotte Bronte’s unfinished ” Emma “