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Old 01-03-2009, 09:15 PM   #1
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Gaskell, Elizabeth: Wives and Daughters, v.1, 4 January 2009.

Wives and Daughters: An Everyday Story (1866)
By Elizabeth Cleghorn Gaskell (1810–1865)

A long novel, c 273,000 words, but one of my favourites.

From Wikipedia:
“Wives and Daughters is a novel by Elizabeth Gaskell, first published in the Cornhill Magazine as a serial from August 1864 to January 1866. When Mrs Gaskell died suddenly in 1865, it was not quite complete, and the last section was written by Frederick Greenwood.
The story revolves around Molly Gibson, only daughter of a widowed doctor living in a provincial English town in the 1830s.
Molly's mother died many years earlier, and Molly has been raised by her father and servants. As the story opens, she goes to visit the Hamleys of Hamley Hall, a gentry family that purportedly dates from the Heptarchy, but is now somewhat poor. There she finds a mother substitute in Mrs. Hamley, who embraces her almost as a daughter. Molly also strikes up a shy friendship with the Hamley's younger son, Roger. Molly is aware that, as the daughter of a professional man, she would not be considered a suitably genteel match for either of squire Hamley's sons.
Meanwhile, Molly's father abruptly decides to remarry, less from inclination than from a perceived duty to provide teenage Molly with a chaperone and the blessings of a (step)mother's advice. The dutiful Molly has a stormy relationship with her social-climbing stepmother, but she immediately hits it off with her new stepsister, Cynthia, who is about the same age as Molly. The two girls are a study in contrasts: Cynthia is far more worldly, and more openly rebellious, than the naive and slightly awkward Molly. Cynthia has been educated in France, and it gradually becomes apparent that she hides secrets in her past.”
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