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The Ladies of Grace Adieu and Other Stories

3.84  ·  Rating Details  ·  12,588 Ratings  ·  1,099 Reviews
Following the enormous success of 2004 bestseller and critics' favorite "Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell, " Susanna Clarke delivers a delicious collection of ten stories set in the same fairy-crossed world of 19th-century England. With Clarke's characteristic historical detail and diction, these dark, enchanting tales unfold in a slightly distorted version of our own wor ...more
Hardcover, 235 pages
Published October 17th 2006 by Bloomsbury USA (first published January 1st 2006)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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J.G. Keely
Jan 14, 2012 J.G. Keely rated it it was amazing
How rare it is to find a book which is exactly what its author meant it to be. There are no missteps here, everything is deliberate, and much of it masterful. It is not surprising that, when he first read one of Clarke's short stories, Neil Gaiman remarked:

"It was terrifying from my point of view to read this first short story that had so much assurance ... It was like watching someone sit down to play the piano for the first time and she plays a sonata."

The English tradition of Fairy Stories is
Richard Derus
Apr 30, 2013 Richard Derus rated it really liked it
Rating: four very satisfied stars of five

The Publisher Says: Following the enormous success of 2004 bestseller and critics' favorite Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell, Susanna Clarke delivers a delicious collection of ten stories set in the same fairy-crossed world of 19th-century England. With Clarke's characteristic historical detail and diction, these dark, enchanting tales unfold in a slightly distorted version of our own world, where people are bedeviled by mischievous interventions from th
Apr 02, 2016 Richard rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Fans of Clarke. Reading JS&MN first is advisable
This is a collection of short stories by Susanna Clarke, author of Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell. She works the same territory as she did with the novel, and to quite brilliant effect. One or two of the stories are connected to the novel but others are not. One story is a tip of the hat to Neil Gaiman.

Her style and tone imitate those of the best nineteenth-century authors such as Jane Austen. The stories are dry, witty and humorous on the surface but capable of great depth, darkness and path
Bookworm Sean
Aug 19, 2015 Bookworm Sean is currently reading it
Well, Susanna Clarke hasn’t published anything for ten years so I’d better make this one last!

I'm not nearly as put off by short stories as I used to be, but when the author in question has only been experienced via massive tome of snail-slow story building and the most mincing of emotional turnabouts (thank you, England), my hopes were not high. Lucky for me, Clarke can not only deliver her wit and world immersion in more minute packaging, but knows how to successfully explore her strengths. Of course, it's all very polite and English and even Ye Olde in parts, but that particular

In recent years I have discovered the wonder of the short story through the genius of writers such as Chekhov, Lovecraft and Poe. In turn I have also discovered the satisfaction that arises from writing a short story that works as fiction. To complement this I have also in the past year discovered the wonder of one of the great fantasy works I have ever read in Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell.* In The Ladies of Grace Adieu Susanna Clarke combines both of these two separate entities which I have
Jun 30, 2014 Mara rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites, owned
Any and every negative review I've ever read for the brilliant novel Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell has placed emphasis on the weightiness and long-winded nature of the book. The prose is brilliant, the premise enchanting, but it is an 800 page novel that takes the long way 'round the story of two of the greatest magicians of the age seeking to bring back magic to England during the Napoleonic war.

This collection of short stories takes us back to that world, where Faerie is very real and prop
Jan Rice

I read Susanna Clarke's novel Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell back in 2005. It is long. I had the audio version from the library; I used to listen an hour or more a day during a long commute, yet I had exhausted all allowed renewals and still wasn't done. So I became a scofflaw, until they were about to send out the cavalry to get their book back.

She is a magical writer. She is embedded in some other reality in her writing, the reality of some earlier mindset that we still recognize when she
Jan 24, 2012 Terry rated it really liked it
3.5 stars

I have to admit that I found the first four stories in this collection only fair-to-middling, though the title tale had some nice moments of understated menace. From the point of "Mr. Simonelli, or the Fairy Widower" on, however, I was fully on-board and greatly enjoyed the rest of the collection.

Simonelli is a great character, equal parts self-aggrandizing rogue (for, we learn, obvious cultural reasons) and concerned pastor of his flock. I'd love to see more of his reminiscences in a l
Sep 08, 2008 Lena rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction
This collection of short stories by the author of Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell serves as an introduction to the world of magic and faeries in England. The friend who lent it to me referred to it as "starter Susanna Clarke." In that respect, the book was very successful—I took enough pleasure in these tales enough to move Clarke's formidable 1000-page novel to the top of my to-read list.

The title story purports to elaborate on an enigmatic action undertaken by Mr. Strange in Clarke's larger w
Dec 18, 2015 Paul rated it liked it
Shelves: books-read-2015
Set in the same world of Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell, this is a collection of short stories. The introduction to the volume by the character Professor James Sutherland considers who wrote them and of the current state of magic within Great Britain, and just how much the faerie world can influence the regular world.

There are a number of different stories in here, from the tale called On Lickerish Hill, where a lady resorts to magic to spin enough flax to satisfy her husbands demands. There
Dec 28, 2008 Lightreads rated it it was ok
A collection from the author of Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell, cast in a similar scholarly tone, but focused much more specifically on the fairies.

. . . Meh.

Most of these stories are in the world of Jonathan Strange (who himself makes an appearance in the titular story). I liked the novel all right, though it didn’t blow my mind or anything. But the style which is bemusing and engrossing over six hundred pages is remote and rather inaccessible in short form. Clarke’s fairies are also univers
Feb 08, 2008 Kelly rated it really liked it
This is a perfectly charming set of fairy tales done by the writer of Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell. It is impeccably written, I'd almost say flawlessly, to produce the appropriate tone for the various stories and their status as fairy tales. One of the tales, On Lickerish Hill (a retelling of Rumpelstilskin) for example, is written in archaic 18th century style English, which is a lovely touch. I would read these to kids, if I had any to read to, my only reservation being that the writing is ...more
Jan 18, 2013 Judy rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Clarke fans
Recommended to Judy by: Sue
The The Ladies of Grace Adieu and Other Stories
bow and bid you, "How do you do?"
Grabbing Jonathan Strange by the collar,
head up Lickerish Hill to spend a dollar.

Oh, but you say, the English spend pounds
and not dollars, Its all in the sounds
I reply, Besides, a dollar, a pound, a denarii
is all the same in the wily, Mrs. Mabb's eye.

Its more Antickes and Frets than John Uskglass
and the Cumbrian Charcoal Burner
could let pass.
But let bygones be bygones because I do spy
Mr. Simonelli, so don't be shy,
Mar 07, 2016 Nicole rated it really liked it
I'd forgotten exactly how wryly amusing Clarke's style can be. It's good to read her again, this time in short story form.
"The Ladies of Grace Adieu" -- A companion piece to Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell, featuring Jonathan and Arabella Strange, but only tangentially about them. This is sly and a little creepy; a subtle tale of female revenge and male cruelty/fear.
"On Lickerish Hill" -- A quirky spin on the "Rumpelstiltskin" tale, in dialect with 17th century spelling (which, at first, was
Evan Leach
Like many readers, I was blown away by Susanna Clarke’s debut novel, Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell, which won both the Hugo and the World Fantasy Award upon its publication in 2005. I was a bit late to the party, not getting to Jonathan Strange until 2013, but within 24 hours of finishing it I was on my way to the library to pick up this short story collection, Clarke’s only other published work. The Ladies of Grace Adieu is a collection of eight stories set in the same universe as Jonathan ...more
Aug 21, 2008 Sandi rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2008, fantasy
One of the many things I enjoyed about Susanna Clarke’s debut novel, “Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell” was the footnotes that would go on at length telling some strange tale about fairies or magic. They were short stories set apart from the main story, but important to the world of the novel nonetheless. “The Ladies of Grace Adieu” is a collection of short stories similar in spirit to the footnotes in “Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell”.

Susanna Clarke’s ability to write in period style is quite
When I read Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell, I formed the impression that Susanna Clarke wrote in the style of Trollope. After reading this collection of short stories, I've changed my mind. She's closer to Austen. There is only one wrong story, "On Lickerish Hill", a retelling of a British version of "Rapunzel".

In general, the stories add to the world that Clarke created in Strange. My favorite by far is "Mrs Mabb". It is the best story in the collection. "Mrs Mabb" about a woman who rescues
May 23, 2008 Wm rated it it was amazing
Surely Susanna Clarke was destined to be a one-note wonder, right? The wonderful Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell was the one good book she had in her, and it was clear that she'd spend decades fretting over and not working on her next novel and never get around to completing complete it.

Because otherwise, it's just not fair.

Or at the very least, there's no way she could be good at the short form. It'd totally trip her up, yeah? I mean her novel unspooled so slowly and there were all those frea
Oct 30, 2008 Susan rated it did not like it
As I was reading this while waiting for brakework on my car to be completed, I really couldn't start bashing my brains in with the hardback first edition in front of other sensitive types. Yes I was upset, and yes I kept looking down at my krispy kremes wondering if I should power through them early in an attack of emotional eating. If you want to read a terrible, simply hideous, attempt at pastiche of phaeries, pharisees, faeries and more all means, reade on. Otherwise, throwe this ...more
Javier Maldonado
May 19, 2016 Javier Maldonado rated it really liked it
Susanna Clarke, por extraño que parezca, solo ha publicado dos libros: Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrel (2004) y, el que reseño a continuación, The Ladies of Grace Adieu and other stories (2006). Y digo extraño porque tras leer una novela tan magníficamente construida como la opera prima de Clarke, uno esperaría, no sé, que la autora hubiera seguido publicando regularmente. O, mejor dicho, uno desearía que hubiera seguido publicando regularmente. Pero cuando comencé a buscar otros libros de Clarke ...more
To be honest, I was pretty disappointed with this book. Clarke's novel, Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell, was fantastic. This collection of stories, on the other hand, was a bit silly, fairly boring, and generally not at all entertaining in the way that the novel was. A few of the stories, especially towards the end, captured that same flair for wit, humor, and imaginative world-building. The rest were, sadly, just plain boring. And while I love the conceit she has in both works of them being pre ...more
Feb 12, 2008 Angela rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Brad Hart
Recommended to Angela by: Garrett Forsgren
Before cozying down with this book it would help the reader to know a little about british folk lore. In particular that fairies where not thought to be tiny winged creatures who flew around granting the wishes and whims of humans. They were thought to be immortal creatures who resembled humans and interfered in the lives of mortals more as entertainment for themselves. However they where believed to have a ting of respect for the human who was magically inclined and could be of help to mortals ...more
Feb 02, 2010 Alex rated it liked it
Shelves: fantasy
It was pretty difficult to tone down my expectations for this book after reading Clarke's staggeringly brilliant Jonathan Strange and Mr.Norrel, yet given that this is a collection of short stories, some of which were written 5 or more years before Norrel was published and Clarke was still learning her writing craft it's no surprise that there's much less of a sense of precision and polish to these stories. Furthermore, given that much of the novel's success was it's ability to pull you in and i ...more
Emma Deplores Goodreads Censorship
Having been disappointed with most of what I’d been reading lately, I decided to read this book even though I’m not a short story fan, because I thought Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell was an absolutely brilliant book. And I was in the mood for something I knew would be good.

And it was good. These eight short stories, set in the same imagined England as Clarke’s novel, share much of its atmosphere and wit. As is to be expected, they’re also very well-written, in the same sort of nineteenth-centu
Nov 23, 2014 Mosca rated it really liked it
Recommended to Mosca by: Aubrey and Susanna Clarke
It seems likely that the author must have struggled some time to decide whether to place the title short story into the already voluminous body of her novel "Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrel". It is an enchantingly sarcastic farce that is tightly linked to much of the presumptions inherent to that original novel. But by keeping it a separate short story, she can draw attention to it and honor it with a book title all its own. It is possible that this was her inten
David M.
Nov 30, 2011 David M. rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ebooks
In a way, that "The Ladies of Grace Adieu and Other Stories" is not a mere collection of short stories, but a companion piece to Clarke's much superior "Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norell", makes its shortcomings much more appreciable. It reminds the reader of that wonderful, first book; the book is as funny as its predecessor (perhaps more so, but then, I probably didn't get all the jokes the first time round). The title story serves as a lost chapter to the book, but does offer a significantly di ...more
Oct 29, 2011 Risa rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: anyone who loves fantasy, history, literary fiction, Jane Austen and fantastic writing
The last time I felt this way was when I read Gone With the Wind, and now, as I turned the final pages of The Ladies of Grace Adieu and other stories - sheer disappointment that there was no more to read. I've had such a lovely five days exploring and re-exploring, in some cases, the magical world that Susanna Clarke has built. For those of you who are unaware of this author, she made a debut a few years ago with her faerie novel, Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell. It is set in Regency England w ...more
Feb 02, 2010 Tom rated it it was amazing
A marvelous collection of little gems.
A collection of short stories set in the Regency times of her bestselling Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norell. Little tales of wonder, intrigue, Faerie, the Fey, the Raven King and, of course, England.
Reminds somewhat of Neil Gaiman (especially Stardust - no wonder here, though, Susan Clarke is, if I recall correctly, a friend of Mr. Gaiman), but all of the wondrous tales therein are quite astounding, if a little disturbing. The voice and style of the writing
May 10, 2009 Katri rated it really liked it
Shelves: fantasy
I loved this collection of short stories from the world of Jonathan Strange & Mister Norrell. They're charmingly written and as full of that special atmosphere as the novel Strange & Norrell, but much more easy to read, being short stories instead of a thousand-page novel. Lately I've had trouble reading much because my brain and concentration seem to be so taxed by stress and work, but this book totally salvaged it, because the stories were easy enough to read, being so short, and so en ...more
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Susanna Clarke was born in Nottingham in 1959. A nomadic childhood was spent in towns in Northern England and Scotland. She was educated at St Hilda's College, Oxford, and has worked in various areas of non-fiction publishing, including Gordon Fraser and Quarto. In 1990, she left London and went to Turin to teach English to stressed-out executives of the Fiat motor company. The following year she ...more
More about Susanna Clarke...

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“Magic, madam, is like wine and, if you are not used to it, it will make you drunk.” 46 likes
“The governess was not much liked in the village. She was too tall, too fond of books, too grave, and, a curious thing, never smiled unless there was something to smile at.” 30 likes
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