The Ladies of Grace Adieu and Other Stories
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating

The Ladies of Grace Adieu and Other Stories

3.82 of 5 stars 3.82  ·  rating details  ·  9,489 ratings  ·  867 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)
more details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about The Ladies of Grace Adieu and Other Stories, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about The Ladies of Grace Adieu and Other Stories

The Name of the Wind by Patrick RothfussHarry Potter and the Deathly Hallows by J.K. RowlingHarry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince by J.K. RowlingA Storm of Swords by George R.R. MartinHarry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix by J.K. Rowling
Best Fantasy Books of the 21st Century
96th out of 1,323 books — 4,769 voters
Hush, Hush by Becca FitzpatrickFallen by Lauren KateWicked Lovely by Melissa MarrTorment by Lauren KateTwilight by Stephenie Meyer
Judge Books By Their Covers
38th out of 747 books — 702 voters

More lists with this book...

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  rating details
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...more
Richard Reviles Censorship Always in All Ways
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...more
Jun 25, 2012 Richard rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  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...more
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...more

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...more
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...more
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...more
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
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...more
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
I'd forgotten exactly how wryly amusing Clarke's style can be. It's good to read her again.
As I've done before, I will rate each story as I read it.
4 stars for "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.
3 stars for "On Lickerish Hill" -- A quirky spin on the "Rumpelstiltskin" tale, in dialect...more
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...more
Jan 18, 2013 Judy rated it 5 of 5 stars
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,...more
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...more
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
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...more
Feb 12, 2008 Angela rated it 4 of 5 stars
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
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
David M.
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 5 of 5 stars  ·  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
usanna Clarke's Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell is one of my favourite books of all time, so as soon as I discovered that she had also written this collection of short stories set in the same world, I had to read it. Better four years late than never!

The stories in The Ladies of Grace Adieu are all set in a green, forested England where the boundary between magic and reality is very blurred. Before writing Jonathan Strange Clarke spent a lot of time researching English legends and folklore, and...more
While I have not read Susanna Clarke’s runaway bestselling novel, I found The Ladies of Grace Adieu and Other Stories to be not only an utterly charming collection but a rare and refreshing outbreak of old fashioned fantasy storytelling. The stories here are all, I believe, set between the 16th and 19th centuries and have a delicate and winsome tone that evokes the best of high Victorian narrative. And there is some similarity here to George MacDonald and Lord Dunsany at their most captivating....more
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...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...more
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
Feb 13, 2009 Terri rated it 4 of 5 stars
Shelves: 2009
This was a great collection of fairie tales in the old sense of the word- stories about the fey and their interference in human lives. The title story, The Ladies of Grace Adieu was probably my favorite. After reading Jonathon Strange and Mr. Norrell, I am fascinated by the Raven King. Many of these stories are set in the same world as Jonathon Strange. In fact, the book is tied together as a primer from that world on the Fair Folk. One of the stories is set in Neil Gaiman's town of Wall.

BJ Rose
Enjoyable compilation of stories about how the Fae Folk interact/interfere with humans, sometimes in a mischievous way and sometimes in a malicious manner. A few of the stories didn't do much for me, bringing the overall rating down to 3*, but several of them were very enjoyable 4* reads - especially the title story and the story about the Duke of Wellington and his horse, and I really enjoyed the story where the Raven King got his comeuppance at the hands of a charcoal burner!
I am always just currently reading this one no matter how many times I have picked it up. I just love it!
Penni Russon
Dec 21, 2010 Penni Russon rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: audible listeners, neil gaiman fans
Shelves: audible
Having not read Jonathon Strange and Mr Norrell (though it's been on my shelf for ages) I was a bit bemused by the first story and almost gave up. I loved the language and atmosphere, but found the characters hard to engage with and wasn't always entirely sure exactly what was going on.

However the next story, an evocative, whimsical and cheeky retelling of the English folk tale Tom Tit Tot, totally sucked me in and from then on I was completely hooked. The two readers worked well for me, they e...more
I am not entirely sure what to make of this short story collection. The stories expand upon some of the ideas in Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell, particularly the idea that faeries and faery magic go back a long way in England. Yet the only one that even directly references Strange or Norrell is the eponymous Ladies of Grace Adieu.

Looking at the pub dates, it seems these were the stories that Ms. Clarke wrote to cut her teeth and build her name while she was working on or shopping the big nove...more
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 99 100 next »
  • In the Forest of Forgetting
  • The Djinn in the Nightingale's Eye
  • We Never Talk about My Brother
  • Lud-in-the-Mist
  • The Faery Reel: Tales from the Twilight Realm
  • In the Cities of Coin and Spice (The Orphan's Tales, #2)
  • Burning Your Boats: The Collected Short Stories
  • Wonders of the Invisible World
  • Somewhere Beneath Those Waves
  • The Book of Ballads
  • Pretty Monsters: Stories
  • The King of Elfland's Daughter
  • Forbidden Journeys: Fairy Tales and Fantasies by Victorian Women Writers
  • Red Spikes
  • Saffron and Brimstone: Strange Stories
  • The Empire of Ice Cream
  • Looking for Jake
  • Thomas the Rhymer
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...
Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell, Jilid II Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell, Jilid I Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell, Jilid III Drawing Down the Moon: The Art of Charles Vess

Share This Book

“Magic, madam, is like wine and, if you are not used to it, it will make you drunk.” 31 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.” 22 likes
More quotes…