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The Ladies of Grace Adieu and Other Stories

3.85  ·  Rating Details ·  13,844 Ratings  ·  1,188 Reviews
From the author of the award-winning, internationally bestselling "Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell," an enchanting collection of stories. Set in versions of England that bear an uncanny resemblance to the world of Strange and Norrell, these stories are brimming with all the ingredients of good fairy tales: petulant princesses, vengeful owls, ladies who pass their time i ...more
ebook, 256 pages
Published December 6th 2008 by Bloomsbury Publishing PLC (first published January 1st 2006)
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Jessie Wittman It is lovely! It satiates a little the longing for more JS & MN. :) They're short stories, so you don't dig deeply into any characters, but the…moreIt is lovely! It satiates a little the longing for more JS & MN. :) They're short stories, so you don't dig deeply into any characters, but the wit and charm of Clarke's writing is there to enjoy. I think you should read it, it's short, so if you don't like it you won't be out by much!(less)
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Community Reviews

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J.G. Keely
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 Derus
Oct 09, 2011 Richard Derus rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Jo Woolfardis
“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.”

We delve in to 19th Century England, to made-up places that are eerily similar to those that existed then and do now. The stories are all magical; some involve human magic users (Jonathan Strange himself makes a nice appearance here) and some involve those mysterious members of the Other World. Some have morals, some have e
...more
Philip
3ish stars.

As with any collection of short stories, there are some brilliant pieces here and some duds. Since these stories are all more or less based in the same alternate history universe established in a previous book by the author, there are perhaps more specific expectations present than in other collections. For the most part, this book holds up under those expectations.

Susanna Clarke has achieved a supreme level mastery of language. Her prose is incredible. It doesn't feel like schtick,
...more
Richard
Sep 06, 2011 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
...more
Olivier Delaye
Jun 09, 2012 Olivier Delaye rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
In 2004 Susanna Clarke published a groundbreaking book called Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrel. Written in prose reminiscent of Jane Austen and Horace Walpole, it put a gothic-almost-romantic spin on the Fantasy genre that surprised and enthralled many, making it an instant bestseller with a cult following of readers who, to this day, simply cannot wait for the sequel. Knowing that it took nearly ten years for Clarke to write JS&N, it seems more than fair to assume that the wait for the said ...more
Bookdragon Sean
Well, Susanna Clarke hasn’t published anything for ten years so I’d better make this one last!
Aubrey
4.5/5

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
...more
Jonathan

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
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
...more
Mara
Mar 28, 2008 Mara rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
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
Paul
Mar 08, 2015 Paul rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
...more
Terry
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
Lena
Sep 08, 2008 Lena rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
...more
Lightreads
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
Kelly
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
Judy
Nov 30, 2011 Judy rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
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
Nicole
Jun 23, 2010 Nicole rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
...more
Sandi
May 31, 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
...more
Chris
Apr 29, 2009 Chris rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Wm
May 22, 2008 Wm rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Sam
This is an interesting collection of tales based on the world created within Clarke's Strange and Norrell novel. The title story is probably my favourite out of all of them as it seems to capture the real power and age of traditional magic and the strength of Clarke's female characters far better than some of the other stories (and makes fun of Strange and Norrell a little, which pleased me greatly). The other stories are quite engrossing but there is less magic and mystery about them, although ...more
Susan
Mar 08, 2008 Susan rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
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 fairies...by all means, reade on. Otherwise, throwe this ...more
Arun Divakar
Aug 29, 2016 Arun Divakar rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The notion that a fairy tale is only meant for an audience of children is naïve. While I was reading this book, an acquaintance with a great deal of (feigned) interest asked me what I was reading. When I replied that it was a collection of fairy tales, the look that accompanied the person’s response of ‘Oh’ could be translated as – ‘the poor sod, I guess a couple of screws are loose somewhere in his head’. Can’t blame him for this ! The stories by the Grimm brothers and Hans Christian Anderson h ...more
Javier Maldonado
Sep 30, 2013 Javier Maldonado rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Ben
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
Angela
Feb 12, 2008 Angela rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Bettie☯
Sep 17, 2008 Bettie☯ rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: everyone and their dog
Shelves: cover-love
Normally I erase audiobooks from my storage box as soon as I have listened - this will be staying put right where it is as I can envisage me listening at least once again. Susanna Clarke is a right good write ... and this collection is at times extremely funny
Alex
Jan 24, 2010 Alex rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
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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.” 51 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.” 32 likes
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