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The Ladies of Grace Adieu and Other Stories

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3.87  ·  Rating details ·  17,599 ratings  ·  1,546 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 world, w ...more
Hardcover, 235 pages
Published October 17th 2006 by Bloomsbury USA (first published October 31st 2004)
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Eladir If you go into it with a lot lower expectations than JS&MN then you probably won't get disappointed. It's true that JS and the Raven King are involved…moreIf you go into it with a lot lower expectations than JS&MN then you probably won't get disappointed. It's true that JS and the Raven King are involved in a short story each, you can also try out those two first and if you like them read the rest since there is chronological or other kind of connection.

In general I would recommend this short story collection to people who fill at least one of these criteria:
-loved the original novel (JS&MN)
-liked the world of the original novel
-like women point of views
-like the 1800s era in England

If you simply liked the original novel and aren't that much into English society and women POVs, chances are you'll be better off skipping it.(less)
Paul This is an entry in Susanna Clarke's short story collection The Ladies of Grace Adieu.
…more
This is an entry in Susanna Clarke's short story collection The Ladies of Grace Adieu.
(less)

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Jayson
(B+) 76% | Good
Notes: An antiquarian pastiche, it's nothing remarkable but like a ride in the countryside it's pleasant and has an airy charm.
...more
J.G. Keely
Jan 20, 2010 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
...more
Richard Derus
Oct 09, 2011 rated it really liked it
16 AUGUST 2020 UPDATE This title is, one day only, $1.99 on Kindle! If you own a Kindle, I urge you spend the money even if you've already read the book.

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,
...more
Joey 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
...more
Bradley
Sep 03, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2019-shelf, fantasy
Well now. After having successfully avoided reading Susanna Clarke's short fantasy collection for a decade and a half after having loved Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell, I finally guilted myself into picking up the damn book and giving it a go.

Why so trepidatious? Because I thought nothing could top JS & Mr. N. And indeed, this does NOT top JS & Mr. N. Rather, it deepens it.

I really shouldn't have worried. :) Clarke's beautiful language, great charm, and naughty Faries are all in evidence here. We
...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 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 pathos.
...more
7jane
Jul 11, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
These short stories are set in the world of her first novel, "Jonathan Strange And Mr Norrell", and if you have some trouble reading the novel (because of its size, or its pace, etc.), this might be another way to start with - it doesn't really spoil the novel's plot, though at least two of the persons from that book appear here, too. The art accompanying the stories is beautiful (and familiar to those who have read Gaiman's "Sandman" comic series) and works well with the stories.

From the start
...more
Olivier Delaye
Jun 09, 2012 rated it really liked it
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 sequel ...more
Jan Rice
Oct 06, 2013 rated it it was amazing

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 embr
...more
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 Terrington

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
Terry
Jan 12, 2012 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
...more
Lightreads
Dec 28, 2008 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
...more
Kelly
Jun 20, 2007 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
Paul
Mar 08, 2015 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 is a
...more
Lena
Sep 08, 2008 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
...more
Judy
Nov 30, 2011 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,
...more
Susan
Mar 08, 2008 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 fairies...by all means, reade on. Otherwise, throwe this ...more
Sonia
Jan 01, 2021 rated it it was amazing
This has to have 5* just because I can't imagine giving this author anything less. It doesn't satisfy in the same way Strange and Norrell does - but then that is a pretty substantial book. This is a delightful collection of stories in its own right. I love the title story - which takes place in the world of the novel and Strange himself makes an appearance - but there is something to love in each of the stories. I love the twists of perception, the gaps and the details.
Clarke's writing is charm
...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 Stra ...more
Sandi
May 31, 2008 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
Nicole
Jun 23, 2010 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 a bi
...more
Kaitlin
May 06, 2019 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
This certainly didn't change my opinion of this author, I wasn't a fan of Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell, but I also can't say that I'm a fan of these stories. Unfortunately the way this collection was pitched to me was that it focused more on the ladies and their role in magic, but I didn't feel like it was an accurate or particularly inspiring portrayal.
Personally I didn't enjoy the book for the most part. I definitely think some stories were far better than others, but overall it's not a b
...more
Oleksandr Zholud
This is a collection of short stories, set in the same universe as Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell, and having minor appearance of several characters, namely Strange, Wellington and the Raven King. The collection was published after the novel, but a large share of the stories was written before and if he novel is marvelous because we see a formed style in a debut work, the stories often show the search for the same style. Therefore overall ranking is 3* even if some stories are 4*

1 Introduction by
...more
Christine
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 the
...more
Arun Divakar
Aug 29, 2016 rated it really liked it
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
Candace
Jan 13, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I first read this shortly after finishing Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell, and I think I was a bit disappointed because I wasn't quite finished with those characters and I really wanted more on the grand and dramatic side. This time around I loved these stories a lot more, it was nice to go more domestic, gentle and in depth in the world created by Susanna Clarke, especially as I loved the amount of footnote asides in JS&MN. I'd expect that Clarke could probably write three or four more collecti ...more
Sam Quixote
Jul 29, 2011 rated it it was amazing
In this first collection of short stories, Susanna Clarke returns to the world she created in her first novel, the excellent "Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell", with more stories about the world of Faerie and England. Jonathan Strange visits his wife's brother in the town of Grace Adieu and discovers there three women who secretly practice magic and deal with any menaces that come to their town with strict severity. A re-telling of the folk tale "Tom Tit Tot" is the basis for "On Lickerish Hill" ...more
Wm
May 22, 2008 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
...more
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5,274 followers
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

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