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Wives and Daughters

4.07  ·  Rating details ·  34,586 Ratings  ·  1,846 Reviews
Wives and Daughters is Gaskell's last, and unfinished novel, thought by many to be her masterpiece. Gaskell died before the final episode of the novel had been written. Her editor, Frederic Greenwood, using all the indications she had left for its ending, completed the last few pages for her, and these are reprinted here.
Paperback, 740 pages
Published March 13th 2003 by Oxford University Press, USA (first published 1866)
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Dahszil Dahszil Not at all imho. Turgenev's Father's and Son's is a combination psychological, family drama, political, social reform, historical, ironic love story,…moreNot at all imho. Turgenev's Father's and Son's is a combination psychological, family drama, political, social reform, historical, ironic love story, etc novel. It covers a great sweep of topics in that time in Russia under King Alexander "the liberator"(liberated peasants from being property) even though it is a shorter read than Gaskell's Wives and Daughters(less)

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Tadiana ✩Night Owl☽
This 1865 novel by Elizabeth Gaskell, who also wrote the lovely North and South, is a pleasant but rather leisurely and lengthy tale of the personalities that inhabit an English country town in about the 1830's. The novel centers around Molly Gibson, the quiet and somewhat passive, but deeply sensitive, daughter of a widowed country doctor.

We meet Molly and her father when she's an innocent 12 year old girl, about to spend the day visiting the estate of the local gentry, Lord and Lady Cumnor, s
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B0nnie
Apr 10, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favourite-books
To begin with the old rigmarole of childhood. In a country there was a shire, and in that shire there was a town, and in that town there was a house, and in that house there was a room, and in that room there was a bed, and in that bed there lay a little girl…

Wives and Daughters reads like a fairytale and we are immediately enchanted by its gentle charm. Stepmother, prince, villain, woods, a ball, castle, climbing roses, birds and beasts. It's all there.

However, the stepmother is not evil -
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Bookdragon Sean
Do you like fairy tales? Well Gaskell certainly did:

"To begin with the old rigmarole of childhood. In a country there was a shire, and in that shire there was a town, and in that town there was a house, and in that house there was a room, and in that room there was a bed, and in that bed there lay a little girl; wide awake and longing to get up, but not daring to do so for fear of the unseen power in the next room - a certain Betty, whose slumbers must not be disturbed until six o'clock struck,
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Kim
Apr 30, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

Why has it taken me so long to finally read this wonderful novel? I bought the Penguin edition when I was in my 20s, read a page or two, put it down and didn't pick it up again. The book sat on my shelf for years. For all I know, it could be there still. However, after university I went right off Victorian literature and it's only been in the last twelve months or so that I've felt the desire to tackle it again. And now I've fallen in love with Elizabeth Gaskell's writing.

In brief, the novel is
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Olive (abookolive)
MY HEART HURTS

WHY DID THIS BOOK HAVE TO END
Sherwood Smith
My Jane Austen book group is reading this book, a great excuse for a reread, as it is one of my favorites of all time.

On this reread, I noticed how much fun the narrative voice has with small town life whatever the rank. There is so much humor veining the sharp observations of human vagaries, underscoring how much Gaskell's writing had changed.

She always aimed for great things, though her earlier novels (and Dickens scolded her for daring to write beyond the female writer's "natural" sphere of
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Lori
Sep 08, 2008 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Austen fans
Shelves: 2008, fiction
Oh. MY. WORD.

This is, in every sense of the phrase, the never-ending story.

I had been wanting to see the BBC's film version of this book for years, but never got around to it. In a story too complicated to explain, I was not able to get the video, so decided I'd try to read the book instead.

The book is 60 chapters long. SIXTY. 650 pages. The first two slow chapters made me return the book to the library. But the story kept nagging at me, so a few months later, I tried again. The story definitely
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Hana


I finished this 700 page book in less than four days, which of course means that by my rating system it's a five star, utterly compulsive read. But now having gulped the whole thing down I'm going back to re-read it at a more sedate, Victorian pace.

How could I not love a book that has lines like these:

“I won't say she was silly, but I think one of us was silly, and it wasn't me!”

“All sorts of thoughts cross one's mind—it depends upon whether one gives them harbour and encouragement”

“Sometime
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helen the bookowl
Jul 27, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
4.5/5 stars.
This book was really really good! I even think it was better than "North & South" by the same author, which seems to be a lot of people's favourite.
What I love the most about this story is the characters which are so distinct and different from each other, but all yet so lovable. I loved how Elizabeth Gaskell has created such a variety of characters that you can't help but love, even though some of them are definitely meant to be annoying and impertinent (a new word that I lear
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April (Aprilius Maximus)
At the moment this is sitting at a 3.5 stars from me. I definitely enjoyed it, but I didn't LOVE it, and there's the fact that this book isn't complete which is hella rude. How dare Elizabeth Gaskell die before finishing this book?!
Aaaaaanyway, I LOVED Roger, Mr Gibson & Squire Hamley and absolutely hATED Cynthia and her mother. They were unbelievably annoying.
I highly recommend watching the BBC mini series adaptation because the ending is delightful and it's a wonderful adaptation!
Jessica
Wow. How did I not know about this book sooner? In fact, let's all pause to ponder why authors like the Brontes and Austen get so much love, so much fan fiction . . . where is the Gaskell Society? I mean, here is a mother not unlike Mrs. Bennet, just one step away from having "nerves" and "flutterings" and all the while deeply concerned with . . . well, herself . . . to the point where what her daughters do only matters in how it is an advantage to her. Here is a daughter who doesn't honestly ca ...more
Jane
Mar 08, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Where I got the book: free on the Kindle. Although I think I should pick up an annotated edition one of these days.

It's not often I finish a book with a big smile on my face, despite the teasing ending (which had me seriously worried that my free Kindle version had something missing, but then I decided it was entirely consistent with the story). Update: Thanks to more informed friends, I now know that Mrs. Gaskell died before finishing the book, which is the biggest bummer I can possibly think o
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Wealhtheow
Feb 10, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: historical
Molly Gibson is a kind-hearted, intelligent, sensitive girl who is thrown into society when her father, the equally sensible but far more sarcastic Mr.Gibson, marries. His new wife is flighty, hypocritical, and manipulative, but all in such a soft, pliant way that it is difficult to oppose her. With her comes her daughter Cynthia Fitzpatrick, who is Molly's own age but beautiful where Molly is pretty, and socially brilliant where Molly is genuine. Cynthia and Molly immediately become best friend ...more
Lubinka Dimitrova
I was just about to give it three stars, but in the end, I decided it does deserve more. Yes, I read more than 700 pages of sweet little nothings, but eventually the characters grew on me, and I could not help but admire Elizabeth Gaskell's ability to present even the most annoying personages as quite likable people. I suppose now I'll have to read North and South.
Sara
Mar 25, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Anyone who likes the Brontes
Set in the 1830’s, at a time when society was in flux, but the separations between the gentry and the commoner still tightly drawn, Wives and Daughters is a captivating glimpse into the lives of two girls, thrown into a blended family. Our main heroine, Molly Gibson, is a simple and honest girl, brought up by her father, a physician, and raised without the influence of a mother. Upon her father’s remarriage, she is introduced not only to the restrictiveness of a shallow and grating step-mother b ...more
Jane
Sep 30, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Towards the end of last year I spent many happy hours visiting a world so perfectly realised that it still lifts my heart when I think of it. I stepped into the middle of the 1830s, into the English countryside that Mrs Gaskell knew so well, I met people who were so real, fallible, interesting, and I became caught up in their lives and their stories.

At the centre of it all was Molly Gibson, the only child of a widowed doctor. The apple of his eye.

In a lovely prologue she was twelve years old and
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Laura
What a darling book. I loved it. This story takes place during the late 1820's early 1830's, in an English, country, town. It read very easy, was engaging, sprinkled with beautiful descriptions of the era and natural settings, and the characters were so endearing that I was actually moved to tears during parts of the book. I can't help but to compare this novel as a cross between two of my favorite authors, Jane Austen and Jan Karon. Perfect. I would
highly recommend this novel to readers who adm
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RavenclawReadingRoom
18/2/2017
Okay, so here's the thing. I've been reading and rereading this book since 2001. That is a long ass time. So that fifth star up there? Yeah, that is one hundred percent nostalgia talking. Sorry, Kirsti from 2014. It's got a fifth star now.

I love the story. I love the characters. I love the writing. I love all of the things. (Except for the part where Gaskell died before finishing the story, but whatever. I'm used to it now...)

23/1/2014
4 stars. I first came across this story through the
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Cissy
Feb 04, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is my new favorite. Written by a lesser-known British author in the mid-1800s, this novel would be enjoyed by Austen and Dickens fans. It is very long--more than 600 pages in small print--but the characters are wonderfully detailed and the story very compelling. It is not a difficult read, but I do recommend getting a version that has notes explaining period references. I loved the sweetness of the main character, Molly Gibson, and all the different relationships between her and the other c ...more
Mark my words
Apr 17, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
SPOILER ALERT!! Wives and Daughters has both wives in the tale and daughters. Yes, I was surprised too, to be sure.

I have to say, and it pains me to do so, I prefered the BBC adaptation. Though that may have had something to do with the comely Justine Waddell. Then again I prefered the BBC adaptation of one of Mrs Gaskell's other novels, Cranford, as well. Maybe she should have been a screenwriter; had such a job existed back in the 19th century.

Instead of sitting down with a cup of tea and a ch
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SarahC
This novel achieves much and thoughts of it do not leave the mind quickly. Gaskell captures both the human experience and the beautiful settings of mid-19th-century English country life. You will be drawn into this world as she introduces the lives of the common folk of Hollingford and those who hold distinction either by title or by ancient stewardship of the land. Regardless of rank, Gaskell’s characters face essentially human situations.

Our heroine, young Molly Gibson, on the brink of adultho
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Mira
Wives and Daughters is Elizabeth Gaskell at her finest. Written in the year preceding her death, the novel unfortunately never got finished. However, it is amazingly enjoyable, and makes one of the best love stories, as well as an excellent social commentary.

Little Molly Gibson, who lives with her widowed father, suddenly has the opportunity to see her world changing, when she is invited for a stay with the Hamleys, while her father is busy elsewhere getting married. In Molly, we have an endear
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QNPoohBear
It's impossible to summarize the plot of this book. It's not quite a romance and it doesn't have the grand political statement of North and South but it does have some romance, some drama, some comedy and the backdrop of the idyllic English countryside. Sue Birdwhistle, the producer of the mini series sums up the story well : "[It's about] where love comes from, how it grows, how it can break our hearts, how it can bring happiness and fulfillment. It's about the mistakes we make and the secrets ...more
Marquise
Gaskell's second highest-rated novel turned out to be a placid and slow-paced book with a rather unremarkable storyline. What stood out was how good is the characterisation of the protagonist Molly, a girl less complicated in mindset and behaviour than her more complex sister Cynthia, written in a way that fits the bildungsroman structure of the novel, which is otherwise not that memorable.

I was a bit sorry that this was left unfinished upon Gaskell’s sudden death, yet it didn’t really feel like
...more
Magrat Ajostiernos
¡Me ha gustado muchísimo! Tanto como para convertirse en mi libro preferido de la Gaskell junto con 'Norte y Sur'.
Si conocéis los libros de la autora, diría que esta obra tiene lo mejor de 'Cranford' con lo mejor de 'Norte y Sur', todo junto. Y se nota muchísimo la madurez de la autora en su maravillosa manera de escribir.
En fin, otra novela que pasa a mi sección de predilectos :)
Grissel
Jun 21, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: classics
Advertencia: Este libro no cuenta con un Sr. Thornton o nada que se le parezca... ni un Sr. Darcy, Sr. Rochester, Sr. Knightley, Capitán Wentworth, no, nada parecido.

Me ha gustado mucho, no tanto como Norte y Sur, pero al igual que Norte y Sur se sale un poco de lo convencional en este tipo de novelas.

La historia sigue a la familia Gibson sobre todo a Molly, huérfana de madre, que al llegar a una edad en que se empiezan a acercar pretendientes, su padre decide casarse y dar una figura materna a
...more
Katie
Jun 29, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: girl-stuff, british, novel
I read this wonderful book voraciously, on trains and planes, by pools and mountains, while drinking tea and cocktails, and I did not know until the moment it ended that it does not have a last chapter. I am dead now.
Candi
Sep 27, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
What a delightful story about one of the most angelic heroines I have ever encountered! Molly Gibson, daughter of a widowed country doctor, is pure, innocent, and trustworthy. When her father re-marries, Molly finds her tranquil, somewhat laid-back style of life with Mr. Gibson to be transformed by the addition of a more experienced and captivating stepsister, Cynthia, and a shallow, self-indulgent stepmother.

Molly forms a close bond with Cynthia and a respectful yet wary relationship with the
...more
Sarah
Nov 24, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

Reading this book is like finding an undiscovered treasure. It's a slow simmering concotion of 19th-century social observation, and has none of the gritty class and labor issues Gaskell was so passionate about in books like North and South and Mary Barton. But it also lacks those stories' high-Victorian melodrama and shows an artist truly reaching the height of her powers. Don't let the basic contours of the story fool you; as the excellent, excellent Penguin Classic introduction points out, the
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Captain Sir Roddy, R.N. (Ret.)
As trite as it sounds, if you like Jane Austen, you'll love this Wives and Daughters! A terrific plot and fascinating characters. Gaskell really does a wonderful job of portraying life and love among the country folk in provincial England. There's a touch of mystery and villainy, and a good bit of humor too; and one can't but fall head-over-heels in love with little Molly Gibson, the novel's main protagonist. I strongly recommend this book, and Gaskell as an author.

She also wrote a biography of
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« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
  • He Knew He Was Right
  • Miss Marjoribanks (Chronicles of Carlingford, #5)
  • No Name
  • Belinda
  • Daniel Deronda
  • The Doctor's Wife
  • Little Dorrit
  • The Wanderer: or, Female Difficulties
  • The Odd Women
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Elizabeth Cleghorn Gaskell, née Stevenson (29 September 1810 – 12 November 1865), often referred to simply as Mrs. Gaskell, was an English novelist and short story writer during the Victorian era. She is perhaps best known for her biography of Charlotte Brontë. Her novels offer a detailed portrait of the lives of many strata of society, including the very poor, and as such are of interest to socia ...more
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“Sometimes one likes foolish people for their folly, better than wise people for their wisdom.” 1613 likes
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