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The Moorland Cottage

3.70  ·  Rating details ·  1,071 ratings  ·  180 reviews
Maggie Browne, the daughter of a deceased clergyman, is encouraged to give up her own life and passions and devote herself to her brother Edward. Through the example and guidance of her mother—who dotes on Edward constantly—and her mentor, Mrs. Buxton, Maggie learns that self-sacrifice is the key to living a fulfilled life. The precursor to and arguably the template for Ge ...more
Paperback, 143 pages
Published February 1st 2011 by Hesperus Press (first published 1850)
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Average rating 3.70  · 
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 ·  1,071 ratings  ·  180 reviews

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Katie Lumsden
May 29, 2017 rated it really liked it
A great novella - thoroughly engaging, with well built characters and a very interesting sibling relationship. Maggie is a fascinating character and the conflict between her duty to herself and her duty to her family is wonderfully explored.
Oct 07, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Prior to coming upon this book recently, I had thought I had read all Elizabeth Gaskell’s novels and most of her short stories years ago, I re-read Cranford two years ago and loved it all over again. I was therefore both surprised and delighted to come across this short novel which I hadn’t either read or heard of. What a treat!
“If you take the turn to the left, after you pass the lyke-gate at Combehurst Church, you will come to the wooden bridge over the brook; keep along the field path, which
A nice novella with a slow start and suddenly an action-filled ending. Honestly I was suprised about the ending but the moral of the tale is probably right. Everyone gets what he deserves.

Victober 2020: Read a new to you book and/or short story by a favourite Victorian author.
Jun 07, 2014 rated it liked it
Shelves: audio-book, classic, 2014
Although short, this book brings up a difficult question (one that perturbs our modern-day American culture of individualism in a way that it probably would not in other cultures and times), how much do our family members reflect upon us, and we upon them - and how much are we to sacrifice of our own needs for theirs? It's easy to dismiss Maggie as meek and spineless - but I don't know that that's true.
Kailey (BooksforMKs)
Oct 14, 2019 rated it really liked it
Maggie endures with patience the selfishness of her mother and brother, and finds friendship with the invalid wife of their rich neighbor, Mr. Buxton. The two families' destinies become dangerously linked when Maggie's brother goes astray, and Mr. Buxton demands a high price for saving him.

I loved Maggie's strong character! She has a quiet and meek personality, but wonderfully fierce in her defense of the truth. I really loved her character development as she strives to make good decisions for h
Oct 13, 2019 rated it really liked it
A story of two siblings - one more favoured by their mother than the other. Most of this short novel is quite slow, taking its time setting up the premise but the fast-paced unexpected ending more than made up for it for me.
Dec 19, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: kindle
Engaging moral tale with a melodramatic resolution.
Sep 01, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, ebook
This was a great classic. I enjoyed the characters, rooted for Maggie and Frank, despised the unloving mother, and was torn over what to think of Edward. The imagery in the book is beautiful-you feel like you are there in the cottage, at the thorn tree with Maggie and feel the wind off the moor. Someday maybe I'll really get to experience the moors for myself! A triumphant feel good story. I give it 4 stars.
Brian Fagan
Sep 17, 2020 rated it liked it
Do you often feel that plot is secondary in importance to style? I believe that readers who stay in certain genres feel that way. Elements of style are the common thread of writers within a genre. When we read outside our favored genres and come away disappointed, what we feel is generally not disdain for a particular story, but a lack of connection with the conventions of the genre. And so with our tastes in the visual arts and music. If we prefer Renaissance painting and go to a cubism exhibit ...more
Jul 13, 2018 rated it really liked it
I love this author. This novella is not fully developed but still a good read by a great author.
Not as well-known as Gaskell's other works and rightly so. I found the first half extremely tedious as not much happens and the qualities of the characters are repeated endlessly: Maggie is good and unselfish and pure and steadfast and patient and...honestly? I really hated Maggie in the first half, and kept wishing she would grow a spine. The second half wasn't as bad because stuff happened but the plot is melodramatic and none of the characters undergo any significant development.

If you're go
Feb 24, 2018 rated it liked it
A sweet little story. I was afraid for a bit there that it wouldn't have a happy ending, and I guess it wasn't an undiluted happiness, but it was a good ending.

Definitely a Victorian moral tale, and the characters were very one-dimensionally good or bad (except maybe Mr. Buxton, who was a little more complex). It was also fairly unbelievable on many levels.

But still, it was a sweet story.
~ Cheryl ~

So, what keeps happening is, every time I start one of Gaskell’s novellas, I just get sucked in. And even though I imagine that I am “between books” and that “don’t know what to read next,” I suddenly find myself at 10% on my Kindle, and grinning contentedly. Truly, I have found ALL of Gaskell’s novellas to have been powerfully evocative, yet she has such a light touch. This is one reason why I find her such a pleasure to read.

This book tells the story of a widowed woman and her two children li
John Peel
Feb 14, 2018 rated it liked it
Mrs. Gaskell is firmly of the 19th Century, but she created some fine tales. This is one of her lesser works, the story of two families bound together by friendship and, inevitably, love. The pace is slow, but the characters are interesting. The story is enjoyable, but it reads like it was meant to be a longer work and the author's enthusiasm simply ran out.
Apr 16, 2015 rated it really liked it
Sweet little "Cinderella" story by a great author. It was short and simple and preachy and melodramatic, but I enjoyed it!


"Thus every hour in its circle brought a duty to be fulfilled; but duties fulfilled are as pleasures to the memory, and little Maggie always thought those early childish days most happy, and remembered them only as filled with careless contentment." -Chapter 1

"She had never before ventured into the world, and did not know how common and universal is the custom of picki
Nov 16, 2011 rated it liked it
This is one of Gaskell's lesser known novels and, while the writing is still there, the story is a thin Victorian melodrama.
It goes something like this -- wealthy landowner's son falls in love with virtuous, but poor, clergyman's daughter. (Clergyman, of course, is deceased.) Landowner is appalled his son is interested in this poor, but salt-of-the-earth young woman and has not-so-secretly imagined him to be married to his cousin. Said cousin could care less about wealthy landowner's son beca
I have read and enjoyed several of Elizabeth Gaskell's novels and so I started this book with fairly high expectations... unfortunately it's nothing like as accomplished as Cranford, North & South or Wives & Daughters. The overall tone is positively maudlin and the style of writing very old fashioned and melodramatic. It's a short novel but even so, I only managed about a third of if before I reached gagging point. ...more
Jul 31, 2014 rated it liked it
I would have given it two stars if Maggie hadn't shown some spunk in the end. The imagery was nice! I could see the cottage and the moors. There were many unlikable characters (the mother, the brother) and although Maggie was virtuous I didn't really like her. She was simply nice and I wished her well as we parted ways amiably!
Sonya Heaney
What a surprisingly readable classic book!
Jun 15, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Elizabeth Gaskell never ceases to impress me. This book is so beautiful, quiet and peaceful. The characters are passionate and well written.
Claire  Admiral
Apr 08, 2019 rated it really liked it
★★★★☆ 4 stars
Aug 22, 2020 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I remember reading ‘Cranford’ at school many moons ago and quite enjoying it (though I can remember nothing about the plot now) so was interested to read ‘A Moorland Cottage’. Now I must re-read ‘Cranford’ and see if I find it equally yucky!
She does write well, if in a typically verbose Victorian manner, and I thought her descriptions of the countryside and rural life were picturesque and imaginative. However, I found the characters so black and white that they were almost caricatures and most
May 04, 2018 rated it really liked it
I am not surprised to have loved reading this short story: Elizabeth Gaskell was an expert storyteller, and The Moorland Cottage is a fine proof of that.
Although the story was short (I read it all in one day), it was dense and extensive in terms of characterisation and the plot moved along at an exciting place. I particularly admire how Gaskell was able to put together a somewhat complex and intricate narrative with a limited number of characters. Like most other of Gaskell's novels, each charac
Shweta Ramdas
Jun 28, 2020 rated it liked it
Shelves: fiction
This novella about an orphaned family and their rich benevolent neighbors didn't strike a chord with me. The lines between good and bad here are clearly demarcated, and we are told very clearly whom to root for. Maggie is the very model of goodness, incapable of doing wrong, even when it hurts those she loves. Her brother, on the other hand, is a reprehensible creature, with nary a virtue. As they grow and learn, their characters only seem to diverge further--each, it seems, being drawn to very ...more
Andrea Majarrez
Mar 07, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I started reading it as a possible translation project but in the end, I simply enjoyed it as a story which contains topics such as injustice, hidden emotions, and love. I loved Maggie´s patience and kindness, and I hated her mother and selfish brother. I think the book is a perfect mirror of the situation of women at the time. It reflects the unfair situation of Maggie as sister and as a woman. Gaskell, with her light and clear narrative style, criticises the society of her time, the discrimina ...more
Sep 04, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: england, classic, novella
The beginning of this novella did not grab me at all but the ending turned out fine. At first, I was rather discouraged by Maggie’s character which, I thought, was rather bland when compared to Margaret Hale from North & South. When conflict arrived, I was afraid of the choice she’d make but I needn’t have worried at all. In fact, it was probably the only time for me that her character shone through. Despite being looked as an angel and everything good by all around her (this also did not impres ...more
Benjamin Stahl
Elizabeth Gaskell is one of those classic writers I always intend to read one day, but never actually find myself in the mood when it comes to choosing my next book. Here, rather than go with one of the more assured famous novels of hers, I went with this lesser known novella, thinking if it's boring, at least it won't take too long to finish.

All I can say is it's a good thing I was right.
Apr 24, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The Moorland Cottage, whilst not reaching the same heights as Mrs Gaskell’s novels, is a sweet tale nonetheless - well written, heartwarming, appealing and showcasing the many talents so clearly displayed in her longer works.
Anila Arpan
Jul 17, 2020 rated it liked it
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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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“If I thought I could ever grow as hard and different to the abject entreaties of a criminal as my father has been this morning–one whom he has helped to make, too–I would go off to Australia at once. Indeed, Maggie, I think it would be the best thing we could do. My heart aches about the mysterious corruptions and evils of an old state of society such as we have in England.–What do you say Maggie? Would you go?” She was silent–thinking. “I would go with you directly, if it were right,” said she, at last. “But would it be? I think it would be rather cowardly. I feel what you say; but don’t you think it would be braver to stay, and endure much depression and anxiety of mind, for the sake of the good those always can do who see evils clearly. I am speaking all this time as if neither you nor I had any home duties, but were free to do as me liked.” “What can you or I do? We are less than drops in the ocean, as far as our influence can go to model a nation?” “As” 0 likes
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