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Archived Group Reads 2012 > Wives and Daughters Chapter XXXV The Mother's Manoeuvre ~ XLIII Cynthia's Confessions ~ LII Squire Hamley's Sorrow

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Marialyce (absltmom, yaya) For discussion of these chapters


message 2: by Nicole (new)

Nicole Michelle (nicolemich) | 6 comments I am absolutely in love with this book! I can barely sleep for reading so ferociously!


Marialyce (absltmom, yaya) Nicole wrote: "I am absolutely in love with this book! I can barely sleep for reading so ferociously!"

Oh good, Nicole! So glad you are enjoying this novel. It is a good one for sure.


message 4: by Janie (new)

Janie (justjanie) | 57 comments Anyone else in this section? Its starting to pick up again... I'm feeling the suspense of waiting to find out Cynthia's secret and to learn what happens when everyone else learn's Osbourne's secret.


Marialyce (absltmom, yaya) Janie wrote: "Anyone else in this section? Its starting to pick up again... I'm feeling the suspense of waiting to find out Cynthia's secret and to learn what happens when everyone else learn's Osbourne's secret."

I always felt such sorrow for Osbourne. Janie. He just does not seem to measure up at all. The gulf widens between his father and him and poor Mrs H.! I think, although at times, Mrs Gaskell can be a bit wordy, she certainly can portray her characters with a great amount of compassion and the ability to build suspense. You will be surprised when people do find out about Osbourne what happens. Cynthia, so much more worldly than Molly is a great character. I like her a lot, but she and her mother are sharing a secret.


message 6: by Janie (new)

Janie (justjanie) | 57 comments Gaskell's characters were really her strength. Each one is complex and dynamic, with strengths, weaknesses, and redeeming qualities. The relationship between Molly and Cynthia is so authentic and relatable. They defy the labels I keep trying to put on them.


message 7: by Janie (new)

Janie (justjanie) | 57 comments ...and I hope I'm near finding out the secrets! The last line of Chapter XLI is "But the time was approaching when she would know all."

Ooooooooohhhh! I can't wait! I'm glad the weekend is upon us. :)


Marialyce (absltmom, yaya) Have fun! :)

I know i originally thought Cynthia and Molly would be adversaries.


message 9: by Becky (new)

Becky | 170 comments Just got into this section. I'm only up to chapter 36, but I cannot begin to say how happy I am that Mrs. Gibson is a little universally out of favor. I really abhor her. Gaskell can always evoke such strong emotion about her characters, I totally agree with Janie that her characters are her strength.


message 10: by Becky (new)

Becky | 170 comments I am now at chapter 49 and I feel like I could walk into town and slap everyone for their treatment of Molly, especially the Brownings! Oh it just makes me SO angry.

I was sympathetic to Cynthia at first, though after the first few chapters I didn't really like her. She isnt the type of female friend that you want, you know? A constant flirt, entirely manipulative, etc. I do feel bad that she was so neglected by her mother, but she is just as bad as her. Now she has landed Molly in all this trouble, she doesn't seem to care a lick what might happen to MOlly's reputation, and how can she NOT see that her trifling with Roger is destroying Molly.

Grr. And all because Mr. Gibson decided he needed to remarry!

Also, even though I don't like Mr. Preston. I feel worse for him than I do for Cynthia. Sure he tried to bribe her, etc, but I mean, he was in love with her for ages, it seems a natural human reaction to want some medium for revenge. We've all be there....


message 11: by Julie (new)

Julie (juliemoncton) | 31 comments Wow! Cynthia's secret - not at all what I expected. I feel sorry for Cynthia because she had no guidance, but she also has no moral compass and always wants to take the easy way out - sort of like her mother! It's also interesting that it was such a scandal to break a verbal commitment of marriage at that time. Does anyone know if that was true of any promise or just marriage proposals?


message 12: by Courtny (new)

Courtny | 2 comments This is the first work by Gaskell that I have read. That said I really enjoyed it. The ending was abrupt. I wish she had been able to complete the novel. For the most part I thought the characters were very realistic. At times Hyacinth seemed a little flat to me, and Molly was annoying but in a way that is believable for the period and circumstances. I thought the characters outside of the main family were great. Both of the upper families and the town friends made the novel for me. I look forward to reading more Gaskell!


message 13: by Denise (new)

Denise (dulcinea3) | 400 comments Having just 'discovered' Gaskell in the past few years, I'm so glad when I see other people find her, too! I can't imagine why she hasn't always been taught alongside the Brontes and Jane Austen. Well, other than her biography of Charlotte Bronte, which I did read back in college in a course about the Bronte sisters. But her fiction is delightful!


message 14: by Becky (new)

Becky | 170 comments I think you could make a drinking game out of Mrs. Gibson. Every time she says "you know I hate nothing more than ****" drink, and then when she says "my poor fatherless child" take two, and when she completes her lovely little speech with "I'm a fair step-mother" take another.


Marialyce (absltmom, yaya) Becky wrote: "I think you could make a drinking game out of Mrs. Gibson. Every time she says "you know I hate nothing more than ****" drink, and then when she says "my poor fatherless child" take two, and when s..."

very funny....and yet, she was ever serious...


Marialyce (absltmom, yaya) I, too, have to pipe in and say I am puzzled as to why Gaskell is not heartily embraced in Victorian teaching courses. I am pretty sure I would have loved to have read her in high school because she always has that trace of the romantic in her stories, (at least most of the ones I have read) which High school girls love, well...I think they still do...

She was an extremely appealing author.


message 17: by Becky (new)

Becky | 170 comments I think she is a tad too subtle for non-Victorian lovers. This is one of the things that makes her fantastic, but it really comes out in contrast to other authors, like Hardy or the Brontes.


message 18: by Sera (new)

Sera I agree with Becky. Reading Gaskell after finishing Hardy was a dramatic contrast for me. I will be finished this book in a day or two, and I will likely give it 4 stars, but I think that had I not read Wives and Daughters immediately after Tess, I would have liked it more. Gaskell has substance to her work but she is a much softer writer than Hardy in my opinion. I've only read the two works by these authors so after I read more, I may have more insight.

Nevertheless, I've discovered two more authors that I can't wait to read more of and will.


Marialyce (absltmom, yaya) I certainly agree. I think Hardy is definitely more earthy and elemental...while Gaskell is of a more romantic and dare I say feminine?

That being said, I think Hardy was able to write Tess with a definite nod to his feminine side...:)

Sera, Have you read North and South yet?


message 20: by Sera (new)

Sera No, not yet, Marialyce. W&D is my first Gaskell, but from what I have read on GR, North and South is supposed to be Gaskell's best known and written work. I intend to read that one as well.

Is it your favorite Gaskell one, too?


Marialyce (absltmom, yaya) Sera wrote: "No, not yet, Marialyce. W&D is my first Gaskell, but from what I have read on GR, North and South is supposed to be Gaskell's best known and written work. I intend to read that one as well.

Is..."


It is, Sera.....and then you are going to have to see the BBC production of it! :)


message 22: by Sera (new)

Sera Will do!


message 23: by Denise (new)

Denise (dulcinea3) | 400 comments Wives and Daughters is my favorite so far, but North and South is not as much of a gentle, domestic story, so it might appeal to you more.


message 24: by Janice (JG) (new)

Janice (JG) I enjoyed the story, and loved the ending. I watched the BBC production of Wives and Daughters streaming from Netflix, and while I think they mostly stayed true to as much of the story as possible, I just wasn't engaged by the characterizations of Molly or Cynthia in the TV production.

I was also shocked that, after sticking to the story all the way through, the TV production changed the ending -- they Hollywoodized it! :)

All in all, the mini-series was mostly flat and disappointing, tho' I did enjoy studying the fashion of the times.


Marialyce (absltmom, yaya) I have not watched this production...how disappointing as they usually do a very fine job sticking to the storyline.


message 26: by Denise (last edited Apr 18, 2012 12:25PM) (new)

Denise (dulcinea3) | 400 comments I really enjoyed the miniseries; sorry you didn't like it (I'm assuming this was the one with Justine Waddell, Keeley Hawes, and Francesca Annis, as I don't know of another one). As for the storyline, keep in mind that this novel was unfinished when Gaskell died, so there is no original ending written by her. Similar to the new production of The Mystery of Edwin Drood that was on the other night, each screenwriter is free to imagine how they think it would have turned out.


message 27: by Sera (last edited Apr 18, 2012 04:10PM) (new)

Sera Denise wrote: "Wives and Daughters is my favorite so far, but North and South is not as much of a gentle, domestic story, so it might appeal to you more."

Sounds yummy :). I was reading this through some rough going indie type reads so perhaps the contrast was more pronounced than it had otherwise would have been.


message 28: by Janie (new)

Janie (justjanie) | 57 comments Marialyce wrote: "I, too, have to pipe in and say I am puzzled as to why Gaskell is not heartily embraced in Victorian teaching courses. I am pretty sure I would have loved to have read her in high school because sh..."

My brother, a high school English teacher, once told me, "They taught us to always choose literature that appeals to the guys because the girls are more likely to read whatever you put in front of them."

It kind of rules out Gaskell, doesn't it. :( I only read Jane Eyre in high school because it was an independent research assignment.


Marialyce (absltmom, yaya) Thanks, Janie, that would certainly explain it....


message 30: by Janie (new)

Janie (justjanie) | 57 comments Its pretty sad, no?


Marialyce (absltmom, yaya) I would like to think it was because the girls could recognize wonderful literature as well as read anything thatpiqued their interest, whereas the boys did not have a clue....
And yes, it is sad to think that that might have been the reason why we had to read what we read.


message 32: by Becky (new)

Becky | 170 comments That doesn't explain Romeo and Juliet! I think boys would much prefer MacBeth...

I still haven't forgiven my school for force feeding me Willa Cather. *Shudders* Though I grew up in Nebraska, so no way to get around that.


Marialyce (absltmom, yaya) I have to say that many of the classics I was forced to read made me want to scream "please no!" Sinclair Lewis' The Jungle for one and sorry to admit this A Tale of Two Cities as well as War and Peace....

I have reread War and Peace as an adult and still disliked it, would never reread The Jungle and will eventually read A Tale of Two Cities again.


message 34: by Janice (JG) (new)

Janice (JG) I remember as a junior in high school having to read Frank Norris's The Octopus: A Story of California, about wheat farmers and the advent of the railroad... just the sort of fiction a 17 year old girl craves (not).

Interestingly, much as I hated it (my god, would it never end...?), I still remember the whole atmosphere of it, as well as the history of the railroad robber barons. The AMC series Hell on Wheels is spot on if memory serves me.


message 35: by Janie (new)

Janie (justjanie) | 57 comments We had to read The Crucible and I thought it would NEVER end.


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