Wives and Daughters / Elizabeth Gaskell

Title / Wives and Daughters
Author / Elizabeth Gaskell
Published / 1863
Page no. / 794
Overall Rating / ★★


Wives and Daughters was originally published as a serial between August 1864 to January 1866. It is Gaskell’s last story and she never finished it – as I understand it the ending was done by the editor of the magazine the serial was originally published in, Frederick Greenwood (and journalists). Set in English society during the 1830s, Wives and Daughters follows a young woman called Molly Gibson, who has been raised since childhood from her widowed father, Dr Gibson. When he remarries, Molly’s life changes completely with the addition of a new step mother and step daughter.


After reading North and South, it became one of my all time favourite books, so I wanted to check out Gaskell’s other works. I originally saw the 1999 BBC adaptation of this book first and then a few years later I read the book. The story mainly follows the transition to womanhood for Molly and her step sister, Cynthia. The relationships between characters and their development throughout the book is one of the main strengths of the book. This is not a short book, the Penguin English Library edition I have is 794 pages long, and so Gaskell has been able to dedicate alot of that time into developing all the characters. It is a lengthy book and some may find that it drags a little in places, but I personally never had any issues with the story dragging. Even in the quieter moments, the writing and characters keep you engaged in the story. Changes in English society play a part in the story of this book and I find it so interesting to get a glimpse at what life may have been like back in the 1830s. There are so many fantastic things about this story, from the fantastic characters, interesting setting and wonderful writing. 


Gaskell is one of my favourite authors and I highly recommend checking out her books. North and South remains my favourite book by her but I do love Wives and Daughters too. If you love classics and haven’t read Wives and Daughters yet, then you should definitely check it out. Have you guys read this book? I’d love to know what you thought. Let’s chat in the comments. I hope you are all having a wonderful day and I will see you next time.






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