Wives and Daughters

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Penguin Adult, Apr 2, 2009 - Fiction - 914 pages
Seventeen-year-old Molly Gibson worships her widowed father. But when he decides to remarry, Molly s life is thrown off course by the arrival of her vain, shallow and selfish stepmother. There is some solace in the shape of her new stepsister Cynthia, who is beautiful, sophisticated and irresistible to every man she meets. Soon the girls become close, and Molly finds herself cajoled into becoming a go-between in Cynthia s love affairs. But in doing so, Molly risks ruining her reputation in the gossiping village of Hollingford and jeopardizing everything with the man she is secretly in love with.

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About the author (2009)

Elizabeth Cleghorn Gaskell was born in London in 1810, but she spent her formative years in Cheshire, Stratford-upon-Avon and the north of England. In 1832 she married the Reverend William Gaskell, who became well known as the minister of the Unitarian Chapel in Manchester's Cross Street. As well as leading a busy domestic life as minister's wife and mother of four daughters, she worked among the poor, traveled frequently and wrote. Mary Barton (1848) was her first success.

Two years later she began writing for Dickens's magazine, Household Words, to which she contributed fiction for the next thirteen years, notably a further industrial novel, North and South(1855). In 1850 she met and secured the friendship of Charlotte Brontė. After Charlotte's death in March 1855, Patrick Brontė chose his daughter's friend and fellow-novelist to write The Life of Charlotte Brontė(1857), a probing and sympathetic account, that has attained classic stature.

Elizabeth Gaskell's position as a clergyman's wife and as a successful writer introduced her to a wide circle of friends, both from the professional world of Manchester and from the larger literary world. Her output was substantial and completely professional. Dickens discovered her resilient strength of character when trying to impose his views on her as editor of Househo

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