Wives and Daughters

Wives and Daughters

Paperback - 2001
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Set in English society before the 1832 Reform Bill, Wives and Daughters centers on the story of youthful Molly Gibson, brought up from childhood by her father. When he remarries, a new stepsister enters Molly's quiet life-loveable, but worldly and troubling Cynthia. The narrative traces the development of the two girls into womanhood within the gossiping and watchful society of Hollingford. Wives and Daughters is far more than a nostalgic evocation of village life; it offers an ironic critique of mid-Victorian society. "No nineteenth-century novel contains a more devastating rejection than this of the Victorian male assumption of moral authority," writes Pam Morris in her introduction to this edition, in which she explores the novel's main themes-the role of women, Darwinism, and the concept of Englishness-and its literary and social context.
Published: New York, N.Y. : Penguin Books, 2001.
ISBN: 9780142437001
014243700X
Branch Call Number: F GAS
Characteristics: xxxv, 679 p. ;,20 cm.

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crankylibrarian Sep 30, 2011

Jane Austen fans: If you've ever wondered how the Bennett sisters' daughters might have turned out, you may find this interesting. Although written in 1866, it is set 30 years earlier, in a time when Austen's universe of landed gentry was undergoing serious challenges from industrialization, scientific discovery, and social mobility.All are themes in the novel, which centers around a brilliant Scottish physician who marries a dim-witted, self-absorbed ex governess and social climber. Dr Gibson is admired by the local gentry for his intellect and integrity, but his imprudent marriage has disastrous consequences for his daughter Molly,who is saddled with a highly unsuitable stepmother. However, Molly's love for her flighty stepsister Cynthia ultimately redeems them all, and her selfless devotion to the dilettetantish aristocrats, gruff landowners, and querulous maiden ladies in her neighborhood wins all hearts...especially that of Roger, the local squire's unexpectedly brilliant son.

Wives and Daughters will often remind you of other, better novels, (the tart relationship between Dr and Mrs Gibson echoes Mr. and Mrs Bennett, and the brooding, dissipated Osborne is pure Bronte), and I do wish Molly and Cynthia didn't weep quite so often.Yet I can't recall any other such novels where two of the heroes are men of science, or where the various social classes are presented with such clarity and overall sympathy. While not a great novel, the large well-drawn cast of characters and winning heroine makes this a worthwhile read.

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GingerKaren
Jan 26, 2005

Poor Molly Gibson! Not only has she been motherless since she was young girl, she is easily put upon by firends and neighbours to help out. However her good nature is at war with what she really fells about things. When her father announces his impending marriage to a woman Molly dislikes intensely, and the new step mother has a very flirty daughter, Molly''s life becomes very complicated. Soon the new sister is engaged to someone who Molly loves very deeply, and the whole town will be turned upside down with scandal and secrets. How Molly shines through and changes into a most wonderful young woman is up to the reader to discover! A delightful read that has been turned into a scrumptious video presentation produced by Sue Birtwistle, no less!

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Zoe100 Aug 24, 2011

Zoe100 thinks this title is suitable for 12 years and over

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loria1121
Dec 20, 2014

I would much rather have two or three lilies of the valley picked by someone I liked than the most expensive bouquet that can be bought.

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