Wives and Daughters

Wives and Daughters - Pam Morris, Elizabeth Gaskell In Gaskell's final (and unfinished) novel, she focuses on the quiet English countryside, where the Gibson and Hamley families live. Molly is the heroine of the novel. She's very likeable, loving character; in fact, she seems to be the emotional voice of the story; everyone else prides themselves on being indifferent. All of the characters felt like real people: Molly's stepsister, stepmother, and father are all relatably flawed. They had biases, and each of them had intricate backstories. I don't want to spoil anything, but I also really appreciated that self-sacrificing women stereotype was broken down in this book; Molly proves that being an individual can be just as rewarding as helping others. (You never get THAT in Victorian novels, so that was awesome.) Unfortunately, a lot less action happens in Wives and Daughters than I expected. There's loss, and many soul-crushing romantic entanglements, but otherwise most of this novel is told through second-hand gossip. Some of Gaskell's other books have stronger plots, and emphasize human rights and social change. The story never left the town. This novel felt a little small to me, and could have used a bigger scope. Did I mention that this novel is unfinished. In the final movements, when resolution is coming and everything is about to unfold dramatically, the book ends. (WHY?) But my anticipation and my fangirling over the ending just proves that I still liked the story. It's definitely worth a read.