Book review: Wives and Daughters: An Every-Day Story — 4 Comments

  1. The novel is set at least a decade before the Victorian age began. And I hope that Gaskell handled the Molly Gibson/Roger Hamley romance with more depth than the 1999 miniseries did.

  2. I got the impression it was set in Warwickshire, where Mrs Gaskell had gone to school. It’s a little while since I last read it, but I remember Hyacinth telling a story about how Mr Kirkpatrick had walked five miles to Stratford (upon-Avon, presumably) in the rain to buy her a muffin, and I had the impression that the Kirkpatricks had lived near Ashcombe/Hollingford. I forget the other reasons I thought of Warwickshire, but it seemed to fit and some of the place names sounded right – Ashcombe, for instance, evokes the south-west for me rather than the north. However, in the BBC miniseries they seemed to go for northern accents so perhaps they thought of Cheshire too! I think “Midlands” is as specific as Mrs Gaskell gets, and that could apply to Cheshire at a push, although I like to think that Warwickshire is more likely as it’s quintessentially Midlands! I suppose if we were really interested we could, for example, look at how long it takes the characters to travel to London, and clues like that. But perhaps Mrs Gaskell didn’t want to pin it down to a particular location, and was inspired by several places.

    Interesting review btw!

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