Book Review: "Wives and Daughters" by Elizabeth Gaskell
This is a book that was recommended by my niece, Sarah, who prefers to read books by dead authors. Published in 1865, the story takes place in England. It is a book of relationships, manners and some romance. The characters were so real, I can't help but wonder if the author patterned them off of people she knew. They were all flawed, but not badly flawed--and they all had very good qualities, too--much like real life.
Our main character, Molly, lost her mother at a young age. Now, as a young lady, her father decides to get married. His new wife brings her daughter into the picture, and she brings in the drama.
Molly's father is a doctor, and illness is an undercurrent throughout. We really don't always know what is wrong with his patients, and that must have been common back then. A person could be failing, and it might be a lingering infection (no antibiotics back then) or untreated diabetes or leukemia. Doctors didn't have the abilities to diagnose or treat like they do now, of course, and it made a very different world.
Having recently watched the entire series of "Downton Abbey," I was very prepared for this book. "Downton Abbey" was the end of the era that this book takes place in. Molly is solidly middle class, and the book is excellent for its portrayal of the differences in the classes and how they view each other.
I thoroughly enjoyed this book and highly recommend it to people who like books by dead authors.