Steph and my sister were lazily lounging on their own respective couches reading their books. (Ruth, Steph’s mom, was over too; but she wasn’t on a couch. She was doing lunges across the living floor while she read). Steph was reading Federalist Papers and Shannon some book on ants (seriously, that’s an enticing read?!). It was Thursday night book club.
I was sitting on the floor pumped with anticipation of finishing my novel tonight! It had been a long read (the book is 720 pages!) but I was lost in the characters and loving it! With sentences like, “He had a large mouth, with excessively mobile lips; and another trick of his was, that when he was amused at anything, he resisted the impulse to laugh, by a droll manner of twitching and puckering up his mouth, till at length the sense of humour had its way, and his features relaxed, and he broke into a broad sunny smile…” Excessively mobile lips?! Haha, odd but for some reason I loved it; I loved Gaskell’s descriptions, her word choice … and her characters! Oh dear – I wanted to meet them!
I had already seen the movie, Wives and Daughters, and let me tell you, I think it’s my favorite romance of all time! I mean, with an ending like that, how could any woman not love it! And books are always better, or at least that’s what us book lovers automatically say, (whether or not we completely agree, it’s just something we’re programmed to say, right!) So, of course, I was thrilled out of my mind to read the ending.
The pages were getting fewer in number and that was getting me more excited! The plot was also thickening. Is it going to end the same as the movie? Or, will there be more happy-ending goodness; with more details and a little bit longer glimpse into the characters future?
I turned the next page and …
So no “spoiler alert” needed here. It just ended … and without even “the end” to end it. And it hadn’t even made it to the part where the movie ends! I was still quite a few scenes away! I started doing “lunges” across the living floor too, but for a different reason!
What had happened? Did I have that good of luck to buy a misprint?
So I went back and read the introduction. Oh, Elizabeth Gaskell died before she finished her story. Seriously! (Not seriously to her dying but to the publishing companies). I mean, if you’re going to publish a book, and again, it’s 720 pages long, you’d think that you might want to notify your readers that this is a romance with no conclusion! And not tuck it away towards the end of the introduction either.
There’s my rant. I’m annoyed whenever I think about this book; but really sad too. This was most likely going to be one of my all-time favorites; one that I probably would have read over and over again.
It is a fantastic read and the characters are like no other. I would say read it – because now you’re armed. No devastating surprises for you!
Elizabeth Gaskell’s Wives and Daughters is a story of romance, scandal and intrigue within the confines of a watchful, gossiping English village during the early nineteenth century. This Penguin Classics edition is edited with an introduction and notes by Pam Morris. When seventeen-year-old Molly Gibson’s widowed father remarries, her life is turned upside down by the arrival of her vain, manipulative stepfather. She also acquires an intriguing new stepsister, Cynthia, glamorous, sophisticated and irresistible to every man she meets. The two girls begin to confide in one another and Molly soon finds herself a go-between in Cynthia’s love affairs – but in doing so risks losing both her own reputation and the man she secretly loves. Set in English society before the 1832 Reform Bill, Elizabeth Gaskell’s last novel – considered to be her finest – demonstrates an intelligent and compassionate understanding of human relationships, and offers a witty, ironic critique of mid-Victorian society.
Nothing to note.