The Ladies of Grace Adieu and Other Stories

The Ladies of Grace Adieu and Other Stories

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by Susanna Clarke, Charles Vess
     
 

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From the author of the award-winning, internationally bestselling Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell, an enchanting collection of stories. Set in versions of England that bear an uncanny resemblance to the world of Strange and Norrell, these stories are brimming with all the ingredients of good fairy tales: petulant princesses, vengeful owls, ladies who pass

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Overview

From the author of the award-winning, internationally bestselling Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell, an enchanting collection of stories. Set in versions of England that bear an uncanny resemblance to the world of Strange and Norrell, these stories are brimming with all the ingredients of good fairy tales: petulant princesses, vengeful owls, ladies who pass their time in embroidering terrible fates, endless paths in deep, dark woods, and houses that never appear the same way twice. Their heroines and heroes include the Duke of Wellington, a conceited Regency clergyman, an eighteenth-century Jewish doctor, Mary, Queen of Scots, Jonathan Strange, and the Raven King himself. The Ladies of Grace Adieu is the perfect introduction to a world where charm is always tempered by eerieness, and picaresque comedy is always darkened by the disturbing shadow of Faerie.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly

Fans of Clarke's bestselling Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrellshould be pleased with this book, as the stories collected here are very much cut from the same cloth. The stories (seven previously published and one original tale, "John Uskglass and the Cumbrian Charcoal Burner") deal with fairies and the history of English magic, and are told in the same Victorian style that made JS&MNso distinct. Prebble (who also narrated JS&MN) returns and once again triumphantly brings Clarke's richly imagined world to life. Sharing narrative duties this time around is Porter, who is equally skilled at playing prim and high-born ladies as she is using more folksy tones in "On Lickerish Hill." The footnotes that bogged down the audio edition of JS&MNare mostly absent, and the narrators' very different styles work well to give each story its own distinct feel. A lyrical and thoroughly enjoyable collection from a burgeoning master of fantasy literature. Simultaneous release with the Bloomsbury hardcover (Reviews, July 31). (Nov.)

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Kirkus Reviews
Materials from British folklore are reworked with beguiling narrative energy and mischievous wit in this first collection from the English author of the wonderful adult fantasy Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell (2004). Two of that book's major characters make vivid reappearances here. In "John Uskglass and the Cumbrian Charcoal Burner," the legendary magician the Raven King (aka Uskglass) tramples on a humble woodsman's property while hunting, and is himself humbled when his victim enlists various saints to redress his grievance. In the amusing title story, gentleman sorcerer Jonathan Strange discovers during a country visit that "the magic of wild creatures [notably owls] and the magic of women" are indeed a match for his own. Elsewhere, Mary Queen of Scots, while imprisoned by her rival, England's Elizabeth I, plots revenge through the medium of pictorial embroidery: Still, Elizabeth survives, and Mary loses her head (in "Antickes and Frets"). That tactic achieves better results when a British military hero strays into a remote domicile ruled by similar domestic magic (in "The Duke of Wellington Misplaces His Horse"). Odd things will happen, evidently, when mortals join forces or contend with fairy folk. "Tom Brightwind and How the Fairy Bridge Was Built at Thoresby" describes how Tom, a vainglorious and dictatorial otherworldly paterfamilias, is gently persuaded by his best human friend to improve the fortunes of the inhabitants of Thoresby, a village hitherto cut off from the world beyond it. Less benign supernatural intervention operates in tales relating an unhappy young wife's risky escape from her boring old husband ("On Lickerish Hill"); a forsaken fiancee's perilous dealings withthe fairy temptress ("Mrs. Mabb") who has stolen her beloved; and, in "Mr. Simonelli or The Fairy Widower," a country cleric's refusal to be intimidated by a "powerful fairy" landowner's disagreeable habit of seducing and exploiting innocent young women. Irresistible storytelling, from a splendidly gifted enchantress.
From the Publisher
Praise for Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell:

"Ravishing...superb...combines the dark mythology of fantasy with the delicious social comedy of Jane Austen into a masterpiece of the genre that rivals Tolkien."—Time

"Clarke welcomes herself into an exalted company of British writers—not only, some might argue, Dickens and Austen, but also the fantasy legends Kenneth Grahame and George MacDonald—as well as contemporary writers like Susan Cooper and Philip Pullman."—The New York Times Book Review

"There's no better way to experience the material than to hear it performed by such a consummate actor."—Publishers Weekly on Simon Prebble's narration

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781596913837
Publisher:
Bloomsbury USA
Publication date:
10/02/2007
Edition description:
First Edition
Pages:
256
Product dimensions:
5.48(w) x 8.28(h) x 0.75(d)

Meet the Author

Susanna Clarke is the author of the New York Times bestseller and multiple award winner Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell. She lives in Cambridge, England.

Brief Biography

Hometown:
Cambridge, Cambridgeshire, England
Date of Birth:
November 16, 1959
Place of Birth:
Nottingham, Nottinghamshire, England
Education:
B.A. in Philosophy, Politics and Economics, 1981
Website:
http://www.jonathanstrange.com

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