Wives and Daughters

Wives and Daughters

4.0 183
by Elizabeth Gaskell, Patience Tomlinson

View All Available Formats & Editions

Set in English society before the 1832 Reform Bill, Wives and Daughters centres on the story of youthful Molly Gibson, brought up from childhood by her father. When he remarries, a new step-sister enters Molly's quiet life - loveable, but worldly and troubling, Cynthia. The narrative traces the development of the two girls into womanhood within the gossiping and…  See more details below


Set in English society before the 1832 Reform Bill, Wives and Daughters centres on the story of youthful Molly Gibson, brought up from childhood by her father. When he remarries, a new step-sister enters Molly's quiet life - loveable, but worldly and troubling, Cynthia. The narrative traces the development of the two girls into womanhood within the gossiping and watchful society of Hollingford. Wives and Daughters is far more than a nostalgic evocation of village life; it offers an ironic critique of mid-Victorian society. 'No nineteenth-century novel contains a more devastating rejection than this of the Victorian male assumption of moral authority', writes Pam Morris in her introduction to this new edition, in which she explores the novel's main themes - the role of women, Darwinism and the concept of Englishness - and its literary and social context.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"No nineteenth-century novel contains a more devastating rejection than this of the Victorian male assumption of moral authority."
Pam Morris

Product Details

Naxos Audiobooks Ltd.
Publication date:
Edition description:
Abridged, 8 CDs, 10 hours
Product dimensions:
5.70(w) x 5.10(h) x 2.00(d)

What People are saying about this

From the Publisher
"No nineteenth-century novel contains a more devastating rejection than this of the Victorian male assumption of moral authority."
—Pam Morris

Customer Reviews

Average Review:

Write a Review

and post it to your social network


Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See all customer reviews >

Wives and Daughters 4 out of 5 based on 1 ratings. 183 reviews.
Linybean More than 1 year ago
At first, I was a little daunted by how very long this book is, but I soon found myself grateful that I got to spend so much time in its world. This is one of the few books I started to read and just couldn't put down. Dark circles and extra cups of coffee were present many mornings because I stayed up so late reading! I suppose the thing I love most about Wives and Daughters is that it is a purely non-guilty pleasure. The characters are excellently written...virtue and sympathy reign supreme. There are no shocking twists and no, dare I say, improper scenes, and that is exactly what makes it such a good read. Although the plot is a little predictable, it's still satisfying. I can't wait until enough time passes so I can read it again!
Guest More than 1 year ago
While Gaskell is not as skillful a writer as Jane Austen, either in language or characterization, the story is still very much worth reading. Although her story is nominally a romance, the best parts of the book are the more platonic relationships. Heroine Molly Gibson and her doctor father have an understated, affectionate relationship, full of amusing banter and genuine development. (In fact, although a relatively minor character, Dr. Gibson fairly steals the story.) Molly's relationship with her step-sister Cynthia is interesting as well - often frustrating, but also quite touching. Next to these strong depictions, Molly's romantic intrigues are predictable and dull. I would suggest, however, buying a different version than the Barnes and Noble Classic Series. I bought this version at the store, and was very disappointed with it. For one thing, I was unaware that the footnotes would spoil parts of the book - they do. Also, I was unaware that the book doesn't have an ending. Yes, that's right, the book does NOT have an ending. The author died before writing the last few chapters. I was quite upset that the Barnes and Noble Classics edition didn't warn me of this.
lovenovels More than 1 year ago
I just finished reading Wives and Daughters, and have to say that it was a good book. Its a very long story so it does take a while to read, however, I think that it is worth the time. Im not going to waste time reciting the plot, im also not going to 'give the story away'. Im simply going to say that if you are considering reading this book, do it! I definitely enjoyed it. I will tell you though, that the author died before completing the story, however, dont listen to the other posts which tell you that they are frustrated and unsatisfied due to the lack of an ending. Dont listen! when the story cuts out, it is very clear were the author was going to go with the story. You will not be left wondering how it was going to end. Not at all! and you will love the ending. Read this book.
LotusNM More than 1 year ago
Wow! Elizabeth Gaskell is able to create a beautifully written, peaceful novel about life in a small English town. Though not incredibly suspenseful, the story is a page turner somehow. Each scene is beautifully painted with words, and each character is not only well crafted but has a sense of finish so that the reader can fully grasp and relate to the story. I never thought that a book about life in a small town in the 1800's would be so satisfying. I definitely recommend this for those readers who need a book that's more entertaining than meaningful and for those who want to quietly curl up and read a pleasant classic.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This is an exquisite and delicate story that, at the same time, incorporates that delicious feeling of intrigue found in so many of the great English writers of the 19th c. I have read them all and actually found it far more readable and enjoyable than much of Austen or Eliot. These characters are sketched entirely by their own language and the reactions of others, rather than the author's side pronouncements. The absence of a last installment (the book originally was published as a serial) is a very minor drawback because you can easily guess exactly what will happen. The characters are so finely drawn that you will recognize yourself and others in their faults, flaws and sincere attempts to be good people. The language is so readable and so often amusing, while foregoing some of the ostentation that makes me sometimes want to skip entire pages of Victorian novels. If you have any interest in 19th c English novels, you must read this.
msuchoas More than 1 year ago
I really enjoyed this book. The characters were complex and mutlifaceted. The love stories and plots were classic. It gave great details to let you imagine the scenes, the dress and the customs. This was considered one of Elizabeth Gaskell's best novels, although I didn't know it was an unfinished novel. It gets close enough to let you imagine the end but doesn't quite wrap it up. Could be good for a book club discussion.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
What I love about this book is how it portrays in all the charecters diferent types of love. Molly's simple, innocent love, Roger's self-sacrificing love.On a whole think this is one of Gaskels best ones ever!!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book may have been written in Victorian England but the topic is modern. Elizabeth Gaskell is a fabulous writer. I highly recommend this book.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Gaskell rightfully subtitled this novel "an everyday story", and with materials most authors would make trivial and wearying, Gaskell created of one the most enjoyable books I have read in a long time. Gaskell has a wonderful way of not directly describing the characters, but lets their personalities play out through a series of small and seemingly trivial events and conversations. But she has a way of making the most trivial conversations seem fascinating. Though far more central than the other her other short novel I've read, Cranford, it still reads like a series of small vignettes, link together by only the characters. And I found all the characters pretty well developed and complex. I'm not particularly sensitive, but I really felt for most of the characters. And many of the characters are legitimately funny and entertaining (Mrs. Gibson in particular pompous idiot, which are always entertaining in Victorian fiction. Strangely, Gaskell died before she wrote the last chapter, but I think the place where the book ends leaves it open, and may be a little better than the obvious ending she was planning. Overall, I found this book extremely fulfilling, and far more complete than most novels that authors actually finish.
Guest More than 1 year ago
There needs to be a disclaimer warning people the the author died before finishing this book! It was very frustrating! Other than that I found the book intriging and well written . . .
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Comparable to the great Jane Austen, in my own humble opinion.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
My Nook was out of commission so I had to read a "real book" and I had bought this book a few years ago so I started it and read it nonstop for a few days until I finished it. It was so good! Even though a little tedious at times, it really was a wonderful glimpse into that period of time. I loved the characters and especially Molly and Cynthia. Wish it had been completed but it still was a great novel. Can't wait to find the PBS version of it!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
As a long-time devotee of the novels of Charles Dickens, it surprised me that I had never heard of Elizabeth Gaskell. What a wonderful discovery! I loved this book. It had the charm and elegance of an Austen novel, with a bit of humor thrown in. I especially enjoyed the author's opinion on the differences between the sexes and between the classes. I definitely will read the other books this talented writer produced.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I loved this book...it is one of my all-time favorites.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I completely ADORE this WONDERFUL story and was SO upset when it just stopped so suddenly. Upon further research I did find out she was unable to do the ending as she did die before she could finish it. While my heart is broken, I am glad I was able to see where it was headed. I wanted to read about Roger being able to say what was in his heart, and what happens to him the next 6 months on his expedition in Africa... But am glad that we are able to read such an amazing work as this. The movie wraps it up very well, and I am glad to have that comfort as I am unable to see the sweet tender final chapter unfold.
Elle_Wilvee More than 1 year ago
I really enjoyed reading this, I've been trying to find works similar to Austen and my other favorite authors and this is very similar in style. That being said, I wish someone would have told me before I started that there is no ending to this novel! Mrs. Gaskell died before the novel was finished, so it ends in an abrupt and unsatisfying way. I'm going to watch the BBC miniseries now and hope that gives me some closure.
Caroline Dike More than 1 year ago
I reccomend this book because it tells an intricately woven and elaborate story of love, heartbreak, and death. It is not too dramatic and has more substance than newer novels. If you enjoy classics or are interested in a book- read it. Wives and Daughters is a wonderful novel which shows that marriage and love are two very different things. The book also shows that beauty on the outside can cover ugliness of the heart on thee inside.I loved reading Wives and Daughters.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Wives and Daughters is one of my favorite novels of all time. I haven't read it in years, but I just purchased it for the Nook and can't wait to immerse myself in its intrigue. Molly Gibson is calling!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Wives and Daughters is such a lovable book. There is not much to attract in the very beginning but it catches your attention as the story moves on. I love the relationship the stepsisters have and the frustration you feel for the love triangle. Overall it is a great buy and the only regret you feel in the end is that it was unfinished.
a2zbooks More than 1 year ago
I am glad purchased the book as it is a classic and worth reading. Surprised about quality of paperback, great font, helpful notes and commentary.
Guest More than 1 year ago
As an English major, I love stories. Many are dull, but this is a delightful tale on the level of 'Little Women.' Its perfectly charming and Clair and Molly are sweet. The views of the Dr. are comical and although it is not finished, in the habit of most Victorian novels, you can tell where it will end.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Yes - it is true- the author died before the end of this book, but enough of it was finished to cleary see what was going to happen (if you need to - watch the BBC movie and they have added a good ending to it). I cannot believe that this book has not gotten as much attention as Pride and Prejudice. Runs along the same lines as the Austen books. Innocent romance with endearing characters.
Guest More than 1 year ago
In this amazing novel, Elizabeth Gaskell has written an antithesis to all the Gothic novels being produced during this era. Molly is incredibly realistic and down to earth, and each character is developed so fully that it might leave some doubt as to whether these characters are purely fictional. An amazing read!
Guest More than 1 year ago
It's the kind of book that takes you away, that you get so wrapped into the charater's lives that you compltely forget about what's going on in your own life. It protrays the stuggles and triumphs that women face everday.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I found this book very good. It reminds me of books by Jane Austen. Molly is a loveable character and you find yourself becoming part of the story.