The Ladies of Grace Adieu and Other Stories

The Ladies of Grace Adieu and Other Stories

by Susanna Clarke


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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 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.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780747592402
Publisher: Gardners Books
Publication date: 09/03/2007
Sales rank: 276,335
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 1.25(h) x 9.00(d)

About 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.


Cambridge, Cambridgeshire, England

Date of Birth:

November 16, 1959

Place of Birth:

Nottingham, Nottinghamshire, England


B.A. in Philosophy, Politics and Economics, 1981

Table of Contents

The Ladies of Grace Adieu On Lickerish Hill Mrs. Mabb The Duke of Wellington Misplaces His Horse Mr. Simonellie or The Fairy Widower Tom Brightwind or How the Fairy Bridge Was Built at Thoresby Antickes and Frets John Uskglass and the Cumbrian Charcoal Burner

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Ladies of Grace Adieu and Other Stories 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 65 reviews.
Belldam More than 1 year ago
Each story in this book is brimming with as much imagination and historical knowledge as Clarke's debut novel. One of the anthology's greatest qualities is its focus on women's magic, which was alluded to but diminished in the male-centric Jonathan Strange. The other stories I liked best were those focusing on Clarke's unique take on fairies and fairy magic. If you enjoyed Jonathan Strange, this book is a wonderful expansion on the world Clarke built. There was not a single story in the book that I did not enjoy.
bookluvinprof More than 1 year ago
Although I didn't find these stories as all-absorbing as Clarke's novel Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell, each story was interesting and unique within itself. I particularly liked the title story, a mercurial tale of three women practicing witchcraft; the story about the fairy widower; and the short, short story about Mary Queen of Scots. The pleasure of the stories is in Clarke's writing style and her lack of condescension for the material. The stuff of old folk tales (such as Tom-Tit-Tot) is revived in a fresh and unique way.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is a wonderful collection of stories, especially if you love Clarke's _Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell_. Whoever created the ebook version, however, has done in incredibly poor job. There are typos that suggest that a scanned copy was poorly proofread; Clarke's scene breaks have been removed; and somehow the illustrations were distorted when they were scanned. If you're buying the ebook, wait until the publisher has provided a better one.
Jamesthree More than 1 year ago
Ladies of Grace Adieu is a set of short stories set in the universe of Susanna Clarke's Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell. Her vision of an England alive with a magical rebirth is both familar and wonderfully realized. I will purchase and read anything she writes in the future. Her voice and style are truly orginal and fresh. A recasting of Victorian tropes and themes for the 21st century. She may became our Andrew Lang or George MacDonald.
billiecat on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Susanna Clarke's collection of short stories isn't as ground-breaking as her novel Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell, although in fact these works predate publication of her novel, and can be seen, perhaps, as the breaking of ground that lead to the greater work. But that book's complexity and depth is a large part of what made it so great, and of a necessity, these short stories are, well, short. Except for the titular story, they are not, strictly speaking, part of the same world as the novel, but instead seem to be variations on the theme. Some stories are mere bagatelles (such as "Antics and Frets," a fable of Mary, Queen of Scots). Others, such as "The Fairy Widower" and "Tom Brightwind, or How the Fairy Bridge was Built at Thoresby" more substantive, but while thoroughly enjoyable, none are as engrossing as Ms. Clarke's novel. If you enjoyed Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell, you will enjoy this, but it won't entirely quench your thirst.
icarusgeoff on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Something in the way [author: Susanna Clarke] writes gives her work the air of having been written a long time ago. It's the literary equivalent of handmade lacework, or of a chest of drawers made by some old-world craftsman: beautiful, precise, and with a subtle air of antiquity. Her previous book, [book: Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrel], gained much of its charm from the way the style of the prose matched the setting of the novel. [book: The Ladies of Grace Adieu] could be considered a companion piece, taking place as it does in the same alternate England. Rather than being a large and weighty tome as was her previous effort, though, this slimmer volume is a collection of short stories.It takes a different sort of writing (and perhaps a different sort of writer) to make a successful short story than to make a successful novel. There is an economy of words and setting that must be observed, or it just doesn't work. Clarke grasps this idea well, and the stories in this book are largely enjoyable and readable. As is the case with any selection of short stories, some are better than others. I particularly like John Uskglass and the Cumbrian Charcoal Burner, which feels like an old fairy tale in the way it plays out. I am somewhat less fond of Lickerish Hill, less for the actual story than for its being written in the actual style of a journal from the 1800s, i.e. difficult to read.If you enjoyed Jonathan Strange, this book offers more of the same.
JACrobat on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
It isn¿t fair to compare an author¿s second book to their first, particularly when it must follow the phenomenal Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell, but the comparison is inevitable when Strange returns for a cameo appearance in The Ladies of Grace Adieu, Susanna Clarke¿s collection of short stories (now available in paperback). One title character (Strange) meets the others in the first of these stories set in the same England/Faerie as Clarke¿s debut novel. The Duke of Wellington and John Uskglass the Raven King are likewise featured again, and Mary, Queen of Scots, joins the ranks of nobility who find their paths crossed by fairy magic. ¿On Lickerish Hill¿ is a retelling of the fairy tale of Rumpelstiltskin with more emphasis on the fairy tale.The best story in the collection, ¿Mr Simonelli or the Fairy Widower,¿ is one which bears no striking resemblance to any of its predecessors. It is comprised of a letter from Reverend Simonelli proclaiming his innocence to an influential parishioner, Mrs. Gathercole, the mother of five unmarried daughters, followed by his own journal entries recounting his remarkable encounters with an insidious fairy incongruously named John Hollyshoes. Simonelli took drastic measures to protect the Gathercole family from the fairy, and it is these measures which he must justify to their mother.The three magical ladies of Grace Adieu cannot match the abilities of Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell, and the same can be said of their eponymous books. The Ladies of Grace Adieu seems to be an expansion of the ubiquitous footnotes found in Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell rather than a stand-alone work. That may not bother some readers, but Clarke¿s second spell is less potent than her first.
ragwaine on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
The Ladies of Grace Adieu (Seems like I missed something here but it was still pretty good. 3 Women show up the master of magic (Mr. Strange).)-On Lickerish Hill (Told in a very cute style but it was really just a retelling of Rumpilstilskin. Nothing new here.)-Mrs Mabb (A woman saves her man from a woman fairy. It's Strange and Norrell in reverse.)-The Duke of Wellington Misplaces His Horse (The general knits his future with fates needle. Cool and kind of dark.)-Mr Simonelli or the Fairy Widower (I don't get who's coming to kill him in the end? The rest of it was good though.)-Tom Brightwind or How the Fairy Bridge Was Built at Thoresby (Nothing shocking but pretty cool setup. Fairy comes to town where they need a bridge. He builds it, gets the lords wife pregnant and eventually the 1/2 fairy child grows up to own the village.)-Antickes and Frets (About Mary Queen of Scots. She tries magic to kill Elizabeth. Short and not that exciting.)-John Uskglass and the Cumbrian Charcoal Burner (Uskglass is defeated by a homeless man. Great ironic turn of events.)
princessponti on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I have just finished reading 'The Ladies of Grace Adieu' by Susanna Clarke, it's a collection of short stories mostly all set in the same world as her last book 'Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell'; set in the 19th Century, lots of magic and fairies, mostly written like a Jane Austin novel. I really enjoyed it! I found the title story a little lacking, I didn't really understand what was going on (may go back and read it again!), but the others were wonderful. Susanna dables with different writing styles in this book, one story 'On Lickerish Hill' is written in the style of 'John Aubrey' (whom I've never read), but I really enjoyed the rambliness of it: "My mother was mayde and cook to Dr Quince, an ancient and learned gentleman (face, very uglie like the picture of a horse not well done; dry, scantie beard; moist, pale eyes)."Another story 'The Duke of Wellington Misplaces his horse' is set in the village of Wall, a fictional village from the head of Neil Gaiman in his novel 'Stardust'. My favourite story by far was 'Mrs Mabb', which tells the story of a love lost to another; me and my soppy heart! Although the story was set in the world of Jonathan Strange, I really don't think it would spoil her first novel if you were to read this first. It doesn't relate to what happened in that book; however, you may not get all of the references or understand the characters (Mr Strange is featured in one of the stories) if you haven't read Jonathan Strange first. To get the most out of the books, I would definately recommend reading them in the right order. The short stories are a little longer than most short stories, but perfect to read one a day, to and from work on the tube. Would definately recommend if you want a break from a full length novel.
vnovak on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Doesn't nearly approach Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell, but there are some interesting stories here. The title story gives some background to events surrounding Jonathan Strange. The best story, "The Duke of Wellington Misplaces His Horse," is set in Neil Gaiman's world of Wall, featured in Stardust. Two stories feature malicious embroidery (!), one with the great line, "The Queen of Scots was impressed. She had heard of a poisonous dart sewn into a bodice to pierce the flesh, but she had never heard of anyone being killed by embroidery before. She herself was very fond of embroidery."
tapestry100 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
The Ladies of Grace Adieu is a collection of short stories that Susanna Clarke released as a follow-up to her first novel, Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell. Clarke delivers a variety of tales in this collection, some based on previous tales (such as Rumpelstiltskin) and some of her own creation, all based on the land of Faerie. In this collection, she revisits Johnathan Strange, the Duke of Wellington, and even has a story that takes place in the world of Neil Gaiman's Wall.I recommend reading each story separately, as opposed to reading the book in one sitting. I give the book 5 stars, but only based on reading my copy in this same fashion, through a recommendation from someone else. I feel that the stories may loose something of their value if all read at the same time, as each of the stories basically deals with the same subject: the creatures of Faerie versus the people of the "real" world. While each story is unique of itself, since each story does in fact deal with something of the same subject each time, reading them altogether may be somewhat tedious.I enjoyed Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell and felt that this was a suitable follow-up. After reading The Ladies of Grace Adieu, I anxiously await Clarke to whisk me away again to land of Faerie with her next novel.
Spoonbridge on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Like her earlier novel "Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell" I really, really enjoyed these stories by Susanna Clarke, which in some cases dealt further with themes brought up in the far longer work. I felt that each story was interesting, with styles very well evocative of their 19th (or in some cases earlier) century literary inspirations, complete with footnotes. Each takes the theme of faeries and, in very different ways, show the often times strained relationships between the "sidhe" and humanity, often in very folkloric ways. As a lover of folklore, I especially enjoyed this, as well as the extra time spent in Clarke's vision of a magical 1800 world. In some ways, I would say that I would recommend these stories in particular to people interested in "Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell" but unsure as to whether they would enjoy the style enough to read 782 pages.
MrsLee on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I loved this book! If possible, I loved it even more than "Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell. It is a collection of eight short stories in the style of the aforementioned book. It has droll humor, great characters and world building. Granted, it is our world, but an alternate version which seems entirely plausible. Usually in a book of collected short stories, there are a few clinkers, but I can's say that about any of these. Some I enjoyed more than others, but usually my favorite was the one I was reading at the moment.
jcelrod on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
A charming collection of stories from the author of Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell. I definitely recommend reading this *after* JS & MN.
bell7 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
The short story collection by the author of Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell is set in the same world as that novel. The "Introduction" by the "Director of Sidhe Studies, University of Aberdeen" gives the tales a pseudo-historical feel: either the tale itself is an alternate history, or illustrative of the legends of that world. Readers of Jonathan Strange may remember the use of footnotes - their similar use here adds to the feeling of history or a literary collection used in "Sidhe Studies." This adds a layer of complexity and cleverness to the collection.The stories themselves I found of varying interest. Some confused me, many seemed dark. These fairies are governed by ethics much different from humans' and their interactions in the human world generally cause trouble, whether intended or not. Personally, my favorite was "On Lickerish Hill," the story of a girl, Miranda, whose mother promises the man Miranda weds that she can spin five skeins of wool a day. I enjoyed recognizing the tale, though it was told in a style very different from what I would have expected. If you've been thinking of trying Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell, but were intimidated by the size, try this first to get a shorter introduction to Susanna Clarke's Faerie world.
pingobarg on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
gentle, graceful, rainy-day-and-hot-cocoa read
SofiaAndersson on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
If Jane Austen had written fantasy it would probably be like this. Set in the same alternative England of Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell, but 600 pages thinner. I like it.
TiffGabler on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Clake writes great fairy tales in that the "fairy" element is what it was originally meant to be. She invokes the sinister, the dark and the unknown into the fantastic things that we have overlooked in our everyday fairy tales. Her stories feel REAL which as great as you can gt with an author.
sloopjonb on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
The Ladies of Grace Adieu, by Miss Susanna Clarke ¿ a Critickal ReviewI have had cause to speak of Miss Clarke¿s writings before, in connexion with her work Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell, and therein the chief critickism I had to make was as to the length of that novel, which I judged to be some two hundred pages (out of eight hundred) too long. No such cavil attends the remarks I wish to make of this present collection, which consists of a number of shorter tales, set within the same fantastickal and fascinating other-England of the longer book. Each and all are nothing less than a delight from beginning to end. Miss Clarke has a remarkable facility for evoking the strange and alarming world of Faerie, and creates a truly enchanting atmosphere when writing of it and of the ways in which men and women can become entangled in it. As if that were not enough, she swims in the English language as a dolphin might swim in the Ocean, playing and leaping through its currents and tides with a sly smile on her face. To read stories at once so absorbing and so witty, and with such finely drawn characters, is a rare delight, and I for one can scarcely bear to wait for her promised sequel to her original novel, and learn more of her original and marvellous other-England, and of the men and women she has peopled it with ¿ most especially that fascinating and enigmatic figure John Uskglass, the Raven King.Addendum: I note that a moving picture is to be made of the adventures of Messrs Strange & Norrell. No good can come of this.
PghDragonMan on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Having so thoroughly enjoyed Susanna Clarke¿s previous tale of magical England, Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrel, I was pleased to find The Ladies of Grace Adieu, a collection of stories set in the same time period building on the same theme and using some of the previous characters.As with any anthology, the stories vary in quality, but these were all enjoyable. Almost like bookends, I found the first story, the title story of the book, and the last story, John Uskglass and the Cambrian Charcoal Burner, the most enjoyable. What sets The Ladies of Grace Adieu apart was the sustained sense of the macabre and the ease with which the story was visualized. The final story had a twisted sense of humor about it that had me laughing out loud while reading.If you enjoyed Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrel, you will find this to your liking as well. This should also attract fans of fantasy and magic of the kind found in the works of Lovecraft, not Crowley. Victorian and Gothic fans should find a lot to enjoy here as well.
RebeccaVegas on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I loved "Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell" so I couldn't miss this book. And I wasn't disappointed: it's like being back into a well-known universe, where you can recognise people, places and moods. Besides, being short stories, it's easier to handle (even though I loved the fact that the previous book was so long). Maybe it could be appropriate as an introduction to the novel; I'm even thinking to read it again...
SimoneA on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This collections of short stories, set in the world of Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell, are pleasant to read. However, the stories were too short for me to really get acquainted with the characters, which lessened my enjoyment. But, to be honest, I am not a big fan of short stories in general. So if you enjoyed Susanna Clarke's previous book, and don't mind short stories, this is definitely a book to pick up!
ncgraham on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Susanna Clarke is clearly one of the bright new lights on the fantasy fiction horizon. Her debut novel, Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell, topped bestseller lists, garnered positive reviews from the critics, and crossed genre boundaries with its elegant mixture of style and inventiveness. This follow-up collection of stories claims to be a contemporary academic review of various literary and historical sources that shed light onto the development of English magic and the intertwining of our world with the land of Faerie. Both themes will be familiar to readers of Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell, as will the general nineteenth-century setting. The mythology of these works are also similar, so that they must be seen as companions. This volume is best read after the novel, as a couple of the stories will make little sense without background information.I must admit that I found the opening story¿from which the collection's title is taken¿rather unappealing, for reasons I shall not reveal (else I should give away the ending). Even there, however, I kept picking out sentences that caught my interest. This excellence of writing continues even as the narrative qualities improve. "On Lickerish Hill" is an imaginative retelling of the Rumpelstiltskin legend, written in the non-standardized spelling typical of its setting ("His beard curles naturallie¿a certaine sign of witt"), while "Mrs. Mabb" chronicles a strong-willed girl's efforts to rescue her love from fairy captivity. "The Duke of Wellington Misplaces His Horse" transposes the England and Fairyland of Jonathan Strange with those of Neil Gaiman's Stardust as the Duke has an adventure while staying in the mysterious village of Wall. John Hollyshoes, the antagonist of "Mr. Simonelli or The Fairy Widower," may remind Clarkites of the Gentleman with Thistled-Down Hair, com with his meddling ways and evil intentions; then again, Tom Brightwind of "Tom Brightwind or How the Fairy Bridge was Built at Thoresby" possesses much of the Gentleman's airs as well, but little of his villainy. "Antickes and Frets" is an alternative, mystical history of Mary Stuart's imprisonment, in which she plays some role in her execution, which ultimately brings her release. "John Uskglass and the Cumbrian Charcoal Burner" takes the form of a folktale, and a very entertaining one at that; I particularly enjoyed the Charcoal Burner's interactions with the various saints.Beautiful illustrations by Charles Vess add to the magic of each tale, and this hardcover edition is lovely enough that it is worth keeping as literary eye candy alone. Highly recommended for Strangites and Norrellites everywhere!
brakketh on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Really enjoyed reading this collection of short stories. I really love the way that Susanna Clarke thinks about magic and the social conventions of the time. I can see why the reviewers feel the need to compare her to Jane Austen.
phoebesmum on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
The intriguing title turns out to be a disappointing red herring ('Grace Adieu' is the name of a village), but I found these short stories delightful and compelling, and a very easy read. Reading this also inspired me to take another bash at 'Jonathan Strange', which, actually, was worthwhile after all.