Tag Archives: Elizabeth Gaskell

Elizabeth Gaskell 200th Anniversary Blog Tour: Sylvia’s Lovers

http://austenprose.files.wordpress.com/2010/09/gaskel-graphic.jpgWelcome to the 7th stop on the Elizabeth Gaskell 200th Anniversary Blog Tour! Please join me and other Elizabeth Gaskell enthusiasts in honoring her on her birthday today with a blog tour featuring  a biography of her life and times, reviews of her books, novella’s and movies, reading resources, and a photo tour of her homes. I cannot say how honored Stiletto Storytime is to be a part of this tour. While my blog may not a period blog, this time in literature holds my heart.  Elizabeth Gaskell is one of my personal favorite authors. She is almost like a friend I curl up with when in need of comfort, North & South is not only one of my top five book books but also one of my top five film adaptations as well. To sum it up…I adore her work.


Here on Stiletto Storytime I was to review Gaskell’s work Sylvia’s Lovers which I am enjoying on my Nook but if I could be enjoying a real copy, above is the one I would choose. It has character and was my favorite of the many covers I viewed. I crave old books and this one is one I long to own. 

“Set in the isolated whaling port of Monkshaven, Sylvia’s Lovers (1863) exposes the tyrannical press-gangs, one of which carries off Sylvia’s lover, the harpooner Charley Kinraid. Sylvia, left penniless and believing Charley dead, marries her cousin; when her first love returns a hero from the Napoleonic wars, treachery is revealed and Sylvia must make a fateful choice in this strange and powerful dramatization of human destruction.”

I say I was to review…because I have a confession…I have not finished. You see this is the last of Gaskell’s works for me. I have read it all. It’s hard when you realize that there will be no more from one of your favorite authors. That her words are limited. And so I have savored every moment of Sylvia’s Lovers, with its rough and yet lyrical dialect, its humorous depictions of characters I can see vividly in my head such as Sylvia’s father:

“He had a strong notion of being a kind of  domestic Jupiter.”

“That’s all t’ women know about it. Wi’ them it’s “coompany, coompany, coompany,” an’ they think a man’s no better than theirsels. A’s have yo’ to know a’ve a vast o’ thoughts in myself’, as I’m noane willing to lay out for t’ benefit o’ every man. A’ve niver gotten time for meditation sin’ a were married; leastways, sin’s left t’ sea. Aboard ship, wi niver a woman wi’n leagues o’ hail, and upo’ t’ masthead, in special, a could.”

As I said I am reading it slowly…and enjoying each of its over 400 pages…at times re-reading passages aloud. To me this better pays tribute to Ms. Gaskell. Better to do it this way than to have rushed through this last treasure for me to get my review up in time. I will not. I will savor every page and sigh when I finish for another great writer will have gone silent. What better review or recommendation can one give than that? For with Gaskell no matter which book you choose, you have chosen well.

In Sylvia’s Lovers I have read as Gaskell does what she does best:  spin a story as if a web, a little love, social commentary of humorous intent, memorable characters and the shining of light upon injustice. In Sylivia’s Lovers, we are to learn about the “press gangs”, emissaries of the King’s Navy sent to take men into their ranks by force. Yet another social injustice of a time before that I was unaware of. Perhaps in my confession there is folly but well….

Sometimes one likes foolish people for their folly, better than wise people for their wisdom.”

Elizabeth Gaskell

Wives and Daughters

“Follow this link to the next blog on the Elizabeth Gaskell bicentenary blog tour at November’s Autumn.





  • 14.) Your Gaskell Library – Links to MP3′s, ebooks, audio books, other downloads and reading resources available online: Janite Deb – Jane Austen in Vermont
  • 15) Plymouth Grove – A Visit to Elizabeth Gaskell’s home in Manchester: Tony Grant – London Calling


Filed under Audiobooks, Author Interviews & Posts, Classic Literature, Events

A True Classic: North and South By Elizabeth Gaskell

Our lives can change in a moment. Those truths we hold evident one day can be drastically shattered in another. The people most important to us can be there one second and gone the next. Margaret Hale finds these truths to be evident in her nineteenth year as her world is upended by her father’s resignation from the Church of England and subsequent removal to the northern manufacturing town of Milton. Margaret cannot tell what role she shall take in her new situation as she finds herself torn emotionally. Drawn into the lives of the mill workers, she also finds herself drawn to their mysterious master John Thornton. Elizabeth Gaskell’s classic combines the fundamental issues of her time with the quests of the heart for utter brilliance. This book is one of my all time favorites, I have read it many times and watched the 2004 Mini-series with Richard Armitage so many times…well let’s just say it cannot be counted. I think this classic is often over-looked and would suggestion it to anyone with an affinity for period literature. Gaskell’s other works are also phenomenal with Wives and Daughters being my second personal favorite which also has it’s own wonderful Masterpiece Theatre adaption featuring one of my favorite actresses and favorite Tess of all time: Justine Waddell. However within these two books we see two very different writers in Gaskell. Although both focus on love ultimately, they also lay bare to many truths about life at that time that many may well have wanted to kept hidden in her period. A classic book not to be missed or even read just once but again and again.


Filed under Adult Books, Classic Literature, Masterpiece Theatre

A Smattering of Stuff


 I have been naughty and not posting for some time now. It has been on my list of things to do but something else always seems to need to come first. So here I am but this post maybe be slightly scatterbrained since I have had so much to write about recently. Currently I am absorbed by The Host by Stephenie Meyer.  I had eagerly awaited it’s publication and now I think I can safely say that no one will be disappointed.  I am only about halfway through but it is one not to be put down.  It is a wonderful blend of what makes Stephenie Meyer so great in her young adult books but in a more detailed and adult voice.  Combine that with a wonderful plot reminding me of Scott Westerfeld’s Uglies series and I think she has given us a winner.  I will save my review and final judgement for after I have finished.


  I am also very behind not just on my reading and blogging but also on my watching TV (what is she doing you might wonder). I have yet to begin Masterpiece’s Cranford and am eagerly awaiting time to do so.  Both People Magazine and Vogue gave it glowing reviews. Anytime something of this genre makes it into mainstream culture it is somewhat exciting. Judi Dench I am sure has nothing to do with it right?  But most reviewers and online sources seem to have enjoyed it and I am excited we might have another modern classic take on Elizabeth Gaskell’s work.


     I have also been busily reading children’s books and have some new favorites for this week and last. Everyone at my branch has fallen in love with Down Girl and Sit. A series by Lucy Nolan, illustrated by Mike Reed. Perfectly delicious early chapter books that even parents will find themselve giggling over.  These are not necessarily new but sometimes you just find something that has been on the shelf that you somehow missed.  Early Chapter books are a difficult field because they need to be simplistic and sometimes the plot and writing suffer but now with this set.

    We have also been chuckling over The Perfect Nest by Catherine Friend, illustrated by John Manders.  A delightful picture book invlolving a hungry cat, and some very humorous animals. When Jack the cat concocts a plan to get some much desired eggs he finds himself with more than he can handle. A sure winner but how can you lose with a duck that cries “Sacre bleu!”. Bright colorful illustrations and a wonderful sense of expression make this one to share.

   And so while it may appear I have not been writing I have been working and keeping my eye on lots of new things. A wild array of things on this post but so are my tastes in some ways. All in all this summer promises to be a great one for reading with lots of new releases so don’t forget to check some out at your local library or book store.

Leave a comment

Filed under Adult Books, Children's Literature, Children's Picture Books, Masterpiece Theatre, New Books, Young Adult Books