Publisher: Penguin books
Price: Rs 250
Rating: 4.5 out of 5
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Seventeen-year-old Molly Gibson worships her widowed father. But when he decides to remarry, Molly's life is thrown off course by the arrival of her vain, shallow and selfish stepmother. There is some solace in the shape of her new stepsister Cynthia, who is beautiful, sophisticated and irresistible to every man she meets.
I wanted to read something in classic and I chose this book for no good reason and to be frank I wasn't really looking forward to it...Like that of the tale of Cinderella with a differemce that our widowed father Mr.Gibson has a teenage daughter Molly Gibson rather than a kido like Cinderella, and he decides to remarry and predicatably a bad choice...
Life of seventeen year year old Molly is that of super contend and quiet well that is how we can describe it until her fathers decision to remarry, though not entirely happy about her father's decision , she is only too happy to learn when Claire or Hyacinth Kirkpatrick , Mrs Gibson to be daughter Cynthia Kirkpatrick..Utterly beautiful who carries an air of charm around her somehow also carries an air of mystery and secret naive and plain Molly seem like an opposite pole to her step sister..Far from being happy Molly's life begins to tumble down with feelings of despair about Mrs Gibson's attitude and her own father's happiness she is also intrigued by the secret thread between Mr. Preston and Cynthia..Still the step sisters hit it well and their love, friendship, gossip and drama makes a good read...Though not completely vicious Mrs Gibson turns out to be ego-centric, and self-indulgent, evn when manages to speak sweetly to Molly something just doesn't seem right about it..
Set in 1830's English land of Hollingford, this book is a treat to a person who finds it fascinating like that me except for the matchmaking process..Molly world that changes with her father's marriage keeps up with the changing Victorian era beautifully intertwined...I was reminded of Austen's work time and again , I guess largerly because of the era both authors where romancing with...Right from the beginning what appealed to me was the contrast of ideology between the generation depicted and aptly presented through the characters while Countess of Cumnor Tower is a torch bearer of aristocratic conservative British society quite an opposite to free thinking Molly Gibson .. We are also introduced to Roger second son Squire Hamley and his elder son who also moves through that track...Hamley household treats Molly one among them yet there is a secret that might shatter Dr.Gibson..
Hamley's sons stay true to the modern young crowd who are ambitious, inspired by science, philosophy away from the old stigma and theories, they question the practice that are in practice for the sake of it..Attitude of people reflects through dialogues and thoughts, for instance Roger, who is well known for his work and travel, still Mrs Gibson takes notice of him when he is included into the inner circle of Hollingford..Even as Mr. Gibson preaches on science and developments thinking progressively, at the very same time he asks his governess to teach Molly the things that would make his daughter an obedient wife rather than an free soul...All along Molly is taught to curb her feeling never to open up her thoughts and in case she has her thoughts she has an options to spend in on solitude..While her step mother is all set to push her into a life of false pride and aristocratic immunity with no space for a person's character and personality but just the family name and hierarchy in society..I almost lost my cool when I read the ending of book man but well I don't want to spoil the suspense, but the truth is there is no ending because Gaskell didn't complete this book though you get an idea of how it might end....What I loved about Gaskell is her brilliant dramatics and portrayal of each and every character throughout the book...
For me Wives and Daughters is my cup of classic with drama, mystery, romance, love, friendship in an era that had the essence of transformation breaking free from tradition...I would definitely give a try on her other works...