Customer Reviews


33 Reviews
5 star:
 (15)
4 star:
 (13)
3 star:
 (2)
2 star:
 (2)
1 star:
 (1)
 
 
 
 
 
Average Customer Review
Share your thoughts with other customers
Create your own review
 
 

The most helpful favourable review
The most helpful critical review


22 of 22 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Gorgeous
Gorgeous. Beautifully written, delectably malign English fairytales. It's as if Jane Austen met Harry Potter on a lonely path in a dark wood and beat him with a stick until he lost his mind.
Published on 1 Mar 2008 by A. Smith

versus
26 of 29 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Fun With Fairies
The eight short stories in this collection are set in the same England as Clarke's popular novel Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell (which I have not read), an England in which magic is at least nominally present and faeries are human-like creatures with very considerable powers. All but one of the stories, which range in length from a few pages to 45 pages, have been...
Published on 25 Aug 2006 by A. Ross


‹ Previous | 1 2 3 4 | Next ›
Most Helpful First | Newest First

22 of 22 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Gorgeous, 1 Mar 2008
By 
A. Smith - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
Gorgeous. Beautifully written, delectably malign English fairytales. It's as if Jane Austen met Harry Potter on a lonely path in a dark wood and beat him with a stick until he lost his mind.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


21 of 22 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Ladies, ladies!, 6 Nov 2006
By 
E. A Solinas "ea_solinas" (MD USA) - See all my reviews
(HALL OF FAME REVIEWER)    (TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: The Ladies of Grace Adieu (Hardcover)
Susanna Clarke made a dazzling debut with "Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell," which was the sort of fantasy story that Jane Austen would have written. Still fresh from her first bestseller, she presents a new array of captivating stories in "The Ladies of Grace Adieu." But expect it to be more whimsical.

The title story takes place in the magical Regency period of her debut: dull Mr. Field remarries after his wife died, and his pretty second wife, his niece, and a friend soon become good friends. When Mr. Strange passes by on a family errand, he discovers that there is more -- these ladies are all magicians, and have quietly escaped the boundaries placed by society.

From there on, Clarke trips through a series of strange, fantastical stories: when a young newlywed finds that her rich hubby expects her to spin flax, she asks for help from a nasty little fairy, who will kidnap her if she doesn't guess his name. Think a Regency "Rumplestiltskin."

Then a young lady tries to regain her boyfriend from the mysterious "Mrs. Mabb"; a Duke changes his destiny with a pair of scissors and a needle; a Jewish doctor and a fairy nobleman travel through England; the Queen of Scots becomes fascinated by an embroidered figure; and a young pastor finds himself enmeshed with a cruel fairy lord. One of the stories is even set in the world of Neil Gaiman's "Stardust."

"The Ladies of Grace Adieu and Other Stories" is more fantasy and less history than the full-length novel, although it leans more heavily on history. But then, most of these short stories may not be in the same universe, and they range from whimsical little fluff pieces to almost-horror.

Clarke still writes with the solid nineteenth-century style, flavoured with shimmering descriptions of "Pharisees" and odd creatures, although Clarke occasionally skimps on just what "goblin babies" look like.

The second story is also amusingly written in much-mispelled English ("...lookes at me with his bewtiful Eyes..."), and Clarke peppers the other stories with older words like "shewed."

There are also some deeper moments, where Clarke approaches the lack of freedom given to women (magical or not) where they only have marriage to a well-off dullard to look forward to. And though the shorter stories are not much more than fables, the longer ones have intriguing characters who are likable in an understated way.

"The Ladies of Grace Adieu and Other Stories" is a solid little collection, more whimsical than Clarke's first book. Very pleasant Regency "Pharisee" tales.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


27 of 29 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Magical., 18 Jan 2007
By 
L. Doughton (England) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (REAL NAME)   
This review is from: The Ladies of Grace Adieu (Hardcover)
A collection of wonderful short stories upon the themes of English magic and the inhabitants of Faerie by Susanna Clarke, author of Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrel. Once again Clarke's attention to detail, us of annotation and academic conventions bestows an extra layer of realism to these tales, so they read almost as histories, or at least well established folklores with hundreds of years of tradition and storytelling behind them. These are true fairy-tales, in the tradition of the brothers grimm. One or two of the tales may be confusing if the reader is not entirely familiar with the story of Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrel (although the ingenous use of footnotes fills in the gaps for the uninitiated), however for those who found Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrel too long and difficult to get into, this may be the perfect way to get into the work of a truely original writer. And for those who did enjoy it, well, this is just a treat. Highly recommended, Susanna Clarke is definately a writer I will be watching closely from now onwards.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Ladies, ladies!, 12 Oct 2007
By 
E. A Solinas "ea_solinas" (MD USA) - See all my reviews
(HALL OF FAME REVIEWER)    (TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
Susanna Clarke made a dazzling debut with "Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell," which was the sort of fantasy story that Jane Austen would have written. Still fresh from her first bestseller, she presents a new array of captivating stories in "The Ladies of Grace Adieu." But expect it to be more whimsical.

The title story takes place in the magical Regency period of her debut: dull Mr. Field remarries after his wife died, and his pretty second wife, his niece, and a friend soon become good friends. When Mr. Strange passes by on a family errand, he discovers that there is more -- these ladies are all magicians, and have quietly escaped the boundaries placed by society.

From there on, Clarke trips through a series of strange, fantastical stories: when a young newlywed finds that her rich hubby expects her to spin flax, she asks for help from a nasty little fairy, who will kidnap her if she doesn't guess his name. Think a Regency "Rumplestiltskin."

Then a young lady tries to regain her boyfriend from the mysterious "Mrs. Mabb"; a Duke changes his destiny with a pair of scissors and a needle; a Jewish doctor and a fairy nobleman travel through England; the Queen of Scots becomes fascinated by an embroidered figure; and a young pastor finds himself enmeshed with a cruel fairy lord. One of the stories is even set in the world of Neil Gaiman's "Stardust."

"The Ladies of Grace Adieu and Other Stories" is more fantasy and less history than the full-length novel, although it leans more heavily on history. But then, most of these short stories may not be in the same universe, and they range from whimsical little fluff pieces to almost-horror.

Clarke still writes with the solid nineteenth-century style, flavoured with shimmering descriptions of "Pharisees" and odd creatures, although Clarke occasionally skimps on just what "goblin babies" look like.
The second story is also amusingly written in much-mispelled English ("...lookes at me with his bewtiful Eyes..."), and Clarke peppers the other stories with older words like "shewed."

There are also some deeper moments, where Clarke approaches the lack of freedom given to women (magical or not) where they only have marriage to a well-off dullard to look forward to. And though the shorter stories are not much more than fables, the longer ones have intriguing characters who are likable in an understated way.

"The Ladies of Grace Adieu and Other Stories" is a solid little collection, more whimsical than Clarke's first book. Very pleasant Regency "Pharisee" tales.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


26 of 29 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Fun With Fairies, 25 Aug 2006
By 
A. Ross (Washington, DC) - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)    (REAL NAME)   
This review is from: The Ladies of Grace Adieu (Hardcover)
The eight short stories in this collection are set in the same England as Clarke's popular novel Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell (which I have not read), an England in which magic is at least nominally present and faeries are human-like creatures with very considerable powers. All but one of the stories, which range in length from a few pages to 45 pages, have been previously published over the last ten years in various anthologies such as Starlight 1, 2, and 3, and Black Swan, White Raven and Black Heart, Ivory Bones.

Although the leadoff story, which gives the book it's title, concerns Dr. Strange and a trio of witches, the bulk of the stories (and certainly the more memorable ones), revolve around the capricious doings of various powerful fairies. A somewhat less powerful fairy is at the heart of he second story, "On Likerish Hill", which riffs on the Rumplestilsken story. The third story, "Mrs. Mabb", is an excellent old-fashioned tale about a poor young woman whose fiancee has been ensorcelled by a fairy queen. "The Duke of Wellington Misplaces His Horse," is a comic interlude featuring the famous hero of the Peninsular and Napoleonic Wars, and how he survives an accidental visit the the Fairy Kingdom.

Another longer, and somewhat more engaging story is "Mr. Simonelli or the Fairy Widower", in which a Cambridge scholar turned local rector matches wits with the local fairy lord. Another long and fairly decent story is "Tom Brightwind or How the Fairy Bridge...," in which a Jewish doctor and fairy lord making their way cross-country stumble upon a village severely in need of a bridge. What happens is somewhat obvious, but it's a story well told. The seventh story, "Antickes and Frets" is a somewhat perfunctory one about Mary Queen of Scots and some magical embroidery. The final story, which appears here for the first time, is the brief "John Uskglass and the Cumbrian Charcoal Burner". It's another classic story, this time of a lowly woodsman taking on a fairy lord, matching prayers to the saints again fairy magic.

On the whole, the collection should be of great interest to fans of Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell and of intermittent interest to those unfamiliar with Clarke's work. The prose is generally highly formal and stylized, which matches the tone of the stories but becomes somewhat tiresome over the course of a book. Similarly, the plots of the various stories often cover the same ground (humans matching wits with fairies), so that reading the book straight through becomes a touch tedious. Taken individually, each story has something to recommend it, and I suspect that they would feel much more distinctive in their original appearances, alongside the works of many different kinds of writers. in that vein, perhaps the best way to approach this book is to read a story of month or so, mixing it up with other kinds of reading so that Clarke's voice retains its distinctive nature.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


18 of 21 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Age of Magick, 6 Sep 2006
By 
Mr. P. Marcel "Manticore" (Bordeaux, France) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: The Ladies of Grace Adieu (Hardcover)
A collection of Clarke's short stories, published over the years in various venues, with a new one, a folk tale that concerns John Uskglass. Quirky characters, fun mannerist plots, sly humour, magic both exotic and oddly believable, the feel of fairy and folk tales, and fantasy. If you enjoyed STRANGE & NORRELL, you should hugely enjoy this collection of fine tales.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic follow-up to Strange and Norrell, 26 July 2007
By 
LM Berry - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: The Ladies of Grace Adieu (Hardcover)
When I heard that Clarke had written her second book, I eagerly awaited it's release and was not disappointed. My enjoyment of this collection of short stories surprised me since I do not normally opt for this kind of writing. But Clarke has changed my opinion. I often thought that there is not room for character development in short stories, but Clarke manages to build up an image of those she writes about with the greatest ease. With her beautiful writing, she easily creates tales of worlds and people that are full of the magic first seen in Strange and Norrell, and makes them so easy to escape into.
I was particularly impressed with the different style of writing that Clarke adopts in the Rumpelstiltskin style story. This is written from the first person perspective of the main character, and is a great technique for helping the reader get to know the character. Although I found it tricky to adapt to at first, this is now one of my favourites from the book as it further demonstrates the skill in writing that Clarke has.
I would highly recommend this book. Fantastic.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Eight Trips Back to Faerie, 6 July 2012
By 
Sam Quixote - See all my reviews
(TOP 50 REVIEWER)   
In this first collection of short stories, Susanna Clarke returns to the world she created in her first novel, the excellent "Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell", with more stories about the world of Faerie and England. Jonathan Strange visits his wife's brother in the town of Grace Adieu and discovers there three women who secretly practice magic and deal with any menaces that come to their town with strict severity. A re-telling of the folk tale "Tom Tit Tot" is the basis for "On Lickerish Hill" where Clarke employs rural dialect in the telling of a young woman who, in return for a favour from a faerie, must guess his name within one month or else she will become his.

My favourite was probably "Mr Simonelli, or The Faerie Widower" which is about a priest called Mr Simonelli who goes to the town of Allhope to be the new rector there and finds that the town is ruled by a mysterious fellow who lives outside the town in a ramshackle house, whose name is John Hollyshoes. The setting and the air of desolation within an isolated countryside town brought to mind the work of the Bronte sisters, especially Emily, and adds to the atmosphere of blasted heaths and doomed country folk. Who will help them? Mr Simonelli to the rescue! I thought this story was most effective as even though it's set within Clarke's world of faeries and magic and England in the regency period, it stands apart from her novel and could be read by somone unfamiliar with her work and still enjoy it.

"Tom Brightwind, or How the Fairy Bridge was Built at Thoresbury" is another cracking read as is "Mrs Mabb" both of which feel like they had been cut from Clarke's novel and resurrected here but are still pleasures to read nonetheless. The shorter stories, "The Duke of Wellington Misplaces his Horse" and "Antickes and Frets", are both about embroidery and are the less energised of the tales but fit in well between the longer tales as breathers. Both stories are about real people as well, the Duke of Wellington and Mary, Queen of Scots.

There are eight stories in this collection (more! more!) and the first seven have been published before, though I'm glad they were reprinted in this volume as I had no idea that she had had published short stories. The eighth is an unpublished story called "John Uskglass and the Charcoal Burner" which is about a charcoal burner and his pig Blakemore who thwart John Uskglass, The King of the North, and shows Clarke's comedic side in putting down probably the coolest character in her world.

As for the illustrations, they are a wonder, I am going to see about getting some books by Charles Vess, so wonderfully does he draw. And the cover of this book! So eye catching, so classy, so understated yet outstanding! In design and spirit they recall Aubrey Beardley's iconic work. One of the best designed covers I've seen this year.

Clarke writes about magic but she needs none to enchant the reader, using only her skill as a writer and her unique imagination to burn the story into your mind and float into your dreams. A highly recommended read and I'm not the only one who hopes that the sequel to "Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell" won't take her nearly as long as her first book (which I think was around ten years). Meanwhile, books like this are designed to stop the hunger but I for one am only made hungrier for more. Keep it up and keep them coming, Ms Clarke!
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Eight Trips Back to Faerie, 5 Nov 2006
By 
Sam Quixote - See all my reviews
(TOP 50 REVIEWER)   
In this first collection of short stories, Susanna Clarke returns to the world she created in her first novel, the excellent "Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell", with more stories about the world of Faerie and England. Jonathan Strange visits his wife's brother in the town of Grace Adieu and discovers there three women who secretly practice magic and deal with any menaces that come to their town with strict severity. A re-telling of the folk tale "Tom Tit Tot" is the basis for "On Lickerish Hill" where Clarke employs rural dialect in the telling of a young woman who, in return for a favour from a faerie, must guess his name within one month or else she will become his.

My favourite was probably "Mr Simonelli, or The Faerie Widower" which is about a priest called Mr Simonelli who goes to the town of Allhope to be the new rector there and finds that the town is ruled by a mysterious fellow who lives outside the town in a ramshackle house, whose name is John Hollyshoes. The setting and the air of desolation within an isolated countryside town brought to mind the work of the Bronte sisters, especially Emily, and adds to the atmosphere of blasted heaths and doomed country folk. Who will help them? Mr Simonelli to the rescue! I thought this story was most effective as even though it's set within Clarke's world of faeries and magic and England in the regency period, it stands apart from her novel and could be read by somone unfamiliar with her work and still enjoy it.

"Tom Brightwind, or How the Fairy Bridge was Built at Thoresbury" is another cracking read as is "Mrs Mabb" both of which feel like they had been cut from Clarke's novel and resurrected here but are still pleasures to read nonetheless. The shorter stories, "The Duke of Wellington Misplaces his Horse" and "Antickes and Frets", are both about embroidery and are the less energised of the tales but fit in well between the longer tales as breathers. Both stories are about real people as well, the Duke of Wellington and Mary, Queen of Scots.

There are eight stories in this collection (more! more!) and the first seven have been published before, though I'm glad they were reprinted in this volume as I had no idea that she had had published short stories. The eighth is an unpublished story called "John Uskglass and the Charcoal Burner" which is about a charcoal burner and his pig Blakemore who thwart John Uskglass, The King of the North, and shows Clarke's comedic side in putting down probably the coolest character in her world.

As for the illustrations, they are a wonder, I am going to see about getting some books by Charles Vess, so wonderfully does he draw. And the cover of this book! So eye catching, so classy, so understated yet outstanding! In design and spirit they recall Aubrey Beardley's iconic work. One of the best designed covers I've seen this year.

Clarke writes about magic but she needs none to enchant the reader, using only her skill as a writer and her unique imagination to burn the story into your mind and float into your dreams. A highly recommended read and I'm not the only one who hopes that the sequel to "Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell" won't take her nearly as long as her first book (which I think was around ten years). Meanwhile, books like this are designed to stop the hunger but I for one am only made hungrier for more. Keep it up and keep them coming, Ms Clarke!
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


8 of 10 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The Ladies of Grace Adieu, by Miss Susanna Clarke - a Critickal Review, 7 Dec 2007
I 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.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


‹ Previous | 1 2 3 4 | Next ›
Most Helpful First | Newest First

This product

The Ladies of Grace Adieu
The Ladies of Grace Adieu by Susanna Clarke (Hardcover - 16 Oct 2006)
13.59
In stock
Add to basket Add to wishlist
Only search this product's reviews