Customer Review

21 of 22 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Ladies, ladies!, 6 Nov 2006
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

Be the first person to comment on this review.

[Add comment]
Post a comment
To insert a product link use the format: [[ASIN:ASIN product-title]] (What's this?)
Amazon will display this name with all your submissions, including reviews and discussion posts. (Learn more)
Name:
Badge:
This badge will be assigned to you and will appear along with your name.
There was an error. Please try again.
Please see the full guidelines ">here.

Official Comment

As a representative of this product you can post one Official Comment on this review. It will appear immediately below the review wherever it is displayed.   Learn more
The following name and badge will be shown with this comment:
 (edit name)
After clicking on the Post button you will be asked to create your public name, which will be shown with all your contributions.

Is this your product?

If you are the author, artist, manufacturer or an official representative of this product, you can post an Official Comment on this review. It will appear immediately below the review wherever it is displayed.  Learn more
Otherwise, you can still post a regular comment on this review.

Is this your product?

If you are the author, artist, manufacturer or an official representative of this product, you can post an Official Comment on this review. It will appear immediately below the review wherever it is displayed.   Learn more
 
System timed out

We were unable to verify whether you represent the product. Please try again later, or retry now. Otherwise you can post a regular comment.

Since you previously posted an Official Comment, this comment will appear in the comment section below. You also have the option to edit your Official Comment.   Learn more
The maximum number of Official Comments have been posted. This comment will appear in the comment section below.   Learn more
Prompts for sign-in
 


Review Details

Item

4.1 out of 5 stars (35 customer reviews)
5 star:
 (16)
4 star:
 (13)
3 star:
 (2)
2 star:
 (3)
1 star:
 (1)
 
 
 
16.99 13.59
Add to basket Add to wishlist
Reviewer


Location: MD USA

Top Reviewer Ranking: 179