Overdosing on Victorians

December 18, 2009

I think that this has clearly been my season to go overboard on Victorian literature and historical fiction. After finishing the Dickens, I started Elizabeth Gaskell’s North and South. So far, I’m enjoying the book, but I’ve only just begun, so I’m interested to see how I feel as the book gets deeper into the plot. The reviewers on the Classics Circuit have, in general, given tepid praise to the book. I hope that Gaskill’s occasional urge to “preach” doesn’t bother me too much. I laughed at the story about Gaskill’s shock upon discovering the true identity of George Eliot, as related at Moored at Sea. I would suggest reading the story if you haven’t already.

My need for comfort reads didn’t disappear one I set aside the Dostoevsky. Since then, I’ve read two more historical fiction mystery books. That’s right, after finishing the first book in the Lady Emily Ashton series, I went out and got the next two. The general consensus that the books improve as the series continues is definitely correct. I’ve enjoyed both of these even more than I did the first book. I especially loved spending time in Vienna in A Fatal Waltz. It’s so much fun to read about Emily and her friends raising eyebrows all over Victorian England.



  1. I love Gaskell and North & South is one of my favourite. I first studied it for its interesting social issues development, the troubled conflictual relationship between masters and workers, the appalling living conditions of the poor, for the theme of “free will” … later I realized that I loved it especially for the love -story blossoming in that very difficult context between the two protagonists. I don’ want to spoil the pleasure of reading and discovering all that by yourself, so I’ll stop here. Let’s see what you’ll think in the end. Enjoy your readings!

    • Wow, your description of North and South is just beautiful! I am enjoying it very much so far, and already I love Margaret.

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