Cousin Phillis and Other Tales by Elizabeth Gaskell 4 out of 5 stars I have such mixed feelings about this book. It’s a collection of short stories, and every single one is depressing! These are the saddest, most awful stories I have ever read. The real problem is that the writing is so brilliant that it really makes you care about the characters! So when everything goes wrong, it is absolutely heartbreaking. Also most of the stories finish with a lot of unresolved questions. They end abruptly with someone’s death, and we aren’t told if the surviving characters go on to get married or live happy lives or buy back the farm or anything. Loose ends dangling everywhere! Agh! Very frustrating. I couldn’t finish reading them, because I was getting too depressed.
Update 2021: I finished reading the last two stories in this collection “Curious if True” and “Cousin Phillis”. These stories were a bit happier and more structured, and I enjoyed them!
Maggie endures with patience the selfishness of her mother and brother, and finds friendship with the invalid wife of their rich neighbor, Mr. Buxton. The two families’ destinies become dangerously linked when Maggie’s brother goes astray, and Mr. Buxton demands a high price for saving him.
I loved Maggie’s strong character! She has a quiet and meek personality, but wonderfully fierce in her defense of the truth. I really loved her character development as she strives to make good decisions for her family.
Maggie’s mother is weak and foolish, and spoils the son, Edward, with too much attention. I was so annoyed with the stupid mother for not seeing how she ruined her child by encouraging his selfish behavior. I really hated Edward, Maggie’s brother. He is so rude to his sister, always expecting her to do everything for him and get him out of trouble.
It’s excellent writing that made me so annoyed with the bad characters, and so in love with the good characters! Continue reading →
A list of my top ten favorite fictional siblings! Who are your favorites?
And an honorable mention to Molly and Cynthia, who are stepsisters in “Wives and Daughters” by Elizabeth Gaskell ! They aren’t technically siblings, but they get credit for being so sweet to each other. They may not share DNA, but they share their hearts. Aawww….
Swallows and Amazons by Arthur Ransome
Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis
The Story of the Treasure Seekers by Edith Nesbit
Five Children and It by Edith Nesbit
Little Women by L. M. Alcott
Little Men by L.M. Alcott
Rainbow Valley by L. M. Montgomery
Cheaper by the Dozen by Ernestine and Frank Gilbreth Jr.
Belles on their Toes by Ernestine and Frank Gilbreth Jr.
Lord of the Rings- by J. R. R. Tolkien
Knock Three Times by Marion St. John Webb
The Books of Pellinor by Alison Croggon