The Ladies of Grace Adieu ~ Susanna Clarke

What a rare treat this was! I’ll throw aside all pretense at impartiality here (heh… like I’m ever impartial about anything!) and say that I loved every page, every picture, every story!

So what’s it all about? Well The Ladies of Grace Adieu is a book of short stories, eight in all, which take place (to varying degrees) in the world Susanna Clarke created in her magnificent novel Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell. An England in which magic exists (though it has largely been forgotten) and the fairy realms are real. So they are fairy tales in a every sense of the word: though not the tinkly, twinkly fairy tales that have been passed down to us through Victorian writers. These are big manly fairy tales! It’s fitting then that both Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell and The Ladies of Grace Adieu take place before the Victorian Era, and one of the great gifts of Susanna Clarke as a writer is that she captures this period beautifully. She brings the Georgian Era to life like no other modern writer I’ve read, and behind all that is the ever present threat of shadows and snow, the distant beating of the raven’s wing. I love it!

It’s hard to choose a favourite story from the collection as each one I read stood out just as strongly as the one before. Clarke offers us a broad selection of tales, from The Ladies of Grace Adieu itself, which sees the return of the great Jonathan Strange, to The Duke of Wellington Misplaces His Horse which sees the old duke having an run in of his own with the world of fairy, to Antickes and Frets which is a strange tale about Mary Queen of Scots and embroidery! If I had to go with one story that really made me smile though, I would plump for Mr Simonelli or The Fairy Widower which captures the magic of Clarke’s writing perfectly for me, the wit of Jane Austin mixed with a liberal dose of fairy cruelty!

My score? Five Stars!

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~ by metafur on May 13, 2011.

2 Responses to “The Ladies of Grace Adieu ~ Susanna Clarke”

  1. Sounds interesting wing, deffo gonna have a look out for this one. Thanks m8, nice write up

  2. Brilliant book Ry, but definitely check out Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell first, for me it’s my favourite book of the 21st century so far. I haven’t enjoyed a book so much since I first read Lord of the Rings as lad.

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