2007: 140. The Ladies of Grace Adieu


“Above all remember this: that magic belongs as much to the heart as to the head and everything which is done, should be done from love or joy or righteous anger.”

The Ladies of Grace Adieu, Susanna Clarke


This book is a collection of short stories, set in the same world as Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell, which was one of my favorite books of 2005.*  Which is to say, they are set in a world where the realm of faerie is real, and interacts with our own (and, in fact, aided England in winning the Napoleonic Wars). The stories are slighter than that book - if Jonathan Strange is Clarke’s version of a thick Victorian Novel, these are her fairy tales.  But they are good - eerie, and odd, magical without being cloying, and, in many instances, feminine where the novel was somewhat masculine. I quite enjoyed the book, and would recommend it, particularly to people who aren’t sure they want to commit to the breadth of Jonathan Strange.  I would say that everyone who like this book would like Strange.  I would also suggest, though, that even if you don’t love this book - find it too odd or precious (neither of which I think it is, but could see someone with less patience for the format) - that you would still find Strange to be a good and ripping yarn.


I should also say that on a shallow note, this book is absolutely gorgeous. I want to get myself a copy of it, in hardcover, just to gaze at in beauty (mine was from the library!)


Recommended for:  People who loved Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell, People who haven’t read that yet because it is intimidatingly fat; people who love fairy tales (especially Rapunzel!)


* Ah! I totally have not yet copied over all my archives from the old blog.  Whoops.  Consider it on my to-do list...


Date/Place Completed: 9/9/07; D.C.

Categories: Fiction; Library Book

© Carrie Dunsmore 2017