Monday, April 15, 2013

Wives and Daughters

I was first introduced to Elizabeth Gaskell and Wives and Daughters by fellow Blogger, Amy Dashwood from Yet Another Period Drama Blog here. I must admit a very shameful thing: I didn't finish the book. It was Christmas time, school exams were looming their ugly head and Miss Dashwood also was very busy, so everything got put off. I hope to pick it up again soon and finishing it. Because it was good. I have, however seen the delightful Wives and Daughters mini-series. For those of you who don't know what Wives and Daughters in, I'll give you a quick synopsis:
Molly Gibson, a young doctors daughter, suddenly must deal with many changes. Her dear father and her have lived all alone, ever since molly's mother died when Molly was very young. Molly and her father were very close. She was his dear "Goosey." Then her father announces that he is to be married to a Ms. Kirkpatrick, who Molly hardly knows. Molly was perfectly happy and thought her father had been too... So, Ms. Kirkpatrick turns into Mrs. Gibson. Molly tries patiently to adjust and please the new Mrs. Gibson.... but it just doesn't seem to be working. Then, Mrs. Gibson's daughter, young, pretty Miss Cynthia Kirkpatrick comes to stay. Molly and Cynthia are fast friends. Soon though, things get more complicated when Cynthia starts keeping secrets, the townspeople start gossiping, and the young man Molly likes starts falling for Cynthia!
This is all I will tell you; if you'd like to know more, I shall be aggravating and insist you either watch the movie or read the book. ;) I will now start on my view of the interesting characters:

                                                     Molly Gibson
I personally love Molly. She is young, naive, strong, feminine, and mature. All in one. Molly starts out as a young girl, anywhere from eight to ten, I would guess. She is at the annual... for lack of a better word, tour, of the "grand house" of the village. Molly gets tired and falls asleep, the governess, Claire Kirkpatrick finds her and takes her to her room and eats the food provided for Molly. She then promptly forgets about Molly and let's the tour leave without her. This is Molly's first impression of her-soon-to-be-stepmother. Molly is then picked up by her father, and you get to see their close relationship. Molly then is shown as a lovely seventeen. She is reading, in one of the nicest pictures, here, I'll post it for you.
She has her own r.h.y.m as Miss Dashwood pointed out. This Emily of New Moon reference amused me greatly. So, I shall put it in too. Emily is very kind to both young men who are training with her father. She has no idea that that r.h.y.m. is being a very silly coxcomb over her. When her father intercepts a letter by him meant for Molly, he decides Molly should take an extended visit to his friends,the Hamley's. Mrs. Hamley is lovely and Mr. Hamley is a hoot. My favorite line of his is, "I'm not saying she was very silly, but one of us was being silly, and it wasn't me." :) Molly is a very nice house guest  and everyone comes to love her. She is very good friends with them all, especially their sons, Roger and Osborne. Roger helps her through the shocking news of her father's upcoming nuptials. Molly shows her sweetness and perseverance when the exasperating Mrs. Gibson arrives to change everything Molly holds dear. Molly also shows a lovely sisterly bond with Cynthia Kirkpatrick, her new stepsister. She could be envious and sulky, as everyone seems to view Cynthia as a "belle" rather overshadowing poor Molly. (Personally, I think Molly's prettier, but that's just my opinion. Or maybe I'm just being biased, I don't know.) Instead, Molly delights in Cynthia's popularity and beauty, and thinks Cynthia is wonderful. She is rather wonderful in some ways, but not in others... more on her later.
Doctor Gibson
I just love this picture. It shows Dr. Gibson and Molly's lovely relationship. :) Anyway, I was surprised to find that many people don't seem to like Dr. Gibson. They seem to feel he can be "creepy" or that it seems he doesn't seem to love Molly all that much. I think this stems from his way of showing affection. He is not a man to hug all the time and say "I love you." He has other ways of showing affection. He teases and calls Molly "Goosey." He really tries to do the best for Molly. I think some people blame him for not thinking of her when he remarries. I disagree with this entirety. Believe it or not, most of his reason for marrying Ms. Kirkpatrick was for Molly's sake. After the Mr. Cox fiasco, he decided Molly needed a "mother." I cannot excuse his pick of Ms. Kirkpatrick, but sometimes men can be so very dense. ;) Anyway, she wasn't the worst person he could choose. (She was pretty bad, but there are worse people! For some reason though, all the good examples left my head and all I can think of is Cinderella's stepmother...) Dr. Gibson is sometimes awkward, rough, and short tempered, but overall, he has a good heart and loves Molly dearly.
Hyacinth Gibson nee Kirkpatrick
Here she is in all her glory. Hyacinth Kirkpatrick Gibson is vain, silly, and rather thoughtless. I wouldn't say she is cruel. At least, not often. Most things are just.... thoughtless, like I said. Like the time she had Molly's room redone because she was making over Cynthia's new room. She meant it kindly, but Molly liked her room and didn't want it changed. She also was rather a social climber and bothered me with her haughtiness.  Like when dear Mr. Hamley comes and talks of having Molly visit poor Mrs. Hamley. Mrs. Gibson cuts in with her "an engagement is an engagement." ("did I say an engagement was an elephant?!" Sorry, couldn't help myself there.) And her meddling! When she finds out Osborne is *SPOILER* deathly ill, all the sudden Roger is welcome to come by, because he is set to inherit!*END OF SPOILER* So, in my opinion Ms. Gibson is no good. She's not bad, per se, but she is NOT good, if that makes sense. That is all.
Cynthia Kirkpatrick
Ah, now to Cynthia. What to say about Cynthia.... I like her but I don't love her. She can be very nice, funny, and the way she deals with her mother is rather laughable. On the other hand, she uses men very badly, she is flippant, and doesn't seem capable of deep affection in many cases. She plays havoc with several young man's hearts, keeps secrets from Molly, and is sometimes vain and silly. And not the good silly. But I do like her, I do. She is a wonderful sister to Molly and really seems to care about Dr. Gibson. So yeah, I guess that's it.
Roger Hamley
Ah, dear Roger. I liked him from the very beginning. I always love the underdog, and everyone seemed to like Osborne best, so I decided to like Roger. My feelings were justified when Roger came and helped dear Molly through her pain and confusion about her father remarrying. He was like a brother figure, caring for Molly. Which was wonderful... and bothersome. He treated Molly like a young child, when she was seventeen! Other than that though, he was lovely. Also, he and his father had a wonderful relationship. I also love how much he likes science and his job. It's always wonderful to see someone enjoying themselves so much. That's all I can say about Roger without giving too much away.
Osborne Hamley
So we are to Mr. Collins Osborne. That is literally how I thought of him throughout the movie. The idea of Osborne being the handsomest of the brothers, and the smartest, and a poet? No. Still, he did a good job. I liked him, but disliked his choices in life. A wife, with no prospects, no way to take care of her? Especially a wife with child? Bad idea. His love of her though was wonderful. When he spoke of her to Molly, my heart melted. And the way his mother doted on him was sweet. and you could tell how much he loved her. He always seemed to upstage poor Roger though, which made me mad. I was still very sad when *SPOILER* he died*END OF SPOILER* I was also sympathetic to his plight. Not too sympathetic  though, because he made those decisions himself.
Mr. and Mrs. Hamley
Mr. and Mrs. Hamley are an unusual couple, but very much in love, which is lovely to see. Mr. Hamley cracks me up. I've mentioned him several times already, and I love his brash, funny, loving manner. Mrs. Hamley is very ill, but she is almost always happy and she is so loving. She is like a mother figure and when she died, it just broke my heart. 
There are other minor characters, but there are so many it would take a while to go into them, and this post is already rather long.
This movie was a BBC adaptation, and was done well, as always. Trust BBC for accurate, entertaining adaptations of classic literature. There was a wonderful movie soundtrack, and the houses and costumes were lovely. The hairstyles were elaborate, to say the least. Overall, I highly recommend Wives and Daughters. Now, I will leave you with this lovely clip from the series!


  1. I'm hoping to either see or watch this later this year... or both! Thanks for the lovely review -- I now have a very good idea what it will be like. I think I'll enjoy it!

  2. I watched this movie about a year ago and enjoyed it a lot. I agree with you about the BBC always doing a great job. I cried at the end because I was so happy for Molly. I was wondering when Roger Hamley was going to "wake up" and smell the coffee.

  3. Hamlette: I'm so glad! I hope you get to see it soon.
    Collar City Brownstone: My eyes got a little watery there too. Lovers can be so blind sometimes.... :)

  4. Oh! Isn't it so much fun? I picked it up from the library several years ago knowing absolutely nothing about it. I loved every minute of it! Molly is so dear and strong and lovely and...... I love her and Roger (who needed his wake up call really badly let me tell you! ;). Nice review! :)