A novel by Mrs Gaskell, published 1863.
The scene is the whaling port of Monkshaven (based on Whitby in Yorkshire) during the Napoleonic wars, and the plot hinges on the activities of the press‐gangs whose seizure of Monkshaven men to man naval warships provokes bitter resentment. The last few chapters of the book, full of heroic rescues, improbable encounters, and death‐bed reunions, are notably inferior to the earlier part of the novel, which is remarkable for its vivid reconstruction of life in the little town dominated by the whaling industry (which Mrs Gaskell carefully researched) and at the farm where noisy, unreasonable Daniel Robinson, his quiet, devoted wife, and their sturdy old servant Kester combine to cherish the much‐loved and lovely but hapless Sylvia.
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Elizabeth Gaskell (1810—1865) novelist and short-story writer