Cousin Phyllis by Elizabeth Gaskell

Cousin Phyllis ia a novel written by Elizabeth Gaskell in 1864. It was published in four parts, and it’s said to be one of  Elizabeth Gaskell’s most mature works.

The story is about Paul Manning, a youth of nineteen who arrives in Elthan full of enthusiasm to work as a clerk to Mr. Haldsworth, a railway engineer. In Ethan Paul meets his mother’s family, the learned Reverend Holman and his daughter Phillis who is confused by her own placement at the age of adolescence. They gave Paul a warm welcome into their home (The Hope Farm).  When Mr. Holdworth, a handsome and experienced young man, meets the Holmans, they get captive by his wit and knowledge of the world. They become regular visitors that enchanted summer, until Mr. Holdsworth decides going to work to Canada. In Canada Mr. Holdworth meets a French woman, Lucille Ventadur, and decides to marry her. The novel depicts the changes in society which were taking place in the last eighties, when a modern industrialized word was starting to develop.

Other important characters are, Cousin Holman, Ibenezzer Holman, who is the Minister’s wife (Mr. Holman’s) and Phillis’ mother. And the new master, the person who comes in the place of Mr. Holdworth when he went to Canada.

I found this novel gripping, quite moving and easy reading, even if it contains old-use words like ‘thy’, (meaning your), that make a dictionary to be useful. I recommend it to readers who like short entertaining love stories.



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