The Ladies of Grace Adieu by Susanna Clarke
So, I picked this book up because I have heard a lot about Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell( here after referred to as JS & Mr. N) by the same author. Being curious I did some investigating and discovered that JS &Mr. N sounded like a book I would like, written in the style of Jane Austen and Charles Dickens with magical twists that often involved fairy folk. The problem? JS & Mr. N is over a thousand pages long. I can barely get through a 200 page novel in two weeks. I really don’t think the library would be pleased with me checking out a book for over two months, plus I wasn’t sure if I would like the author’s writing style.
More investigation ensued wherein I discovered that this little book of short stories all took place, or related back to the world that the author flesh out in JS &Mr. N. Yes, I would get a fun little taste of author’s writing style and JS & Mr. N all in one go without the 1000 page time commitment. So I checked this little book out from the library.
So how did the experiment go? I enjoyed most of the stories in the book and I really did like the writing style. It felt like a mix between J.K. Rowling and Jane Austen, which was like heaven! My top favorites were “The Ladies of Grace Adieu” and “The Duke of Wellington Misplaces His Horse.” The short story collection had a lot variety between the stories. The settings felt different—though most take place in the English country side. There were a variety of characters types—though most stories explored what happened when the fairy world and human world met. I was even surprised at the variety of styles. Some stories were written with unconventional spellings to give the story a more authentic antique feeling, one was told entirely in the format of diary entries.
So overall I enjoyed this experience, though by the end I did get a bit bored, but I don’t know if that is because I tired of the author’s style or if I just didn’t like the last few stories. I still don’t know about committing to reading a 1000 page book, but this was a nice read anyway. It was refreshing to read something a bit out of my normal reading, and a book of short fairy stories hit the spot.