|Author||Harriet Martineau||Width||2 mm|
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Author: Harriet Martineau
When the Ibbotson sisters, Hester and Margaret, arrive at the village of Deerbrook to stay with their cousin Mr. Grey and his wife, speculation is rife that one of them might marry the local apothecary, Edward Hope. Although he is immediately attracted to Margaret, Hope is ultimately persuaded to marry the beautiful Hester and becomes trapped in an unhappy marriage. His tr When the Ibbotson sisters, Hester and Margaret, arrive at the village of Deerbrook to stay with their cousin Mr. Grey and his wife, speculation is rife that one of them might marry the local apothecary, Edward Hope. Although he is immediately attracted to Margaret, Hope is ultimately persuaded to marry the beautiful Hester and becomes trapped in an unhappy marriage. His troubles are compounded when a malicious village gossip accuses Hope of grave-robbing, threatening his career. A powerful exploration of the nature of ignorance and prejudice, Deerbrook also may be regarded as one of the first Victorian novels of English domestic life. Excerpt: Every town-bred person who travels in a rich country region, knows what it is to see a neat white house planted in a pretty situation, - in a shrubbery, or commanding a sunny common, or nestling between two hills, - and to say to himself, as the carriage sweeps past its gate, I should like to live there, - I could be very happy in that pretty place. Transient visions pass before his minds-eye of dewy summer mornings, when the shadows are long on the grass, and of bright autumn afternoons, when it would be luxury to saunter in the neighbouring lanes; and of frosty winter days, when the sun shines in over the laurustinus at the window, while the fire burns with a different light from that which it gives in the dull parlours of a city. Mr. Greys house had probably been the object of this kind of speculation to one or more persons, three times a week, ever since the stage-coach had begun to pass through Deerbrook. Deerbrook was a rather pretty village, dignified as it was with the woods of a fine park, which formed the back-ground to its best points of view. Of this pretty village, Mr. Greys was the prettiest house, standing in a field, round which the road swept. There were trees enough about it to shade without darkening it, and the garden and shrubbery behind were evidently of no contemptible extent. The timber and coal yards, and granaries, which stretched down to the river side, were hidden by a nice management of the garden walls, and training of the shrubbery. In the drawing-room of this tempting white house sat Mrs. Grey and her eldest daughter, one spring evening.