Sep. 4th, 2017

skygiants: (wife of bath)
Pretty much immediately after finishing Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell I went to get The Ladies of Grace Adieu and Other Stories out of the library! I don't know if I would have loved the stories so much if I wasn't already invested in Clarke's world and the way she uses anecdotes within context to further develop the scope of it; on the other hand, I don't know that I wouldn't have, either, because honestly the stories are delightful and I don't think there was a single one that didn't work for me.

The Ladies of Grace Adieu: The most direct link to Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell; three respectable country ladies have a very nineteenth-century problem (an impoverished officer who is the only guardian to a pair of tiny heiresses) and achieve for themselves a suitably creepy magical solution. Jonathan Strange cameos, and is confounded.

On Lickerish Hill: A spirited young sixteenth-century lady confounds her abusive husband with the assistance of a fairy and several confused natural philosophers, in my new favorite version of Rumpelstiltskin.

Mrs Mabb: A very Austenian fairy tale, in which a young lady is jilted in favor of the mysterious Mrs Mabb, who is probably not human, and then goes on to rescue her love interest anyway despite the consternation of her harried and sensible older sister and the rest of the community.

The Duke of Wellington Misplaces His Horse: It's in Faerie. The Duke of Wellington is not prepared to cope. This story is cute but there's not much to it.

Mr. Simonelli, or The Faerie Widower: Mr. Simonelli, a wildly rude and arrogant young scholar with generally good intentions, a Mysterious Past, and a minimum of self-awareness, accidentally makes the acquaintance of a fairy gentleman and must resort to Schemes to rescue several local young ladies from becoming the fairy's next kidnapped wife. Simonelli is awful and I love him. HE TRIED HIS BEST.

Tom Brightwind, or How the Fairy Bridge Was Built at Thoresby: The introduction explains that (in the context of JSMN-verse) this is just one of a whole tradition of 'Tom and David' stories about earnest Jewish doctor David Montefiore and fairy pal Tom Brightwind Having Adventures and Arguing Ethics and I want to read every single one of them.

Antickes and Frets: Mary, Queen of Scots attempts to use magic tapestries to overthrow Queen Elizabeth, which goes about as well as you'd expect for any scheme put together by Mary, Queen of Scots.

John Uskglass and the Cumbrian Charcoal Burner: The introduction (and a footnote in JSMN, if I remember correctly) explain that this is a common example of the kind of folk tale beloved by peasants, in which the great and powerful are comically embarrassed by their social inferiors. I, a humble peasant, also enjoy watching great and powerful magician-kings be comically embarrassed by their social inferiors.

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