But, for all her screen, she felt a pair of eyes were fixed upon her with a glow of admiration deepening their honest brightness. Somehow, look in what direction she would, she caught the glance of those eyes before she could see anything else. So she played with her apron-strings, and tried not to feel so self-conscious. There were another pair of eyes,-not such beautiful, sparkling eyes,-deep-set, earnest, sad, nay even gloomy, watching her every movement; but of this she was not aware. Philip had not recovered from the rebuff she had given him by refusing his offered hand, and was standing still, in angry silence, when Mrs. Corney thrust a young woman just arrived upon his attention. -from Chapter XII: New Year's Fête As interest in 19th-century English literature by women has been reinvigorated by a resurgence in popularity of the works of Jane Austen, readers are rediscovering a writer whose fiction, once widely beloved, fell by the wayside. British novelist ELIZABETH CLEGHORN GASKELL (1810-1865)-whose books were sometimes initially credited to, simply, Mrs. Gaskell-is now recognized as having created some of the most complex and broadminded depictions of women in the literature of the age, and is today justly celebrated for her precocious use of the regional dialect and slang of England's industrial North. Sylvia's Lovers-Gaskell's fifth novel, first published in 1863-is the melodramatic tale of a star-crossed romantic triangle between farmgirl Sylvia Robson and the two men who love her: her cousin Philip and sailor Charlie Kinread. Though today considered one of Gaskell's minor works, the author herself called Sylvia's Lovers the saddest story I ever wrote. Friend and literary companion to such figures as Charles Dickens and Charlotte Brontë-the latter of whom Gaskell wrote an applauded 1857 biography-Gaskell is today being restored to her rightful place alongside her. This delightful replica volume is an excellent opportunity for 21st-century fans of British literature to embrace one of its most unjustly forgotten authors.
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