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Elizabeth Gaskell's last novel was serialized in Cornhill Magazine from 1864 to 1866, and completed by her editor posthumously. It looks at English life in the 1830s through the experiences of Molly Gibson, the daughter of a widowed doctor growing up in the provincial town of Hollingford. When Mr. Gibson decides to marry again, Molly is forced to contend with a pretentious stepmother, but consoled by a close friendship with Cynthia, her new stepsister. The girls' relations with the local residents, particularly the Squire of Hamley Hall and his family, make for incidents comic, romantic, and tragic, by turns. (Summary by Elizabeth Klett)