I won’t say she was silly, but I think one of us was silly, and it wasn’t me!

Summary – Elizabeth Gaskell’s tragically unfinished novel about family bonds and tensions.

The Perfect Drink – We feel Wives and Daughters would be best enjoyed with a fragrant rose petal tea – a choice that would reflect both its Englishness and its rural charm. Roses would pair well with the romances and courtships that abound in the novel – Cynthia memorably receives bouquets from her rivals, and tears them apart to deck Molly’s hair. We’d recommend drinking your tea from a thin china teacup to compliment the perfumed and delicate flavour.

The Perfect Snack – Gaskell’s novel reflects on the importance of home and family. You could capture this sense of of homeliness with freshly baked biscuits, still warm from the oven. We’d recommend something quite simple, perhaps a crumbly, buttery shortbread with a dusting of sugar on the top. (Shortbread would also bring to mind Mr Gibson’s obscure, but undoubtedly Scottish descent). If you’re reading this in late summer, you could cut through the sweetness with a punnet of blackberries – just like Molly picks for Cynthia.

The Perfect Place – In a window seat overlooking a summer garden, or in a comfortable chair at your kitchen table.

How would you read Wives and Daughters? Let us know in the comments below! We’d love to hear from you.