I was prepping in my mind a glowing review of Wives and Daughters, but alas, it is not to be. I got to the end to realize that there was no end at all.
But let me back up.
I borrowed the movie Wives and Daughters from a good friend, and having seen, loved, read, and loved North and South by the same author, and based on the rave reviews of friends, I was excited to watch the movie. It is an A&E five-ish hour excellent film, which I highly recommend (if you like that kind of thing). I then put the book on hold at the library, and have been thoroughly enjoying it for the past week.
Until today. I thought the movie wound things up a too little quickly for my liking, but if it was based on the book, I could hardly blame the filmmakers unless it varied significantly from the book. And it did. But the movie ended better.
Now, before you go disparaging the author, I'm sure she did not intend to die before finishing the book, but alas, that is what she did.
So the book doesn't end. You don't get to read and revel in the happily ever after. Of course there is an editor's note that details briefly Gaskell's known plans for the ending, but "and they would have done such-and-such and then so-and-so did thus" is not nearly as satisfying as watching it play out scene by scene. I can't say too much, or it would give a way the entire plot to the movie as well as the book, but you get the idea.
I'm a little disappointed, but overall, I'm not sorry I read the book. I just wish I would have known beforehand that it was unfinished. I guess that's what I get for not doing my homework.