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The Channings by Mrs. Henry Wood

The Channings

by Mrs. Henry Wood

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Unlike her better known sensational 'East Lynne', this is a rather more sedate domestic novel revolving around the trials and tribulations of a middle class family, much in the style of Mrs Gaskell and Trollope, but with weaker characterisations and more schmaltz. Like many of Trollope's novels, it revolves around the consequences of a false accusation, but her insights into guilt and self-sacrifice are rather superficial. The plotting of the theft mystery is also rather manipulative and dishonest. Its redeeming feature are the comedy scenes around secondary characters, all rather less pious than the titular family and rather good fun, particularly proto-slacker Roland Yorke and family and the school porter Ketch, perpetual victim of schoolboy pranks. ( )
1 vote MariaAlhambra | Nov 22, 2010 |
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The sweet bells of Helstonleigh Cathedral were ringing out in the summer's afternoon.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 080959577X, Hardcover)

Gripping novels often create suspense by making the stakes very high: life-or-death struggles, violence or destruction on a global scale. _The Channings_ generates similar tension from much smaller stakes: someone has spilled ink on a choirboy's gown, 20 pounds are missing, and a young man burns a candle in his room half the night for reasons he refuses to reveal. In the English cathedral town of Helstonleigh, such enigmas loom large, and Mrs. Henry Wood shows how such seemingly small mysteries can change the fates of entire families -- and how the suspense of such mysteries can keep the reader turning the pages. _The Channings_ follows the fortunes of one Helstonleigh family, the Channings, as their doings are intertwined with those of other townsfolk and of the boys at the local cathedral school. Such communities, with their successes, jealousies, disappointments, secrets, romances, sacrifices and rogues, were Wood's forte. . . .

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 17:57:45 -0400)

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