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A Dark Night's Work Paperback – Large Print, January 3, 2007

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About the Author

English novelist and short story writer Elizabeth Gaskell is known for her biography of Charlotte Bronte. Her works emanate human passions and express reflections on various aspects of society. She wrote for Thomas Hardy's magazine in later life.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 248 pages
  • Publisher: ReadHowYouWant; EasyRead Edition edition (January 3, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1425069665
  • ISBN-13: 978-1425069667
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.6 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #16,069,594 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

29 of 29 people found the following review helpful By M.Jacobsen TOP 1000 REVIEWER on February 10, 2010
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Published in 1863, A Dark Night's Work is the story of Ellinor Wilkins, daughter to a well-to-do country lawyer in rural England. Having lost her mother and sister at a very young age, Ellinor develops an intense bond with her father and enjoys all of his attention and financial comforts throughout her childhood.

Her bond with Mr. Wilkins is so strong that, as is wont to happen in these circumstances, Ellinor is also blind to his faults, not the least of which are an over-reaching pride and drunkenness. As Ellinor grows into adulthood, she will eventually meet and become engaged to a young man of a noble family.

Just as she is about to float blindly from one comfortable life with her father into another with a husband, tragedy strikes.

Mr. Wilkins, in a fit of drunken rage, commits murder. Desperate to avoid the disgrace, Ellinor, her father and a family servant hide the body.

From here on out, the story is chiefly concerned with the effects of a guilty conscious. Each person concerned deals with the guilt in devastating ways and the effects are far-reaching into the future.

Gaskell's forte with this novella is her examination of character and tragedy. She foreshadows early in the story,

"...it is approaching all of us at this very time; you, reader, I, writer, have each our great sorrow bearing down on us. It may be yet beyond the dimmest point of our horizon, but in the stillness of the night our hearts shrink at the sound of its coming footstep. Well is it for those who fall into the hands of the Lord rather than into the hands of men; but worst of all is it for him who has hereafter to mingle the gall of remorse with the cup held out to him by his doom.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Laura Govia on November 27, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
While not quite "high" literature, this is far from a pot boiler. Gaskell brilliantly explores the classism of Victorian England through the development of Mr. Wilkins' character without having the narrator intrude upon the story with unwanted moralizing on the subject.
Although the novel fills its quota for the heroine's fainting, the melodrama is kept to a minimum and does not offend the sensibilities of a 21st-century reader.
I would recommend it to anyone who would like to read a well-plotted, suspenseful novel by an author with an eye toward the larger issues of her time and the sympathy to create honest and all-too-human characters.
This version is good in spite of a typo or two, but I won't complain. It was free, after all.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Nancy Banner on October 19, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Well written, an adequately complex plot, good group of characters, with a satisfactory ending. One can imagine being in this situation, and faced with how to deal with it. I used this kindle book to contribute to the public domain audio book version, published on Librivox.org.
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By Diana S. Long on June 8, 2015
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Another well written novella by Mrs. Gaskill. In this story the protagonist begins as a child who is dearly loved by her widowed father. What causes the changes in their relationship is the main focus of the story. I really thought the author did superbly with her subject in this work and as usual causes one to think. I found it bittersweet in content and very in depth characters.
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5 of 18 people found the following review helpful By Smartcat on July 31, 2010
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I found A Dark Night's Work to be very tedious to read as it gets too bogged down in old fashioned, formal language and social class ideals. The story, although potentially interesting, is very slow moving and in the end i decided not to waste time finishing it. Apologies to the author,but that's how I see it.
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