The Poor Clare
Rage and revenge mix with witchcraft and religion in a high Gothic tale of irredeemable love
One of the most important writers of the Victorian era, especially notable as an era when it was difficult for female writers to be heard, Elizabeth Gaskell is best known as the author of the acclaimed social novels Cranford, Mary Barton, andNorth and South.
But Gaskell also wrote in other genres. The Poor Clare is one of her Gothic tales, the story of Bridget Fitzgerald, who unwittingly puts a curse on her own estranged daughter and the granddaughter she did not know existed. When she discovers that the curse has fallen on her own kin, Bridget submits herself to the rituals of an obscure religious sect, hoping to lift the curse.
The Poor Clare sensitively treats issues of class and Catholic and Protestant religious tension in Victorian England, and is an innovative and thrilling gem from Gaskell's wide-ranging oeuvre.