A departure from the stories Elizabeth Gaskell wrote for Charles Dickens’s Household Words magazine, The Poor Clare is a dark, gothic novella of thwarted love and a family curse that vividly illustrates the social tensions of Victorian England.
The purposeful slaying of lonely Bridget’s beloved dog unleashes a torrent of rage that surges down through the generations. In her desire for revenge, Bridget utters a fearsome curse upon the dog’s killer: All that the murderer loves most, he will lose.
This haunting story of “the sins of the father being visited upon the children” brilliantly shows off Gaskell’s pioneering understanding of the tensions between Catholics and Protestants, and the harsh realities of class society. The Poor Clare stands as an innovative and exciting gem in Elizabeth Gaskell’s oeuvre.