Then she'd never have been so infatuated with Kinraid, or need to rely on Hepburn's money. He's also not present for much of the book.
I remember the first time I read the original Diary of a Provin Labels: 19th century fiction , books , Elizabeth Gaskell , historical fiction , Napoleonic Wars , relationships , romance , whaling , Whitby. LizF July 25, at PM. Anonymous August 31, at AM. Newer Post Older Post Home. Subscribe to: Post Comments Atom.
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Sylvia’s Lovers – Elizabeth Gaskell’s anti-romantic novel
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Thought for the day. Life must be filled up. Hilary McKay bargain. Cornflower Books. This Golden Fleece. They have a daughter. Inevitably, Kinraid returns to claim Sylvia and she discovers that Philip knew all the time that he was still alive. Philip leaves her in despair at her subsequent rage and rejection, but she refuses to live with Kinraid because of her child. Philip joins the army under a pseudonym, and ends up fighting in the Napoleonic wars, where he saves Kinraid's life.
Kinraid returns to Britain, and marries. His wife, who knows nothing of their history together, informs Sylvia that her husband is a great military leader. Kinraid's marriage suggests to Sylvia that he was not as faithful to her as she had remained to him, and she then realizes she is actually in love with Philip. Philip, meanwhile horribly disfigured by a shipboard explosion, returns to the small Northumbrian village to try to secretly get a glimpse of his child. He ends up staying with the sister of a servant of Sylvia's deceased parents, and rescues his child when she nearly drowns.
He is fatally injured while saving his daughter, but his identity then becomes known and he is reconciled with his wife on his deathbed. The novel is one of Elizabeth Gaskell's least known works. John McVeagh has pointed to a "sudden lapse into melodrama" which "reduces and cheapens an interesting story". For instance, detailed attention is given to Sylvia's growing infatuation with Kinraid, but her eventual disillusionment with him following his hasty marriage at the end of the story is described in only a few sentences.
As her obsessive love for him has ruled her life, it does seem surprising that this receives such a cursory treatment. TJW, in an article in the Modern Language Review ,  comments that 'Kinraid is eventually shown to be a shallow character, but Mrs Gaskell's portrayal of him is so superficial that we find it hard to appreciate the strength of Sylvia Robson's love for him'.