Elizabeth Gaskell was born in London in 1810 but spent most of her life in Cheshire, Stratford-upon-Avon. She married the Reverend William Gaskell and had four daughters by him. She worked among the poor, travelled frequently and wrote for Dickens' magazine Household Words. Mrs Gaskell was friends with Charlotte Bronte, and consquently went on to write her biography. Patricia Ingham is a fellow of St Anne's College, Oxford, and has written widely on the Victorian novel.
"[An] admirable story ... full of character and power"