Synopses & Reviews
Victorian novel set in the pottery district of Staffordshire and France during the Siege of Paris.
The Old Wives' Tale (1908) celebrates the romance of even the most ordinary lives in the course of tracing the passage of time over three generations. It tells the story of the two Baines sisters, placid stay-at-home Constance and rebellious Sophia, from their girlhood to their last days. They move from the family drapery shop in provincial Bursley during the repressive mid-Victorian period to old age in the modern era of mass marketing and the internal combustion engine. The setting ranges from the Wesleyan Methodist Chapel in Bursley to a Paris brothel, the action from the controlled domestic routine of the Baines household to wife murder and the Siege of Paris during the Franco-Prussian War of 1870-1.