Elizabeth Gaskell (1810-65) wrote her first novel, MARY BARTON, in 1848 as a distraction from her sorrow at the death of her only son in infancy. It won the attention of Dickens and was followed by 5 other full-length novels as well as numerous short stories and novellas. Laura Kranzler has written on Mary Shelley and Virginia Woolf and has published a novel.
Cousin Phillis (1864) is a novel by Elizabeth Gaskell about Paul Manning, a youth of seventeen who moves to the country and befriends his mother's family and his second cousin Phillis Holman, who is confused by her own placement at the edge of adolescence. Most critics agree that Cousin Phillis is Gaskell's crowning achievement in the short novel. The story is uncomplicated; its virtues are in the manner of its development and telling.