Charlotte Mary Yonge's Victorian bestseller The Daisy Chain (1856) is a domestic story, a novel of female education, and a detailed survey of the controversies and practices of High Church Anglicanism in the nineteenth century. Its portrayal of the bookish, awkward heroine, Ethel May, paved the way for stories of literary heroines like Jo March and Anne Shirley, and its emphasis on the domestic life of the May family illuminates the Victorian doctrine of separate spheres, the seemingly contradictory gender politics of the Woman Question, and the relationship between religion and the rights of women in the nineteenth century. Absorbing, moving, and intricately plotted, The Daisy Chain is Yonge's best-known novel; this edition will provide the twenty-first century reader with a comprehensive education in Victorian culture, not to mention a tremendously satisfying reading experience.
—Kelly Hager, Simmons College.
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