So I have just decided that Charles Dickens is a stereotype.
I make this conjecture with little evidence and less knowledge of Dickens himself, other than having read Great Expectations and knowing that he died in the middle of work on his last novel.
I have encountered a writing style that reminds me of Dickens in more than one place – Madame Bovary reminds me of Dickens, to be honest, especially in that it seems to begin in a place completely arbitrary to the intent of the book, and also Elizabeth Gaskell’s Wives and Daughters begins similarly in a place completely arbitrary to what happens in the later chapters. Of course, Dickens was often serialized; so was Wives and Daughters, and so, as it turns out, was Madame Bovary. Perhaps serializing makes for certain quirks in literature. But, since we must needs draw millions of comparisons, Gaskell also died before she finished Wives and Daughters.
That said, it’s a good book. Molly Gibson is a bit idealized, I think; no one can possibly be that good and kind that frequently without freaking out, but that is my wavelength, not hers, and there you have that. In fairness, Cynthia is also idealized. Oh well. It’s a lot to slog through, and I found that if you skip enormous sections of pages your understanding of the story will not deteriorate noticeably, but that’s Victorian writing for you.