A Dark Night’s Work (1863)
Novella-length psychological drama of a young woman whose life is forever altered by one night during which she and a faithful servant help her father conceal a crime. Such action as there is is almost entirely emotional, yet Gaskell’s telling psychological observations keep this long tale interesting throughout (although it’s a near thing that the heroine’s depressing passivity goes on too long). “Dark” was added to the title at Charles Dickens’ suggestion; Gaskell’s less melodramatic title is more faithful to the story.
Reviewed by: Nat Hocken