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Bleak house
Charles Dickens
Adult Fiction DICKENS

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Summary: The complex story of a notorious law-suit in which love and inheritance are set against the classic urban background of 19th-century London, where fog on the river, seeping into the very bones of the characters, symbolizes the corruption of the legal system and the society which supports it. "Jarndyce and Jarndyce" is an infamous lawsuit that has been in process for generations. Nobody can remember exactly how the case started but many different individuals have found their fortunes caught up in it. Esther Summerson watches as her friends and neighbours are consumed by their hopes and disappointments with the proceedings. But while the intricate puzzles of the lawsuit are being debated by lawyers, other more dramatic mysteries are unfolding that involve heartbreak, lost children, blackmail and murder. The fog and cold that permeate Bleak House mirror a Victorian England mired in spiritual insolvency. Dickens brought all his passion, brilliance, and narrative verve to this huge novel of lives entangled in a multi-generational lawsuit--and through it, he achieved, at age 41, a stature almost Shakespearean. Introduction by Barbara Hardy

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main characters Esther Summerson
Age: 20
Sent to live with a guardian after the aunt who raised her passed away; discovers she is Lady Dedlock's illegitimate daughter.

Leicester Dedlock
Owns his ancestral home in rural Lincolnshire and also a place in London.

Honoria Dedlock
Leicester's wife; has an illegitimate daughter from when she was younger.

John Jarndyce
Legal guardian of Esther, Ada, and Richard; involved in a long complicated legal suit which involved an inheritance.

Ada Clare
John's ward and Richard's wife.

Richard Carstone
John's ward; insecure; unsure of his future; spends time on John Jarndyce's legal suit; secretly married Ada.

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