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: How did 19th-century female writers portray relationships amongst women? How were female friendships and communities reflected in the mirror of women's texts? Exploring this subject through the work of three major women novelists-Elizabeth Gaskell, Charlotte Bronte, and George Eliot-Nestor examines their writings, thier lives, and their attitudes towards and relationships with women in the context of 19th-century social history. The period between 1840 and 1890 saw great changes in thinking about women in society. This social phenomenon coincided with the literary phenomenon of an emergent community of women authors. As a result, for the first time women had the advantage of "telling their own stories" in print, thus making a substantial contribution to the general public debate.