This novel is too heavily abridged. It did not make sense.
The narration for this book and for Devil's Cub, with a different narrator but the same style, is very stylized and "mannered." It does suit the books but it takes a little getting used to. The narration is imitating the speech of a 1700s fop. It's nasal and drawling. I think it lends atmosphere, but even though I really enjoyed the listen, I couldn't listen for hours and hours as I can for more natural narrators.
I have listened to many audiobooks that I enjoyed and would recommend, but I still noticed every effortful 30 min or hour that went by. Those books were work to get through. This book I inhaled! I enjoyed every minute, looked forward to listening every day, and got anxious when I was too busy with other things to have time for the audiobook. I'm not sure why this book enthralled me (Mr. Thornton?)--I read a paper copy of Wives and Daughters and loved it, but this was better. Elizabeth Gaskell is great at detail so that you really enter her Victorian setting. Also, the examination of class and poverty in the book was honest and complex and very interesting to me. Of course, what really sucked me in was the romantic storyline. The negatives would be several long slow death scenes with terribly cheesy dialogue, and also sometimes the narrator's accent was difficult to understand. Yet I INHALED this book.
Nothing in this book is surprising, but Stephanie is very good at putting in to words all the things you already know and feel about knitting. She puts knitting in the context of a community and culture. Smart, warm and funny.
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