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Cranford | [Elizabeth Gaskell]

Cranford

A portrait of the residents of an English country town in the mid-19th century, Cranford relates the adventures of Miss Matty and Miss Deborah, two middle-aged spinster sisters striving to live with dignity in reduced circumstances.
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Publisher's Summary

A portrait of the residents of an English country town in the mid-19th century, Cranford relates the adventures of Miss Matty and Miss Deborah, two middle-aged spinster sisters striving to live with dignity in reduced circumstances.

Through a series of vignettes, Elizabeth Gaskell portrays a community governed by old-fashioned habits and dominated by friendships between women. Her wry account of rural life is undercut, however, by tragedy: with such troubling events as Matty's bankruptcy, the death of Captain Brown, and the unwitting cruelty of Peter Jenkyns.

© and (P)1999, 2007 BBC Audiobooks Ltd

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.2 (105 )
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4.1 (53 )
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4.4 (54 )
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  •  
    Carl Smith 01-31-08
    Carl Smith 01-31-08 Member Since 2007
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "throughly enjoyed this"

    A lovely, gentle satire of the Ladies of Cranford. Written with affection and respect and an incredible eye to detail (which I enjoyed) and exceptionally well read by my favorate narrator.

    7 of 7 people found this review helpful
  •  
    T. Japan 03-26-12
    T. Japan 03-26-12 Member Since 2010

    Reading is one of life's greatest pleasures...and, now that I've found audiobooks, I can read even while performing mundane tasks!

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Quietly, subtly sweet and heartwarming"

    If you don't listen closely, you may miss the subtle sweetness of this heartwarming tale. There were times, mostly in the beginning, when my mind wandered and I became impatient with the seemingly trivial accounts of this Cranford lady or that. But I'm SO glad I kept listening, and had the opportunity to get to know and love Miss Mattie! What an example of the embodiment humility, kindness, and justice she is! The only other Elizabeth Gaskell novel I've read is "North and South." I loved it, and was expecting something similar from "Cranford." The novels couldn't be more dissimilar when it comes to plot and pace, but when it comes to highlighting the beauty of human decency, both do an excellent job.

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Susan Sherrill, NY, United States 04-18-10
    Susan Sherrill, NY, United States 04-18-10 Member Since 2010

    I like to listen to classic literature while I'm on the treadmill at the gym. The deep meaningful thoughts drown out the inane pop music.

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    "Absolutely charming!"

    After having seen Cranford and Return to Cranford on PBS, my daughters and I were interested in hearing the original story. We were delighted! What a wonderful book to listen to by the fireside as we did this winter. We're great fans of Elizabeth Gaskell now.

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    connie Sydney, Nova Scotia, Canada 01-19-08
    connie Sydney, Nova Scotia, Canada 01-19-08 Member Since 2007

    trying to see the world with my ears

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "4 stars for narrator; 3 for novel"

    The is very gentle social satire, and a poor cousin to most of Austen's, but I liked the book very much under the circumstances in which I listened - Lying sick in bed for a couple of days, I enjoyed the novel in just two sessions. However, if you're looking for something to inspire your morning work out, this wouldn't be it!

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    ng Singapore, Singapore 11-05-09
    ng Singapore, Singapore 11-05-09
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    "Slow but beautiful"

    This is a slow moving novel that beautifully portrays life in a Victorian small town, where delicacy is the order of the day despite poverty. It isn't tragic, but there is a sense of gentle sadness about the stifled lives of the ladies of Cranford and their lost chances.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    S. Goss 04-20-12
    S. Goss 04-20-12 Member Since 2007
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    "One of my go-to listens!"

    I love this book! Its a series of vignettes of the lives of women in Cranford. I first decided to listen to this when they announced that it was coming to masterpiece classic, and while i thoroughly enjoyed the show, the book is so much better. Even after so many listens, I still crack up at the antics of some of the characters. Prunella Scales does a wonderful narration and Mrs Gaskell does a great job making the everyday lives of Victiorian women entertaining. I would recommend this to those who enjoy the novels of Georgette Heyer and are looking for something similar yet different.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Deborah 03-05-12
    Deborah 03-05-12 Member Since 2007

    I am a former language arts teacher who likes to read and listen to audiobooks. I love a well-told story whether it is fiction or biography. I have a book on my iPod, iPad, and by my bed at all times!

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    "Wonderful narration!"
    Would you try another book from Elizabeth Gaskell and/or Prunella Scales?

    Prunella Scales is a fabulous narrator.


    How would you have changed the story to make it more enjoyable?

    It was a classic that had a very slow pace with little action. I enjoyed the characters, but this is not my cup of tea.


    Which character ??? as performed by Prunella Scales ??? was your favorite?

    Miss Smith, the narrator, was perfect, and, of course, Miss Mattie. I liked the maid, too, but she spoke so quickly that I could not understand all of what she said.


    Did Cranford inspire you to do anything?

    no


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Rochelle Dunedin, New Zealand 04-30-13
    Rochelle Dunedin, New Zealand 04-30-13 Member Since 2010
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    "Less than I'd hoped for."

    It's obvious Gaskell was no Hardy or Austen. She hasn't the touch of wit & her stories lack the delight.

    There is nothing really wrong with the story, it is more that it feels as though something is missing. Not as finely crafted as I'd have hoped.

    I enjoyed North & South by Gaskell however I found this fairly dull.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Bridget Los Angeles, CA, United States 10-04-09
    Bridget Los Angeles, CA, United States 10-04-09 Member Since 2008
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    "fantastic narration, dull content"

    Prunella Scales does an amazing job narrating, but I found myself waiting for some sort of climax and was shocked and dismayed when the book ended without any.

    1 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Sharon Seattle, WA USA 09-09-12
    Sharon Seattle, WA USA 09-09-12 Member Since 2007
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    "Not everyone's cup of tea"

    Prunella Scales is super but the book certainly isn't for everyone. No story line. No action. Rambling. Tedious. Save your credit/money.

    0 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Showing: 1-10 of 10 results
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  • Sharon
    United Kingdom
    5/26/09
    Overall
    "Best Cranford Reading!"

    Prunella Scales is an excellent intrepreter of Mrs Gaskell, I loved her characterization and reading of 'Wives and Daughters', and this first and lighter work by EG is just as fabulous.

    This actress shows respect for the book, the emotions of the plot are accurately voiced and I really have her work as one of the reasons I love audio books. Forget the dreadful abridged or US readings, (sorry, I'd say the same if an English reader was doing an American work) and listen to this one, the only and best in my opinion.

    15 of 15 people found this review helpful
  • Emma
    North Yorkshire, United Kingdom
    10/9/09
    Overall
    "Delightful"

    Prunella Scales is a wonderful reader, sensitive to the nuances of Gaskell's writing and able to bring out all the comedy and pathos of this underrated book. Delightful!

    6 of 6 people found this review helpful
  • Kim
    Wales
    4/8/13
    Overall
    "Brilliantly read"

    This is beautifully read by Prunella Scales.

    You don't get much definition of voice between different characters, but it could be said that the same is true of the original book, as one person relays everything that happens to the reader. You're drawn into the lives and gossip of the women of Cranford, giving a social history of the time, but in a very minute way.

    5 of 5 people found this review helpful
  • Rachel
    Anstey, United Kingdom
    11/7/08
    Overall
    "Disappointing."

    I loved the TV series, but this didn't hold my interest at all.

    2 of 14 people found this review helpful
  • Showing: 1-4 of 4 results

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