Mary Barton is young, kind, and beautiful - perhaps dangerously so. John Barton, her hearty and intelligent but grievously uneducated father, who could never abide the gentlefolk, pours fierce love and courage into his family and work. One day, circumstance causes Mary to be faced with a terrible choice: either protect a member of her family or sit back and watch a terrible miscarriage of justice. Will she make the right decision in time?
Public Domain ©2010 AudioGo
I would recommend this book to anyone who loves classic English literature. The brilliance of the language and the minute descriptions are enthralling. However, I would not recommend the book to anyone who is looking for a vacation book or a quick read with lots of action. Definitely an acquired taste and not for everyone, but for those who appreciate exquisitely written prose, it's a winner.
Middlemarch by George Eliot comes to mind also as the central character is a loyal woman who has to subjugate her own wishes and desires to conform with what is expected of women of her class, but who ends up triumphing in her way.
Oh my goodness - that Manchester accent!! So much more fun listening to the dialogue than reading it because Ms. Stevenson's characterization brought them all to life! Each character had a different voice that perfectly matched their personalities. She managed to bring out the depths of the emotion expressed by each character, bringing me to tears as I pictured the squalor and desperation of poverty-stricken workers in Manchester. I listened to the story as I was driving and had to pull over a couple of times to wipe my tears away.
There were so many but probably the death of Mary's mother and the subsequent desolation of Mary's father.
I adore the way Mrs. Gaskell writes and the detail with which she adorns her descriptions. Her use of the English language is so powerful and her choice of words so perfect, her books should be mandatory reading for anyone who wishes to study English! Juliet Stevenson's reading is truly magnificent.
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