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Cranford Audiobook

Cranford

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Publisher's Summary

Exclusively from Audible

A vivid and affectionate portrait of the residents of an English country town in the mid-19th century, Cranford describes a community dominated by its independent and refined women, relating 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 satirical vignettes, Gaskell sympathetically portrays changing small town customs and values in mid-Victorian England, in 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.

Gaskell was an accomplished writer who had many of her stories published in Charles Dickens' magazine Household Words. She was also friends with Charlotte Brontë and after her death, her father, Patrick Brontë, chose Gaskell to write The Life of Charlotte Brontë.

Narrator Biography

Prunella Scales is a classically trained stage actress but is best known for her role as Sybil Fawlty in Fawlty Towers (1975-1979) and for her role as Queen Elizabeth II in A Question of Attribution (1991), for which she was nominated for a BAFTA.

Her film appearances have included Stiff Upper Lips (1997), Howards End (1992) and Wolf (1994). She was awarded the CBE for her services to drama in 1992 and the Patricia Rothermere Award for her contributions to British Theatre in 2001. More recent appearances have included the mini-series The Shell Seekers (2006), a production of Carrie's War at the Apollo Theatre (2009) and Horrid Henry: The Movie (2013).

Julian Barnes’ The Lemon Table and Anne Fine’s Charm School are among the many audiobooks Prunella Scales has narrated.

Public Domain (P)2014 Audible, Inc.

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.3 (206 )
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4.5 (148 )
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Performance
Sort by:
  •  
    CiAndy 02-07-17
    CiAndy 02-07-17
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "A joy!"

    Loved it: the writing, the characters, the performance together make a true work of art.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    ladyofghostpines Wisconsin 10-19-16
    ladyofghostpines Wisconsin 10-19-16
    RATINGS
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    18
    8
    "Delightful"

    A charming glimpse at a world long past, beautifully read. I highly recommend it to any lover of Victorian literature.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    BookCult 01-28-16
    BookCult 01-28-16
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Great Narrator"

    I was so glad I picked this narrator. Scales has a very pleasant voice and never distracted from the narrative. She has a great ability to bring out the emotions in a story without being overt or obnoxious about it.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Clare Bear 07-28-15
    Clare Bear 07-28-15 Member Since 2011
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    4
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    "Wonderful story, sensitive narrator, delightful characterizations, beautifully touching"

    Lovely portrayal of feminine society. You will love Miss Matty, and I repeat the last line of the book, "and I somehow think we are all of us better when she is near us."

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Thomas J. Otto Washington DC 06-07-15
    Thomas J. Otto Washington DC 06-07-15 Member Since 2016
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    "Just as lovely as the TV adaptation"

    Prunella scales is wonderful at bringing out the finesse and refinement of Elizabeth Gaskell's writing. It is a very comforting listening experience.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Rochelle 04-30-13
    Rochelle 04-30-13 Member Since 2017
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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 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Sharon Seattle, WA USA 09-09-12
    Sharon Seattle, WA USA 09-09-12 Member Since 2017
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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 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    S. Goss 04-20-12
    S. Goss 04-20-12 Member Since 2007
    HELPFUL VOTES
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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.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    T. Japan 03-26-12
    T. Japan 03-26-12 Member Since 2010
    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.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Susan 04-18-10
    Susan 04-18-10
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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.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
Sort by:
  • 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.

    22 of 22 people found this review helpful
  • Bastet Pybus
    England
    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!

    10 of 10 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.

    7 of 7 people found this review helpful
  • Mrs
    8/13/15
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    "Cranford"

    A real delight and completely unexpected. Although I knew the story from the television adaptation I was quite unprepared for the wit and humanity of the writing. It made me laugh and cry and who better to read it to you than Prunella Scales.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • Amazon Customer
    5/17/15
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Wonderful storytelling "

    Absolutely loved it. The story is so uplifting and Prunella Scales is a perfect narrator.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Molly
    3/21/15
    Overall
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    "Beautifully read - great story"
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    This is very gentle and whilst it won't have you on the edge of your seat it is soothingly addictive


    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Paula Diggle
    London UK
    5/23/17
    Overall
    "Fine audiobook"

    A much loved nineteenth century classic in which not very much happens yet there is so much to hear about - much like real life. Prunella Scales reading is full of affection, with some good northern accents. She makes it easy to understand this delightful period piece. Will listen again for the pure pleasure.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Susan Whitehead
    6/17/16
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Cranford"

    The descriptions of small town life in the 19th century are beautifully done. There is not much story as such and in this way it differs from the other books of Mrs Gaskell.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Annie
    11/24/15
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "May Be Disappointed"

    You may, like me, be disappointed with the book if you loved the TV series. The book doesn't seem to have much content, I don't know where all the story came from on television, it certainly is not in the original book.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • C. Campbell
    7/23/15
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Great narration of a classic"

    This was a good production of a book I struggled with as a teenager many years ago. Prunella Scales is the perfect narrator, and brings the little vllage with all of its eccentricities to life vividly. I enjoyed it very much!

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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