Life in Cranford

I just finished the little novel, Cranford, by Elizabeth Gaskell.  I took a long time to finish it after getting halfway through on our cruise the last week of July, but this is not because it is a poorly written or uninteresting book.  I just meandered through it a few pages a day because life got busy with school starting and work stuff and appliances breaking down.  But this morning, I had a little time to myself, and I finished the last 2 chapters.  I can’t recommend this book enough to all you Jane Austen fans out there.  If you like Jane, you’ll like the worlds that Eliabeth Gaskell creates.

Cranford is a small English town inhabited mostly by women.  There are men associated with the town, but they are not on the scene very much.  Gaskell paints a very comfortable picture of country living in England in the late 1800s with characters that you want to know and emulate in your life.  The 2 main characters are Miss Matty and her regular companion, Miss Mary Smith, who serves as the narrator.   The book is very much character driven, with each chapter revealing something about the town’s women through short vignettes of the events and goings on in Cranford.  Gaskell’s narrative has a pleasant ending that makes the reader appreciate Miss Matty even more and that demonstrates the benefits of living a meaningful quiet life being kind to those around you.

Annie Barlow told me there is a BBC dvd series based on this book a few months back.  I am anxiously awaiting an opportunity to watch them now that I’ve finished the book.

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