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Extended Audio Sample Cranford, by Elizabeth Gaskell Click for printable size audiobook cover
3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (10,426 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Elizabeth Gaskell Narrator: Wanda McCaddon Publisher: Blackstone Audio Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date:
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Cranford is Elizabeth Gaskell’s gently comic picture of life and manners in an English country village during the 1830s. It describes the small adventures in the lives of two middle-aged sisters in reduced circumstances, Matilda and Deborah Jenkyns, who do their best to maintain their standards of propriety, decency, and kindness. At the center of the novel is Miss Matty, whose warm heart and tender ways compel affection and regard from everyone around her. Also revealed are the foibles and attributes of the pompous Mrs. Jamieson and her awesome butler, the genial Captain Brown, the loyal housemaid Martha, and others.

Using an intimate, gossipy voice that never turns sentimental, Gaskell skillfully conveys the old-fashioned habits, subtle class distinctions, and genteel poverty of the townspeople. Cranford is one of the author’s best-loved works.

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Quotes & Awards

  • “Bathed in a poignant, dreamlike mood found nowhere else in fiction.”


  • “The most perfect of Mrs. Gaskell’s creations.”

    Saturday Review

  • “Reader Nadia May lends an authentic air to the women’s complaints about bonnets and servants, adding a somber note when the villagers experience death and robbery.”


Listener Opinions

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 by David Jay | 2/20/2014

    " This gem of a novella reads like a lost diary of a maiden aunt. Beautifully detailed, alternately heartbreaking and laugh out loud funny, I could hear the witty voice of a Maggie Smith or a Judi Dench in my ear as I read. Nothing much happens in this story of daily life in the village of Cranford in the middle 1800s. Well, lots happens--people die, marry, have babies, go missing, lose their fortunes, disgrace themselves--but, plot wise, nothing really happens. The narrator, Mary Smith, is not a resident of Cranford, but a regular visitor and shares what she sees, beautifully. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 by Patricia | 2/11/2014

    " The first half was slow and disjointed, but the second half was more entertaining. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 by Ms_prue | 2/9/2014

    " I LOLed. Several times. I think that's pretty good for a book written in the 1850s. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 by E.d. | 2/4/2014

    " I decided to read this after watching the mini-series on TV. Gaskell is so full of compassion and appreciation for her characters they almost seem real. It was laugh out loud funny but also a tear jerker. It is refreshing to read a book of this time period about a woman of a certain age instead of a pretty, young, marriage-minded heroine. I loved the friendship and camaraderie between the older single women in this small town. "

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