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Editorial Reviews

Clare Wille's performance of this gently satirical look at a genteel English village in the first half of the nineteenth century is excellent. Like a kinder version of E.F. Benson's Mapp v. Lucia novels, Gaskell's ladies of Cranford have their jealousies and their vanities. They also have moments of quiet tragedy (a lost brother, a suitor rejected to please the family but never forgotten) and of high drama. Wille made me laugh aloud at the pompous trumpeting of the late Reverend Jenkins. When Miss Poe comes in out of breath, you could swear Wille was running up stairs while delivering her lines. Her performance is always fully engaged, at one with the story, which is itself a small gem.
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Publisher's Summary

This charming piece of social observation throws a gentle spotlight on life in a small village in northern England of the 1850s. The middle-aged ladies, existing in rather impoverished circumstances, nevertheless maintain the rules of politeness which they feel they should live by. Read with great sensitivity by Clare Wille.
©1851 Public Domain; (P)2007 Naxos Rights International
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Critic Reviews

Clare Wille's performance of Mrs. Gaskell's Cranford...may be the wittiest I've ever heard." (AudioFile Magazine)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

By Angharad on 10-24-11

Charming episodes, beautifully told

This is a wonderful recording of a delightful book. Clare Wille has a gentle and sympathetic voice, and reads the text very expressively. Life in an English village populated by quirky but warm-hearted spinsters in the mid 19th century is lovingly brought to life. Lovely piano interludes between chapters help to create an atmosphere of quiet, cosy gentility - just what the Cranford ladies themselves would have liked!

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4 of 4 people found this review helpful


By Pamela on 10-01-14

Charming novella, well read

Would you consider the audio edition of Cranford to be better than the print version?

Listening to the story made it easier to follow along. I switched back and forth and both reading and listening had their merits, but this audio edition is at the very least equal to the print.

What other book might you compare Cranford to and why?

It is a bit like Winesburg, Ohio in that it's a series of interconnected stories that describe one town, but the tone is lighter, though the stories do cover some dark topics. It is also a bit like Lark Rise to Candleford.

What about Clare Wille’s performance did you like?

Her tone matches the somewhat ironic, sometime sad but often funny voice of the narrator perfectly. Sometimes when reader perform Victorian novels they can drone, but Clare Wile kept the story interesting.

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

If I had the time, I could have easily listened to it all in one sitting.

Any additional comments?

This isn't a listen for someone looking for lots of drama or plot, but it is sweet, and evokes a time and place quite vividly.

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2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

By P on 07-05-11

A good listen, classic Gaskell!

If you are purchasing this book because you enjoyed the BBC adaptation, you will very soon realise that the tv series was just that an adaptation in the losest terms. Do not despair, I read this book many years before it was broadcast and this narration is excellent and introduces each character with all their funny little ways. I've enjoyed listening over and over again. You will enjoy this book if you are a fan of Elizabeth Gaskell.

However, one slight criticism; each character could have been better interpreted using a better range of accents and mannerisms, If that is possible in an audio book.

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1 of 1 people found this review helpful


By MumsieWumsie on 07-30-10

What a delight!

I read 'Cranford' 40 years ago as a teenager and had forgotten, (or perhaps not realised) what a delightful, well-observed and amusing book this is - and what a wimp (by today's standards, anyway) Miss Mattie is!
Clare Wille is perfect as the narrator, both her style of reading and because she's the right age. Good though Judy Dench was on the TV, you know she's too old to be the narrator really.
All in all one of the best audio books I've had so far.

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1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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