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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.
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Customer Reviews

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By T. on 03-26-12

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.

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8 of 8 people found this review helpful

By Carl Smith on 01-31-08

throughly enjoyed this

A lovely, gentle satire of the Ladies of Cranford. Written with affection and respect and an incredible eye to detail (which I enjoyed) and exceptionally well read by my favorate narrator.

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8 of 8 people found this review helpful

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By Sharon on 05-26-09

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.

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23 of 23 people found this review helpful

By Bastet Pybus on 10-09-09


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!

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11 of 11 people found this review helpful

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Customer Reviews

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By Min on 04-13-17

Snoreville (whoops, I mean 'Cranford')


I just wanted to be cultured.

What can I say about this snooze-fest that hasn't yet been said? Probably anything, as I am most likely the only person ever to not have fallen asleep by it's boringness.

I made it half way through Chapter 8, and every second of it was like Chinese water torture. I have endured minute after minute of discussion about bonnets and shawls. There is no drama, no war, no lust, crime or deceit, and not even a hint of an ankle.

I thought the book was looking up when the skanky maid was banned from seeing all the boys in town, but no. Back to talk of bonnets.

The only memorable bit was when some old broad was kicked out of the ladies' tea party, because she slurped her orange too loudly.

Whoops, I think I just spoiled the best part of the story.

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By Amazon Customer on 10-07-16


beautiful story. loved it from start to finished. already listened a 2nd time. 😀 😀

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