• by Elizabeth Gaskell
  • Narrated by Eve Matheson
  • 16 hrs and 56 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

The orphaned heroine Ruth, apprenticed to a dressmaker, is seduced and then abandoned by wealthy Henry Bellingham. Shamed in the eyes of society by her illegitimate son, and yet rejecting the opportunity to marry her seducer, Ruth finds a path that affirms we are not bound to repeat our mistakes.


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Customer Reviews

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too sweet a christian

If the elderly servant, Sally, had been the rule for Elizabeth Gaskell in forming her characters in this book, it would have been another great like "North and South". Sally's wit and comic urbanity, contrasts sharply with the nauseatingly sweet goodness of Ruth, the innocent led into predictable sin by a wealthy young rake. The result is a preachy fairy tale of Christian redemption through sacrifice. Elizabeth Gaskell is a clever observer of people and their foibles, but in Ruth she missteps in giving her heroine unearthly beauty and divine purity, thus, taking her out of the realm of common mortals. Nevertheless, Gaskell writes an entertaining story which only requires a suspension of disbelief in human nature. The reader is excellent.
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- Alicia Czechowski

Fallen Woman Finds Redemption

Ruth, orphaned and alone at the age of 12, is lead astray at 16 by an affluent, self centered young man in his early 20's and then abandoned after she becomes pregnant. She is taken in by a kindly, sympathetic clergyman and his sister who share their home. Assuming the identity of a young widow, Ruth raises her child and is grateful for her good fortune and the generosity of those around her. After a dozen years, her secret of being an unwed mother is, through unexpected connections, revealed. She is then rejected and shunned by members of the community who had previously welcomed her into their homes. The rest of the story concerns Ruth's redemption; she is finally recognized and elevated for always putting the welfare of others ahead of her own. The novel is beautifully executed with a bittersweet ending. I have read and listed to a number of Elizabeth Gaskell's novels and have found each to be unique and memorable. The author balances sorrow and joy in equal parts.
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- Susan

Book Details

  • Release Date: 01-30-2008
  • Publisher: Audible Studios