Author: Elizabeth Gaskell
Read by: Prunella Scales
BBC Audio
RRP: 25.00
ISBN-13: 978 1 405 68778 2
Available 05 November 2007

A portrait of the residents of an English country town in the mid-nineteenth century, Cranford relates 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 vignettes, Elizabeth Gaskell portrays a community governed by old-fashioned habits and dominated by friendships between women...

Prunella Scales reads Elizabeth Gaskell's classic tale Cranford. There's no real plot to this collection, it's more a series of stories and events.

Set in the mid-ninteenth century, this work examines the everyday lives of the residents of the fictional English town of Cranford. Central to this are the adventures of two middle-aged spinster sisters - Miss Matty and Miss Deborah - who are striving to live with dignity in reduced circumstances.

Gaskell's 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.

Prunella Scales was a wise choice, by the powers that be, to read Gaskell's original book. She brings just the right gravitas to the nearly seven hours reading. Taking on the role of Mary Smith, the narrator, Scales is our guide as we are introduced to the lives and secrets of the residents of Cranford.

Entertaining stuff.

Nick Smithson

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