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Editor reviews

Award-winning voice actor Davina Porter delivers a refined performance of Cranford a novel by Victorian writer Elizabeth Cleghorn Gaskell. Porter’s enunciation is impeccable, allowing the story to unfold in a cultivated manner suited to the prose and subject matter. In a small parish in Cheshire, England, Mary Smith, her friends Miss Matty and Miss Deborah, and other upper class members of society pass their days by calling on neighbors, engaging in polite conversation, practicing elegant economy, and avoiding vulgarities of any sort.

Summary

This classic novel has been thrice adapted for the screen by the BBC. Mary Smith relates the story of her time with middle-aged spinster sisters Miss Matty and Miss Deborah. Witty, poignant, and often ironic, Cranford is the tale of what these two women will do to remain respectable, proper, and kind with only moderate means.
©2008 Elizabeth Cleghorn Gaskell (P)2008 Recorded Books, LLC

Critic reviews

"... an extremely clever piece of writing." ( Guardian (UK))

What members say

Average customer ratings

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Splendid

A beautiful story of little nothing's in a small rural town in the 19th century. 11 out of 10 for the narration by Davina Porter, excellent, sympathetic way of speaking. I loved this book, but can't quite see how it was translated into a TV series, which I haven't seen. Don't think I will, as it always ruins a good story!

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Enjoyed but a little slow in parts

I knew the basic outline of Cranford and was expecting a slow start. There was actually quite a bit going on in the first few chapters but it then laboured around a series of family letters that were being read out before being destroyed. These in themselves painted a beautiful picture of a love story but they didn't seem to fit within the bigger scheme. (they probably owe more to Cranford originally being a series of short stories serialised in a magazine). The story picked up again and ultimately left me feeling happy that I'd persevered. Elizabeth Gaskell 's ability to analyse and articulate the various facets of human nature and behaviour is amazing as always.

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  • Tami
  • 18-09-12

A Lovely Relaxing Listen

My first experience with Cranford was the version filmed for Masterpiece Theater. I had been looking for an audible version and this is it! Davina Porter does her usual wonderful job of characterization and brings to life the charming characters of a special place known as Cranford. The story is humorous and heartbreaking. Author Elizabeth Gaskell does not make life perfect for everyone. The world of Cranford is real and pulls you in with every word. If you enjoy the novels of Jane Austen, Charlotte Bronte and E.M. Forster, I guarantee that you will enjoy this!

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

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  • Debi
  • 11-02-13

Another Favorite Place

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

I haven't read the book but love hearing it read. I always love hearing an English accent.

What other book might you compare Cranford to and why?

Miss Read's "Thrush Green", Jan Karon's "Mitford" come to mind as they are small town settings and have quirky, loveable characters.

What about Davina Porter’s performance did you like?

I love her voice quality - soothing and her inflection really brings out the meaning and emotion behind the words. Next to Gwen Watford narrating the Thrush Green books and Juliet Mills in The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society, she is my next favorite narrator.

If you were to make a film of this book, what would be the tag line be?

Ladies Rule

Any additional comments?

I am so pleased with this purchase. I'll be listening to this again and again. Well, worth the money.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • Mary Stotts
  • 22-04-17

Satisfying trip to another time.

Highly entertaining and cleverly written. The characters are richly drawn and very engaging. It's like visiting a comfortable village where there is no concern for the larger world issues, but high concern for neighbors and friends. Wish we could all live in such a world, as narrow and unrealistic as it is. Davina Porter is an accomplished narrator and can be counted on to deliver masterful performances.