by Elizabeth Gaskell
Winnetka, CA : Norilana Books, 2008.
A young visitor recounts her adventures with some of the older ladies - primarily spinsters and widows - of Cranford as they live their lives in a charming small town.
My idea of Elizabeth Gaskell's writings was completely different from reality. I had read a couple of short stories as an English major, confused them, and had this image of Gaskell as the John Steinbeck of the Victorian Era. I overcame some reluctance to even add Cranford to my TBR list. And am I glad I did! This book is a delightful, episodic tale of a small town and its inhabitants. The narrator often stays with Miss Matty while visiting the town, so many of the events involve this lady in some way or another. As I think about the book, I'm realizing that very little actually happens by way of plot, but the characters are by turns sweet, funny, and quirky. The story gives a picture of small town life in general as well as the class distinctions of its time period in an amusing, rather than depressing, way. Cranford has definitely convinced me to try more by this author.