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Return to Cranford: And Other Stories [Paperback]

Elizabeth Gaskell
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (79 customer reviews)
RRP: £6.99
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Book Description

16 Nov 2009
Treasured household names, including Judi Dench, Eileen Atkins, Imelda Staunton and Julia McKenzie, brought Elizabeth Gaskell's Cranford to life in one of the best-loved classic dramas of all time. This celebratory omnibus edition includes the classic novel of the same name, a comic portrait of the lives of Cranford's genteel female inhabitants, as well as a novella and a short story. Both of these, The Moorland Cottage and The Cage at Cranford, feature in the Cranford two-part Special due to be screened on BBC television over Christmas 2009. These poignant portraits of early Victorian country village life deserve to be read and re-read.

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Product details

  • Paperback: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing PLC; Re-jacketed ed edition (16 Nov 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1408805944
  • ISBN-13: 978-1408805947
  • Product Dimensions: 12.9 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (79 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 986,865 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description


'Bathed in a poignant, dreamlike mood found nowhere else in fiction' Guardian --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

Book Description

Based on three Elizabeth Gaskell novels, The Cranford Chronicles follows the small absurdities and major tragedies in the lives of the people of Cranford, a small Cheshire market town, during one extraordinary year. --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
54 of 54 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Even better than the DVD!!!! 6 May 2009
After watching the BBC series on TV, I had to get the books, and this edition contains all of the books used to make the series. Although there are some slight differences, for example the characters from the 3 stories don't intermingle as they do in the film, I really really enjoyed it, and having watched the DVD again, I think the books are equally good if not better because there are parts that aren't in the dvd - for example a sub-story about the french revolution told by Lady Ludlow. The book itself (as in the paper) is also good quality! You probably won't be disappointed!!! :-)
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75 of 76 people found the following review helpful
By A Customer
This novel contains one of my favourite lines; "it is high time that Miss Jessie lay off her dimples". This is a classic book that focuses on domesticity in the 18th century. It highlights the basically mundane life that faced women (particularly spinsters) of this era. If you want exitement and adventure this is not the book for you. If, however you are interested in the history of domesticity and how small things meant so much, then this book is delightful. I love it, and will reread it many more times.
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30 of 30 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Enjoyable 6 Oct 2010
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
If you have seen the tv series of Cranford then you have some idea of the story, although in that another two stories by Elizabeth Gaskell was added. Cranford isn't really a novel as such, it is a series of vignettes, or short stories and it was originally published from time to time in Household Words.

There is not a main plot as such, because of the way it was originally composed, however that doesn't detract from it as something fun to read. There is a lot of humour here, and my favourite is a cow being given clothing due to an accident. This is always fun to read, and is ideal for relaxing and unwinding to.
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20 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Cranford 7 April 2009
Format:Audio CD|Verified Purchase
This is a gentle tale of a long-gone way of life. It is beautifully read, and I enjoyed it very much. The style is naturally old-fashioned by today's standards, but there is humour in the content. I found that it helped to have seen the recent TV production starring Judy Dench, Imelda Staunton and many other famous actors, as I could picture them in my mind's eye as I listened, but if you are fond of writing from a bygone era, you should enjoy this too. The story gives an insight into life as it was in the mid 19th century, with its petty rituals and prejudices, so if you are offended by old fashioned class structures, this may not be for you!
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Synopsis 19 Oct 2007
By Mary_10
The provincial town of Cranford is a community of delightful simplicity and innocence. Yet its values were already old-fashioned and under threat from the inevitable forces of change when the mid-Victorian Mrs Gaskell described them with ironic affection and a sharp eye for the ridiculous. 'Cranford' explores the dying way of life of the 'Amazons' - unwarlike maiden ladies and widows of a certain age. They practise elegant economics; their days are passed in visits, cards and genteel gossip. But alongside the comedy is the pathos of restricted lives borne with courage.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I wish she had written more. 23 Oct 2009
Cranford was written as a serial at the request of Charles Dickens for his paper, Household Words. It is a portrait of country town life before it was changed forever by the industrial revolution. Life moves at a gentle pace and we are acquainted with the qualities and quirks of the predominantly female society. Sometimes there is pettiness, but mostly, when push comes to shove, the ladies of Cranford are good as gold. Mrs. Gaskell tells her tale with obvious affection for Cranford which she based on her childhood home of Knutsford.

I was not too hopeful of enjoying a tale mostly about widows and spinsters but I was pleasantly surprised. This book both made me laugh and cry. Mrs. Gaskell manages to sometimes tell of what was probably considered rather vulgar in her day in a tasteful manner.

One of the funniest bits is when Mrs Forrester gets comfortable in the presence of Lady Glenmire and relates the near loss of a bit of precious old lace her ladyship was admiring. I will say it involves a cat and a borrowed boot. I laughed until it hurt.

I found Cranford a comfortable and pleasant escape. I will read this one again while sipping my favourite tea and my doors are open to let in the sound of birdsong.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Charming 23 Nov 2007
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Cranford wasn't originally a novel but a series of occasional articles appearing in 'Household Words'. Due to this the book as a whole does not really hold up to being a complete novel, however it does make a good read. The village of Cranford is run more or less by women, with only a few male characters making an appearance. Gaskell seems to be sticking two fingers up at those men who thought that women weren't really able to take control of their own lives. The women seem to get on alright at what they do.

Although there are deaths in the community this book is very up-beat and not depressing. Indeed amongst the pages there is quite a lot of comedy, with a cow in flannels, a cat given an emetic so it will excrete some lace it's ingested, and a magic show. On the whole I found this book a nice relaxing read about a world that no longer exists (if it ever did). People help each other and life moves at a steady and sedate pace.

If you enjoy Jane Austen and Thomas Hardy there is no reason why you shouldn't enjoy this book.
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