This review is from: Cranford (Kindle Edition)
Published in the middle of the 19th century, this is inevitably rather dated and rambling. As I read the first couple of chapters on my Kindle, I started wondering when it was going to get to the point, or at least begin the story. There's a lengthy description of the fictional town of Cranford, ruled by middle-class and upper-middle class ladies, and while there was gentle irony in much of the description, I found myself drifting off at times.
However, it gradually gets going, as the narrator - Mary Smith - stays with the delightfully vague Miss Matty, and takes part in the everyday life of her friends. It's a lovely piece of social history, giving glimpses - albeit caricatured - into life in this era, in this kind of small town. I could quite see why it was made into a TV series and also why it was so popular.
There isn't a huge amount of plot; people come and go, rather a large number die (not untypical of the time), and there's an encouraging, if rather coincidental ending.
I'm not strongly inclined to get hold of the sequels, but I enjoyed this as a bit of gentle historical fiction and am glad I read it. Three and a half stars would, perhaps, be fairer.