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3.75 of 5 stars 3.75  ·  rating details  ·  3,881 ratings  ·  273 reviews
• Two of English writer Elizabeth Gaskell’s best-selling books are bound together in this Kindle book: Ruth & North and South

Ruth 1953
Ruth, a British orphan girl who works in a sweatshop, is selected to attend a ball to repair torn dresses and meets aristocrat Henry Bellingham. They meet again and form a secret friendship which goes horribly wrong for Ruth.
She is he
Published January 1st 2000 by Audio Bookshelf (first published 1853)
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Kristina A
Jun 12, 2008 Kristina A rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: people who like Victorian novels or Gaskell
Recommended to Kristina by: Emily from the Victorians Institute conference
Shelves: victorian
It's funny; Gaskell's novels seems to me to be what everyone thinks of as a "Victorian novel," and yet she is not really read or taught widely. Just a thought.

Unlike some of the other readers, I did not love the character of Ruth. A lot of people say that Victorian heroines are always too good to be true, and I can see that point, but Ruth seriously is too good... in my opinion, too good to be very attached to as a reader. The narrator and Mr. Benson keep saying she has faults, but her faults se
Feb 26, 2008 Sarah rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: anyone
Others might have found this book problematic because of all the scriptural references that Mrs. Gaskell quotes but I found it refreshing and loveable. Her writing is very sympathatic towards Ruth although not all of the characters in this novel are near being as Christ-like as Mr. and Miss Benson. Sally the housekeeper kept the humor and a few tears in the book for me but Ruth's character was unmistakable of pure love for all mankind even at her death and her forgiving heart to nurse back the l ...more

Ruth drove me crazy; women who are vulnerable and have such terrible obstacles thrown at them should gain
empathy. Gaskell seemed to go to the extreme with Ruth: tragedy, poverty, isolation and no fight. Her character felt one-dimensional.

Ruth starts alone in the world working as a dressmaker, at the beginning she shows empathy towards a fellow dressmaker and some spunk which does make her likable. She meets a Mr. Bellingham, who is completely narcissistic and infatuated with her innocence/
Diane Lynn
The story of Ruth Hilton is told by an unknown narrator looking back after “many years.” It takes place during the Victorian era. Ruth is a 15 year old seamstress working long hours as an apprentice. She is also an orphan and very beautiful, and more importantly, she is very naive and innocent.

She was little accustomed to oppose the wishes of any one— obedient and docile by nature, and unsuspicious and innocent of any harmful consequences.

She knew that she was beautiful; but that seemed abstrac
Mar 16, 2012 Elaine rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: adult women
Recommended to Elaine by: Tricia S
I had a hard time getting into this book at first. When I finally gave up trying to get through the laborious introduction criticizing Mrs. Gaskell's work, then I could hardly put it down. This book evoked many emotions in me -- I laughed, I cried, I disliked certain characters, and loved others. I believe that is a sign of a good book! The story takes place in the mid-1800's and revolves around the main character, Ruth, who has been orphaned and through some innocently-made poor choices, finds ...more
Emma Flanagan
I’m never sure how to describe Elizabeth Gaskell or her books. She is like a cross between Jane Austen and Charles Dickens, with her books fluctuating along a spectrum between the too. Some like Cranford and Wives and Daughters with their focus the lives of the middle and upper classes are more Austen. Others like Mary Barton with a focus on social issues are more Dickens. North and South, my favourite, sits somewhere in the middle with its love story and exploration of social issues.

Ruth is is
Published in 1853, Ruth is Elizabeth Gaskell’s second novel and deals with the "theme of the fallen woman in the mid-Victorian era". The story of the long suffering heroine, Ruth Hilton, is almost entirely based on a real life case that Gaskell herself encountered and helped resolve during her many charitable works as the wife of a Unitarian minister in Manchester. Like her first novel, Mary Barton (1848), Ruth is intended as a "social-problem novel". Although Gaskell tried a lesser harsh ap ...more
I would give this a 4.5, but they don't have that option. I am really loving Elizabeth Gaskell. She is just fantastic. I would say that Elizabeth is like if Charles Dickens and Jane Austen had a child. She has the reality of Dickens, but not quite so wordy. And the romantic sensibility of Austen, yet not so witty. Anyway, "Ruth" was very very good. Very sad, but very good. I borrowed this book from my mom, as always. And when she lent it to me she said, "It's a story of redemption." And that's e ...more
Dana Loo
Prima di leggere Ruth avevo un po' fantasticato sulla figura di questa fallen woman. Mai però avrei immaginato la personalità angelica di una ragazzina moralmente ignorante, totalmente ignara del peccato di cui si era macchiata ma che, una volta preso coscienza della sua onta, cercherà in tutti i modi di espiare.E' chiaro che la Gaskell volesse colpire il lettore dell'epoca, creando una protagonista talmente innocente che potesse ispirare compassione e sopratutto facesse riflettere; che attraver ...more
Mar 29, 2012 Vanessa rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Fans of Victorian Lit
Recommended to Vanessa by: Mom
Shelves: favorites
Ruth is 16, recently orphaned and sent to work in harsh, oppressive conditions as a seamstress. She is extremely naive and exceptionally beautiful, and also very lonely, making her easy prey for the rich and self-serving 23-year-old Mr. Bellingham. He endears himself to her with kind words and friendship, but when her employer sees her out walking with him, she is suddenly and unjustly fired from her position. With no means to obtain food or shelter, Ruth is rightly terrified. Mr. Bellingham tak ...more
I really didn't care for this novel. Gaskell is a great writer so it isn't the quality of the prose but the content which disappointed me. For those unaware of this classic, Ruth is about a young woman who (view spoiler)

I can see
Ruth is the story of an extremely beautiful and very young orphan girl who is seduced by a young gentleman, Mr. Bellingham, and left with child. There is no redemption for the fallen woman in Victorial England, the the innocent and good Ruth faces many trials and tribulations. Her only true friends in this ordeal are Mr. and Miss Benson and their servant Sally. Ruth goes on to have the baby and stays with the Bensons, the story being that she is the widowed sister of Miss Benson. Events take a t ...more
Lucinda Elliot
Mar 28, 2011 Lucinda Elliot rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Gaskell enthusiasts
This is a stirring tragic novel, if melodramatic at times. Gaskell is at pains to point out that Ruth is blameless of her 'sin', being it seems ignorant of sex, but she regards her as having innocently sinned anyway, and this leads on to her expiation of humiliation and self-sacrifice. Very unfair.

This relentlessness on the part of the author did make me indignant. Why is poor Ruth so pursued for fornication when many male characters get away with far more serious misdoings - for instance, Char
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
This is the second Elizabeth Gaskell novel that I have read. I think one of the things that is always shocking to me as I read classic novels is the change in the value of virtue that has taken place in just a little over a hundred years. Ruth the main character in the book makes a poor choice as a youth to have a relationship with a rich man out of wedlock and she spends the rest of her life paying for it. No matter how good she is when the truth comes out about her past it overshadows everythi ...more
Def not my favorite Gaskell story. This was only her second novel and I admire her for being ambitious enough to take on such a novel, especially so early in her career. Surely even a male author during this time would have suffered from public scrutiny, but as a female author I believe she was even more harshly judged.

This novel is a surprisingly compassionate portrayal of a situation that was strongly abhorred during that time. While I appreciated Ruth’s determination and the faith that she ma
Why had I never heard of this book before? I picked it up on a whim as it was the only remotely interesting looking audio book on shelf at the library. I ended up falling in love with it. Oh, in some ways the format was predictable, I suppose, but I really did get to know and love many of the characters. Or, in the case of Mr.Bradshaw, a character that from the first irritated me with his self righteous, patronizing attitude. He SO reminded me of some ultra-legalistic fathers I've come across--w ...more
This is the fourth Elizabeth Gaskell book I have read and with this book she has firmly cemented her position as one of my top five authors. This is a beautiful book. It is a slow read, but a good slow read. It's just the kind of book you don't want to rush through. And I think it was very courageous of her to right a book like this. I'm sure in her time it was quite an outrageous topic to tackle! But she succeeded perfectly.

I loved the characters. They all have their flaws and yet they are all
I really liked this book. I was a little put off by the intro in the book that talked about how melodramatic and unrealistic the character of Ruth is. I was ready to not like the book, or at least not feel a connection to the characters. I didn't mind the melodrama because I expect it from writings at this time. Also, I felt that the almost-perfection of Ruth was necessary because of the extreme prejudice toward women at this time in regards to unwed mothers.(Among other things.) I think that Ga ...more
Gaskell succeeds again at writing a captivating story with fascinating characters and thought-provoking themes. All of her books portray her intense social conscience, but each depicts a variety of conflicts, thus creating a fresh experience with each book. "Ruth" describes a society that is self-righteous and judgmental, and Gaskell specifically criticizes her society that keeps women naïve but then punishes them for their innocence. She does this by juxtaposing the self- righteous members of h ...more
I really, really enjoyed this book. Written in 1853, it covers the life of young Ruth Hilton, an innocent orphan. She is led astray by a charming young man and ends up abandoned and pregnant. An interesting subject for the time period, but Gaskell handles it tactfully. The first part of the book is a little slow, but by the end you love Ruth so much that you can't help but be interested in her ultimate fate.
I thought it was an interesting look at the attitudes of people during the time period to
Well this one also took me a long time to get through and was not exactly a page turner. Ultimately though, I enjoyed it. Ruth reminded me a bit of Fanny Price - she was almost too annoyingly "goody two shoes"... except for the stains of her past. It was hard not to root for her when most of the town turned on her and Leonard. So infuriating that indiscretions were always blamed completely on the women and never the (older!!) men during that time. Also some really beautiful writing by Gaskell, w ...more
Jul 03, 2014 Laura rated it 2 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Laura by: Misfit, Jeannette
Free download available at Project Gutenberg.

From BBC Radio 4 Extra:
A pretty orphan is apprenticed to a dressmaker. Stars Rory Kinnear

This is not my cup of tea....
"Ruth" is the second novel of 19th century English writer, Elizabeth Gaskell. Our main character, Ruth Hilton is an orphaned young seamstress, barely sixteen, who falls to the charms of a wealthy and spoiled young man, Henry Bellingham. While the storyline may seem to be like so many others, there is just something about Gaskell's "Ruth" that makes the story seem fresh and new. There is often a tendency of us 21st century folk to believe that we invented "open-mind" philosophies. Albeit there a ...more
Apr 08, 2011 Deanne rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Anyone who likes Victorians
Really enjoyable on a subject which today doesn't seem such a big deal. Interesting how sypathetic Gaskell is and you feel that Ruth was a character she cared about.
This was a frustrating re-read. I admire Elizabeth Gaskell for tackling difficult themes - in this novel, the seduction by a wealthy and spoilt young man of a naïve girl of 15 who subsequently has an illegitimate child. However I detest the conventions of the time that insist on her life-long repentance and the ostracism of her son. Mixed in with the somewhat mawkish descriptions of Ruth's self-loathing are flashes of strong will and spirit as she learns to live with her disgrace and support her ...more
Tonia Peckover
I listened to this book over a long period of time, so I might have felt differently if I had sat down to read it straight through, but I found Ruth's tale of redemption very enjoyable and even inspiring in places. For sure there are times when the Victorian sensibilities make you want to pull your hair out, but the novel is populated with good, kind people who behave the way anyone might hope they would behave in trying times. And of course there are recognizable scoundrels too for counterpoint ...more
Elizabeth Gaskell is fast becoming my favorite author. She writes such a wide variety of literature and is very passionate about the social issues that she writes about.

Ruth was so interesting to me because I read about Gaskell in the introduction. At the time if a woman had sexual relations and wasn't married let alone had a baby out of wedlock, that was it. You were done for. No repentance, you were shunned no matter the circumstances. You were either forced into a life of prostitution or sent
I read a lovely old 1887 version of this book which I found on ebay for about 8. The "cheaper" illustrated green cloth, and black and gold gilt versions which are always easy to find for Thackeray, but this was the first one I saw for Mrs. Gaskell. The book had 5 stories Ruth, The Gray Woman, Morton Hall, Mr. Harrison's Confessions, and Hand and Heart. Ruth was very enjoyable. A story that was quite controversial at the time, apparently burned by a member of her husband's congregation. It is int ...more
'm embarrassed to admit that I've been a bit afraid of this book. I'd heard it was considered one of the saddest of tales in British literature. In the past I'd started this book at least twice, then stopped.
I'm over-joyed to say I fell in love with this book and finished reading it Sunday night!
It is a beautiful story. It is not a cheerful story, but it is a story of sweet- tenderness, sacrifice and love.

Ruth Hilton, when we first meet her is an auburn haired teenage girl working long hours in
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Elizabeth Cleghorn Gaskell, née Stevenson (29 September 1810 – 12 November 1865), often referred to simply as Mrs. Gaskell, was an English novelist and short story writer during the Victorian era. She is perhaps best known for her biography of Charlotte Brontë. Her novels offer a detailed portrait of the lives of many strata of society, including the very poor, and as such are of interest to socia ...more
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“Similarity of opinion is not always—I think not often—needed for fullness and perfection of love.” 29 likes
“Ask , and it shall be given until you. That is no vain or untried promise, Ruth!” 6 likes
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