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My Lady Ludlow

3.42 of 5 stars 3.42  ·  rating details  ·  331 ratings  ·  52 reviews
Lady Ludlow is absolute mistress of Hanbury Court and a resolute opponent of anything that might disturb the class system into which she was born. She will keep no servant who can read and write and insists that the lower orders have no rights, but only duties. But the winds of change are blowing through the village of Hanbury. The vicar, Mr. Gray, wishes to start a Sunday ...more
Paperback, 240 pages
Published August 30th 2005 by Chicago Review Press (first published 1858)
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My Lady Ludlow is one of the Elizabeth Gaskell books that the BBC miniseries Cranford is based on, and because the TV series used more than one of her novels the plots had to be altered so they could fit together. Seeing the series made me want to read what Gaskell wrote, and though sometimes it’s irritating when the book and screen version diverge, in this case reading the book was like indulging in a pleasant alternate reality. I had a little more time to spend with characters I had come to lo ...more
Gayle Francis Moffet

Where I found charm in Cranford and Mr. Harrison's Confessions, there's not really any charm in My Lady Ludlow. There is a multiple-chapter story as told by Lady Ludlow to the narrator (a young woman who lives with her) that is used to explain why Lady Ludlow doesn't want the lower classes to receive education, and I honestly can't tell if the story is met to be read as Lady Ludlow being entirely serious in her defense of not wanting people educated or if we're supposed to find her ridiculou
Traveling, it does a 50-book challenge good.

This book definitely counts more than Dr. Harrison...but I may need a break for Gaskell. Her first person narratives are starting to wear thin.

This book focuses on the narrator who goes to live with her distant relative, Lady Ludlow. LL is a old-fashioned noble, with old-fashioned ideals and a strict adherence to the way "things should be." She is also a tragic figure who bore and lost many children. She is determined to help everyone in their neighbo
I listened to this on Librivox, after watching the BBC "Cranford." (Lady Ludlow is included in "Cranford.") Though the readers were great, the problem with listening to slow-moving books is I can't speed-read ahead when I'm losing interest. I still love Elizabeth Gaskell's writing, but this is my least favorite work of hers.


“We cannot speak loudly or angrily at such times; we are not apt to be eager about mere worldly things, for our very awe at our quickened sense of the nearness of the
Jan 06, 2010 Donna rated it 3 of 5 stars
Recommended to Donna by: Kindle
Maybe even a 2.5. It is rare that I don't enjoy Victorian lit--but this is one time I really didn't. The story was ridiculouly rambling and tangential; the characters were annoying (with the exception of Miss Galindo, who is supposed to be annoying and who I rather liked); the ending was too abrupt; and there didn't seem to be any point.
The book like the narrator herself states has no real beginning or end. There are many interesting characters and themes in the story. One of the hotly debated topics was the notion for education for all without teaching them the morality and responsibility that comes with knowledge. You could see the coming change in English society with the clamor for education and rights for all (a notion which seemed repellent to the aristocracy). A couple of chapters was devoted to the love story of two Fre ...more
Plus qu’un roman, comme Cranford, Lady Ludlow est avant tout une succession d’anecdotes amusantes ou émouvantes sur une société en pleine évolution (thème cher à Gaskell, qu’on retrouve aussi dans Nord et Sud et dans Femmes et filles). Comme toujours, les personnages de Gaskell sont intéressants car complexes. Elle ne porte pas de jugement moral sur eux. Du coup, Lady Ludlow, qui est rigide et qui se réfère encore à un code social quasi-féodal a aussi des aspects touchants. Rigide, réactionnair ...more
My copy is actually not this edition but The Cranford Chronicles, a collection which includes Mr. Harrison's Confessions, Cranford, and My Lady Ludlow. I prefer to list them individually as I read them. Have previously read Cranford more than once but became aware of my Lady Ludlow and Mr. Harrison's Confessions after watching the BBC production of The Cranford Chronicles.

Lady Ludlow is a staunch upholder of the class system into which she was born. She is not in favour of change. And yet, she i
Elizabeth (Miss Eliza)
Miss Mary Smith often visits Cranford. While she provides an outside view of the goings on of this town of "Amazons," she views herself as a true Cranfordian. She usually stays with Deborah and Matty Jenkyns, and later, after Deborah's death, with just Miss Matty. Yetshe has been known to stay with the gossipy and often inadvertently hilarious Miss Pole, in particular during the misunderstanding of what a cage is... to some, a piece of undergarments, to Miss Pole, erroneously a parrot cage. Ever ...more
I did really enjoy this book. However, I found it quite slow to start. It took me a while to feel invested in the book. However, I really loved the characters. Once I was more into the book, I really loved it. There didn't, in the end, seem to be all that much point, except maybe to show that Lady Ludlow is not as strict in her old beliefs as she proclaimed to be. But, it was fun to read. Her stories didn't tend to convince me of her being right-they simply were enjoyable stories.
My Lady Ludlow is one of the books that the PBS series Cranford is based on. I downloaded this novel for my Kindle. I enjoyed the story despite the mid 19th century writing style. It's not Jane Austen, but it's readable and provides an interesting insight into a long-vanished world. Lady Ludlow is a dying breed, who is struggling as the world changes around her. She is an aristocrat born in the 18th century as the 19th century brings innovation and social change at a dizzying pace. It was easy ...more
I can't praise Gaskell enough. Her writing style is so modern. She tells stories as from memory rather than chronologically. Her empathy for people from all classes is so evident in this book. She takes a controversial issue of the early 19th century, teaching children from the lower classes to read and write, and shows how it is viewed form all angles. Lady Ludlow is vehemently againdst it. The parson is vehemently for it. Gaskell shares a dramatic tale about the French revolution to explain La ...more
Simone Ramone
It pains me to rate Elizabeth at anything less than 5 stars, alas, enough of this tale felt like it might be by Dickens himself that it was a sad let down.
Emily L Hewett
A Different Kind of Book

Told in the first person. Would make a good movie for PBS. Gives a good insight into 18th century English culture.
K.M. Weiland
Like so many readers, I picked up this little-known Gaskell novel because of its relation to the BBC miniseries Cranford. Aside from a basic interest in seeing how this story was woven into the other two upon which the series was based, it was also a pleasure to see Gaskell at work, crafting a truly wonderful character in Lady Ludlow. She's brought into so much greater focus here than we see in the television series. Absolutely charming. However, the book itself is extremely episodic, focusing a ...more
Katie Browning
The first Gaskell book I have read that I haven't found any attachment to. It doesn't feel like a fluid story--just portraits of a few different characters spun into an 100 pageish novel. Meh.
Free download available at Project Gutenberg.
I have been looking for some of the characters in the movie "Cranford" that are not in the book "Cranford" and I found some of them here. This book made me think. I had never seen someone actually make a plausible argument for not educating people, but whether you agree or not, the case is made. At the very least, this book makes the case that character, ethics, and integrity must be taught along with reading, writing, and arithmetic. I really liked the story within the story that is told. It is ...more
Not as good as the author's Cranford, but still very entertaining.
This book falls along the lines of "Cranford", but without the sparkling humor. It centers on an old noblewoman (Lady Ludlow) and her collection of spinster companions. Save this novella for when you've out of Gaskell works to read. Not bad, but not entirely satisfying either.
The story rambled in/out with gossipy tales of this person and that person. Very much like what you would hear whispered about in a small village of the time. But 1/2 way through the book it became tiresome.
Enjoyed the book
I enjoyed this book as it provided the missing background behind BBC's "Cranford." This novel humanized Lady Ludlow and spent quite a bit of time explaining her distaste for public education. Miss Galindo's story and her attachment to Lady Ludlow was also supplied. The only disappointment was the story of Mr. Horner (Mr. Carter) and Harry Gregson. Mr. Horner comes across as a very flat, undeveloped character in the book, and I much prefer the movie's well-developed treatment of him.
Laura Lou
Again, reading this to enjoy more fully BBC's Cranford.

Liked this a deal better than Mr Harrison's Confessions, but, like Cranford, Mrs. Gaskell employs a flat narrator to tell her tale in first person. The dark scenes of the French Revolution were by far the most riveting and emotionally engaging. Although Gaskell was a keen observer of traditional English society, I think she hit upon a passion within those too few pages.
As with Austen's Emma, the eponymous character in this novella is so annoying that I find myself unable to finish the book. I wanted to read My Lady Ludlow because it was part of the inspiration for the BBC's Cranford miniseries; however, in this case, I'm willing to skip the source material entirely and go straight to the televised version.
Out of the three novels that form the Cranford Chronicles, this one I found to be the most interesting. It really made me think about the progress we have made in society over the past 200 years. It addresses everything from communication, education, politics, and religion. It presented some very intriguing arguments and perspectives. I thoroughly enjoyed this novel.
I think I've read too many Gaskell books in a row because I started getting tired of this one, even thought it was good. I could see some hints of Cranford the movie in it. I saw it mostly as a juxtaposition of the old way of doing things to the new, and the old aristocracy learning to deal with those changes, Lady Ludlow of course doing so with grace.
I enjoyed this book. I chose this Gaskell because I was sure I'd never seen a movie of it, and I didn't want to know how the book ended. As it got closer to the end though, it became very familiar to me; so maybe there was a movie after all.

Anyway, since no one else is participating in Goodreads, this will be my own last entry.
Sarina Meyer
This book is excellent. It tells the story of a pastor who labors endlessly to bring about change in favor of the poor and oppressed. Over time he succeeds! Mr. Gray is a great example for all pastors. He perseveres despite Lady Ludlow's disapproval. Would that more pastors were as undaunted as he was.

Loved the TV series so thought I would read some of the books. Some of the characters are completely different, but that's not a bad thing, just unexpected. But the large chunk devoted to the French story was too drawn out for me, and the ending was rather abrupt so it wasn't a regular novel structure.
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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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“We cannot speak loudly or angrily at such times; we are not apt to be eager about mere worldly things, for our very awe at our quickened sense of the nearness of the invisible world, makes us calm and serene about the petty trifles of today.” 4 likes
“I have often thought of the postman’s bringing me a letter as one of the pleasures I shall miss in heaven.” 1 likes
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