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3.84  ·  Rating Details ·  28,162 Ratings  ·  1,646 Reviews
In the delicately impoverished town of Cranford, everyone is keen to know everyone else's business. The community is almost devoid of men, and in their place a solid matriarchy has formed. Manners must be observed, house calls must not exceed a quarter of an hour, and neither money matters nor death may be discussed in public. But the peace is often disturbed. Rumoured bur ...more
Kindle Edition, 193 pages
Published (first published 1851)
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Dec 22, 2014 Sue rated it really liked it
"the humor is so sly. at times it's difficult to believe that this was written over 150 years ago. I guess that gentle social humor has always been with us." --- this was one of my status updates while reading Cranford, my first experience reading Elizabeth Gaskell.

As I finished reading, I felt the same way: pleased with the experience, surprised at the wit and wisdom written so well so many years ago. But then I ask myself...Why am I surprised? There are always intelligent women and always int
Sep 19, 2016 Cheryl rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: those who enjoy nineteenth-century portraits
Shelves: orchids, vintage
I'll admit I'm no procurer of Victorian liteary novels, but I've always wanted to dabble in the works of Elizabeth Gaskell, the woman who had the honor of writing The Life of Charlotte Brontë. Cranford is said to be slightly humorous, with a unique take on the lives of women during that era. A bit humorous, partly due to the preposterousness of the attitudes surrounding small town etiquette, yes, but I wouldn't call it humorous in the general sense. And yet these characters are electrifying and ...more
Apr 03, 2014 Vanessa rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
FINALLY, an Elizabeth Gaskell book that I enjoyed!

I honestly didn't think I would enjoy this book, and was almost regretting putting it on my Dewey's 24-Hour Readathon TBR. And whaddya know, I finished it!

Cranford follows a group of women living in the small fictional town of, you guessed it, Cranford. The women live in "genteel poverty" and have very old-fashioned mindsets about life and social niceties and norms. The book is told from the perspective of Mary Smith (or Elizabeth Gaskell), and
Mar 01, 2017 Sara rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: classics
3.5 stars, rounded down.

Want to take a trip to a small English town in the mid 1800s, meet the people and see what everyday life was like for the female population? Open Cranford and travel in time. It is a sweet and simple book, comprised of what seems more like vignettes than an actual plot line. Nothing exciting happens, life just unfolds, and yet you feel attached to these women, admiring the grace with which they handle their sometimes difficult world, the way they navigate a system that pi
helen the bookowl
This is a book about the village of Cranford which mainly women inhabit; women who live according to customs and norms and who are quite fond of gossip. If you think this sounds good then this might be a book for you, but I personally got very tired of it very quickly.
Each chapter follows a new anecdote, and while some of them were quite entertaining, most of them were dull and quite shallow, in my eyes. I'm sure the ladies of those days thought them of the utmost importance, but I couldn't see
May 31, 2012 Kim rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audiobook

What a gorgeous book. After years of avoiding Victorian literature, in the past twelve months I've fallen in love with Gaskell's writing. This is a short work: more a series of episodes than a linear narrative. It centres on the lives of a group of women who dominate society in the small town of Cranford. They are united by being single - widows and spinsters - and by the fact that live in genteel poverty.

Cranford is at times laugh-out-loud funny, at times deeply moving. Within five minutes of
This little novel about small-town life in 19th century England deals with a group of ladies in Cranford and their daily travails, is easy to read and filled with amusing anecdotes.

The story flies by too quickly and ends too soon, however, leaving a taste of insubstantiality and emptiness, like when you finish eating candy floss (cotton candy, for the Americans out there). Because this book doesn't really tell a story in the traditional sense, with a start, a middle and an end, and there's no t
Laurel Hicks
Great fun! Mrs. Gaskell's gentle yet probing comedy of manners is a book worthy of many readings. There's a lot of dressing up in this book--wearing the perfect hat for the occasion, buying the latest material, dressing a cow in flannel, Peter's ill-received jokes. No clear plot, but then I don't usually read for the plots. The character studies here are priceless.
Ah, so delightful! I loved this. It's really a series of vignettes, and, if there is a plot at all, it doesn't show up until halfway through. But it's so funny! And sad! And it's all about women! I laughed aloud a few times, and almost cried a few other times.

Sigh. I'm such a sucker for this stuff. But I loved it. Despite its disjunctive narrative, I read the whole book in less than three days. But I'm strange that way.

For Happy (I would alert readers to spoilers, but there actually isn't much
Beautifully observed and gently funny, Cranford is less a novel than it is a series of vignettes, drawn from the lives of a small group of genteelly impoverished older women in a small town in mid-nineteenth century England. Gaskell is quite gentle with her characters, I think perhaps because she was aware of how limited a life she was creating for them—with all the social restrictions placed on unmarried women, with just enough social status to be unable to work to support themselves, but with ...more
Lois Bujold
Jan 19, 2013 Lois Bujold rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I picked this up due to a review by Jo Walton on She described it as something like a mid-19th Century English Lake Wobegone, which gives a tolerably accurate sense of the discursive tone. Charming and kindly, with only a tenuous thread of anything one might call a plot, but nonetheless absorbing. I quite liked it. It is available as a free e-edition on Amazon Kindle.

The first-person voice makes it very naturally a "told" story, untouched by the later cinematic techniques that infiltrat
May 16, 2016 Lemony rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Prépare-toi une bonne tasse de thé ( pas du thé vert), mets-y un peu de crème et juste ce que tu aimes de sucre. Installe-toi dans ton endroit préféré, et s'il pleut comme aujourd'hui c'est encore mieux. Prends un plaid au cas où.
Tu vois? On est à Cranford. Petite ville ville, pas très loin de Londres; avec ses règles, ses coutumes et surtout son étiquette et sa bienséance. Et les femmes de la ville y tiennent.
Tu vas te retrouver dans une petite boule a neige ou le temps s'est presque arrêté;
Renee M
Sep 25, 2016 Renee M rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
It took me a while to get into the rhythm of this book, after having been so swept away by North and South. This is quite different, but the two together showcase the bright talent that was Elizabeth Gaskell. Another reviewer has described the novel as adorable, and I heartily agree. It was so lovely to shake off the dust of my day for a few stolen moments in Cranford.
Kirsti (Melbourne on my mind)
Let me start by saying that I probably would have enjoyed this book more if I hadn't seen and loved the BBC's adaptation of Cranford like 10 years ago. Because this book is effectively a series of individual vignettes all set in the same village. The adaptation, in contrast, overlaps and spreads the vignettes out over the course of its episodes, allowing a more coherent storyline to emerge.


There's nothing WRONG with the vignettes. But you don't find out the narrator's name until about two t
Delightful! This is going on my favorites shelf.
Nov 15, 2013 Pink rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I liked this, it was sweet and humorous and quick to listen to. Although, I can't remember much that happened. There was the scene with the cat, some stuff about hats and fashions, some downfalls and some reunions. A snapshot of small town life in 19th century England, not a lot has changed really.
Oct 25, 2016 Sinem rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
1800'lerde İngiltere 'de Cranford adlı bir kasabada yaşayan bir grup kadının günlük yaşantılarını anlatan kitap aslında çok mizahi ve dönemine göre çok feminist ve Viktorya dönemi İngilteresine taşlamalarla dolu. O dönemden bi caanım Jane Austen bilen ve sevenlere bu Charles Dickens ile arkadaşlık kurmuş geç -hele de Türkçede epeyce geç- keşfedilmiş zeki hanımefendiyi şiddetle tavsiye ederim. Kitabın giriş cümlesi zaten olacakların habercisi " Her şeyden önce, Cranford, Amazonların elindedir..."
Is it possible to discuss Cranford without using the word "charming?" It'd be like playing literary Taboo. Like trying to talk about The Road without saying "bleak," or Catcher in the Rye without "insufferable twat."

Cranford is a charming book. If it seems a bit more episodic than plot-driven, it's because it is; it was originally commissioned by Dickens as a series of eight essays for his publication Household Works. It was enormously popular, so Gaskell ended up novelizing it. And it does have
Cranford by Elizabeth Gaskell is Victorian literature at its best. A small community-in this case, for some reason populated almost exclusively by women, in which all the events of the larger world occur (love, death, marriage, childbirth, financial struggles) but in microcosmically allowing their repercussions to reverberate more loudly while simultaneously being softened by the arch tone of the book and rather hilarious eccentricities of the town's inhabitants.

I loved this book. I would avoid
Feb 23, 2015 Katherine rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
At first, Cranford may seem superficially quaint in it's manner, as it relates the story of a small country town made up of mostly middle-aged women. But to read it only for it's quaintness is to do yourself a disservice, for there is more strength to this novel than just that.

The first thing I noticed while reading was the surprisingly modern humor to be picked up on. From forcing laxatives on a fine lace eating cat, to dolling over a cow loved as a daughter (my examples may all be animal rela
Susanna - Censored by GoodReads
Charming start. I went to bed the first night envisioning livestock in grey flannel petticoats.

Mr. Dickens v. Dr. Johnson? Count me in with ol' Chuck any day!
To prime myself for Return to Cranford, the new Masterpiece Classic sequel to last year’s award-winning mini-series Cranford on PBS, I wanted to read Mrs. Gaskell’s original novel that it was adapted from. Since I am always short of reading time, I chose instead to listen to an audio recording, my favorite pastime during my commute to work. After a bit of research on Cranford audio book recordings, I settled on the Naxos edition. From my experience with their recording of Jane Austen’s novels I ...more
I ended up liking this much better than I thought I would. At first I was lost as to how all the characters fit together. It felt like walking into a room full of people not knowing anyone. In addition to not knowing anyone in the room nobody acknowledges my presence. I'm in the middle of a conversation not knowing anything about the lives of people around me. I found it daunting getting up to speed on the life and times of the people of Cranford. I even considered abandoning it. I am glad I was ...more
Victoria Minks
Feb 13, 2017 Victoria Minks rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
Sigh. Cranford...I just love Cranford. I know it's definitely the kind of book that's not everyone's style but it's just so sweet, and hilarious, and comfortable... It's written in a series of vignettes and it can feel a bit scattered, but maybe that's why I like it. It feels real-- like a friend is writing you bits and pieces of a place she loves. Just... Captain Brown!!! ;( I love so many of the characters in the book and their oh-so-subtle quirks and funniness. Miss Pole is by far my favorite ...more
K.M. Weiland
Jun 08, 2013 K.M. Weiland rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I knew going into this book that the BBC miniseries by the same name had been only loosely based upon the book. I also knew the book was more a series of vignettes than a plotted story. So I was prepared for what some readers have considered its downfalls. All I can say is it is CHARMING. It had me laughing from the very first paragraph. The characters are a delight and the vignettes are sparkling from beginning to end. Gaskell refers often to Dickens's Pickwick Papers; in my opinion, this is Ga ...more
Apr 11, 2010 Arukiyomi rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
The 1001 Books list has totally changed the way I read novels. It’s given me access to writers that have deeply influenced the way I see the world and has given me memories of characters and storylines that have been incredibly powerful. And then it’s introduced me to Elizabeth Gaskell and the trivial wittering rubbish of Cranford.

This is a book about absolutely nothing. I recently thought Northanger Abbey lacked any substance. How very wrong I was. Cranford redefines pointlessness. I waited in
Captain Sir Roddy, R.N. (Ret.)
I finished this book this morning on the train on my way to work. What a sweet, elegant, witty, and gentle little book this is. Cranford is really a series of quasi-connected vignettes involving a group of spinster women in a quiet little town in the south of England. Each of the tales is full of little details about the little things, even bordering on minutiae, that are so important to a group of very close friends. There are laugh-out-loud funny moments, and there are poignant, even sad, mome ...more
Oct 13, 2013 Anita rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Step away from Persuasion Austen lovers. Put down the 15th rereading of Pride and Prejudice. Jump ahead to a new century and read Cranford. This witty exploration of a sleepy English town where the women have a rigid caste system is lovingly and laughingly portrayed, and it will make your heart glad. You will love Miss Mattie and the others as they keep up conventions amidst flies in the system's ointment as people they love make poor decisions, i.e. marrying beneath them (or sometimes marrying ...more
Jul 13, 2016 Faith rated it really liked it
Shelves: audio
Pleasant, charming and amusing depiction of life in a small town. Its episodic nature resulted in its being not terribly involving. I had already watched the tv series based on the book, so none of this was new to me. The audio narration by Prunella Scales was delightful.
4 stars. I like the light humor & pathos in this novel, very similar in style to Jane Austen, Angela Thirkell or Miss Read. Much more of a fun read compared to Gaskell's North and South

Nadia May does a good narration in this audiobook edition.
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Boxall's 1001 Bo...: March {2017} Discussion [DOUBLE FEATURE] -- CRANFORD by Elizabeth Gaskell 9 67 Apr 17, 2017 03:23PM  
Victorians!: Cranford Time Line 126 39 Dec 26, 2016 04:53PM  
Victorians!: Cranford/North and South discussion 5 21 Oct 30, 2016 09:08AM  
Victorians!: Cranford ch 5-7 68 33 Oct 10, 2016 11:11PM  
Victorians!: Cranford Ch. 8-10 16 24 Oct 09, 2016 10:44PM  
Victorians!: Cranford Ch. 14-16 55 27 Oct 07, 2016 08:14AM  
Shelfari 1001 group: Cranford by Elizabeth Gaskell 5 10 Aug 04, 2016 05:45AM  
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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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“I'll not listen to reason... reason always means what someone else has got to say.” 186 likes
“Out of the way! We are in the throes of an exceptional emergency! This is no occassion for sport- there is lace at stake!" (Ms. Pole)” 84 likes
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