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review 2017-07-23 00:00
The Cranford Chronicles
The Cranford Chronicles - Elizabeth Gaskell A collection of the three short novels by Elizabeth Gaskell that were adapted into the BBC mini-series. There is a tentative connection between Confessions and Cranford, but I believe they were not originally meant to be read together. Still they go well together as observations of small town and village life in the early to mid 19th century.

Mr. Harrison's Confessions: 4 Stars.

A young doctor unwittingly gets in over his head in romantic entanglements when he begins his practice in a small town where he has mostly female patients.

Cranford: 5 Stars.

A lovely collection of anecdotes and wisdom from a community led by its women. The lack of plot is inconsequential.

My Lady Ludlow: 2 Stars.

Scarred by the French Revolution, a kindly English aristocrat must be brought around to accepting reform on her estate.
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review 2017-07-23 00:00
My Lady Ludlow
My Lady Ludlow - Elizabeth Gaskell My Lady Ludlow turns out to be the weakest link in the Cranford Chronicles. The story starts off well enough, with young Margaret Dawson being summoned to live with her distant cousin Lady Ludlow to lift some burden off of her family. The small village and the estate of Hanbury have their characters and all of their lives seem to rotate around the whims of 'my lady'.

All of this is to the good, but when the Gaskell moves the novel from shading Lady Ludlow's character with her experiences of the French Revolution to actually devoting a third (it felt like a third) of its pages to a detailed tragic story of her son's friend's attempt to save a cousin from the Terror. We're told before the story begins how its going to end so the twists and turns and near-misses in revolutionary Paris don't thrill, they irritate. Just bring out the guillotine already!

The thrust of the story seems to be Lady Ludlow's natural sympathies adjusting her aggressive anti-education and High Anglican sentiments to the 'modern' Regency standards of rural education and forgiving people for being in trade. Her kindness was always present, but masked behind her unwillingness to accept change of any sort.

Unlike Cranford whose plot is even slimmer than the above, My Lady Ludlow never develops a full community of characters and the social observations are fewer. It is not as rewarding or as warm a book as others by Gaskell.

Previous: Cranford

From: The Cranford Chronicles
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review 2017-06-12 00:00
Cranford
Cranford - Elizabeth Gaskell,Patricia Ingham Cranford is more a series of recollections and trains-of-thoughts than a properly structured novel, and yet I couldn't ask for a more satisfying story. Mary Smith's visits to the village of Cranford, which "[i]n the first place, is in possession of the Amazon...", are full of affection and rife with detail of how genteel women of modest means lived in the mid-19th century and, by extension, gives a lot of insight into how people behave, which is as relevant today as it was 150 odd years ago.

I especially enjoyed the digression about favorite economies, how Mary Smith says she is endlessly saving and hoarding string, even pieces which can't possibly have a use. We all have something, and reading that part aloud to my husband made us both immediately launch into each other's foibles, and consequently those of our family and acquaintances. All in all a profitable evening.

There is no doubt in my mind that the characters of Cranford were largely drawn from life, the turns of phrase, the way the ladies behaved, the topics of discussion, with some alterations this could be about the regular meetings of my own small village. A fantastic achievement. I'll be back for more.

Previous: Mr. Harrison's Confessions
Next: My Lady Ludlow

From: The Cranford Chronicles
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review 2017-06-07 00:00
Mr Harrison's Confessions
Mr Harrison's Confessions - Elizabeth Gaskell By virtue of its being co-opted, along with My Lady Ludlow, into the fantastic BBC adaption of Cranford Mr. Harrison's Confessions is considered a prequel, but is in fact set in Duncombe. There are some related character-names, but I'm not convinced that that was more than coincidence.

Mr. Harrison is a handsome, and so very eligible, young doctor who has started a promising practice in Duncombe under the supervision of Mr. Morgan, the established doctor. All is going well until he finds himself under suspicion for wooing several of the ladies of the village! Along the way Harrison is able to share with the reader his thoughts on the social customs of the townspeople, modern medical practice, and the wisdom of entertaining old friends among new professional acquaintances.

This is a short novel full of humor and sharp observances on mid 19th century life. Highly recommended for an afternoon or two.

Next: Cranford

From: The Cranford Chronicles
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text 2016-09-29 17:05
Bookhaul #32

In my last bookhaul I told you guys that I was planning on going to a huge booksale thing, so here's my bookhaul! I would too many books in my opinion, but I really want to read them all and I paid less than 20 euros in total for like 8 books, so yay! I also ordered two books and they came in the mail today, so I thought it would be the perfect time to finally show them. 

As you can see, all above are classics. Those are the ones I bought for less than 20 euros. I'm so excited to read all of them (I've already read Alice in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass, but I wanted to get his entire collection) and some of them are on the Rory Gilmore list as well. Which one of these are you most looking forward to seeing a review?

I've been wanting to collect (almost) every book of both of these authors so I thought it was about time to get them. The only book I now need to get of Adichie is We Should All Be Feminists (but I already watched her speech on TedTalks so not sure if it's worth to buy it). I also bought This Savage Song by Victoria Schwab. First I wanted to wait until this entire series is out, but because I want to get all her books in hardcover I decided to buy them once in a while. My plan is to buy A Darker Shade of Magic and the second book in that series too, because the third and final book in that trilogy will be coming out in February. I also cannot wait to read more by these authors!

 

What is your latest book purchase?

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