Cranford Read-Along: Part 2

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

I didn't love Cranford at first. It felt trivial and slow. But half way through the book I realized that I loved these characters, our narrator Miss Smith, the gossipy Miss Pole and most of all, the gentle, trusting Miss Matty.

Here are my thoughts on the first half.

The book is made up of 16 chapters; each chronicles a small event in the quiet English town of Cranford in the 1840s. The women in the town are a tight-knit group, skeptical of outsiders and protective of each other. There are many humorous sections with mistaken identities, misunderstandings and unneeded panic, but those aren't the sections that will stay with me in years to come.

The chapter that finally hooked me was ch. 13 Stopped Payment. When a local bank has unexpected troubles we have a chance to see Miss Matty's goodness shine. She is so selfless in her concern for others that it broke my heart. Her sincere love for her friends and neighbors knows no bounds. When Miss Matty own finances seem dire, the dear ladies of Cranford come together to help her without her knowledge. That's the true heart of this sweet book, friendship that rises to the occasion, silently offering a shoulder to cry on or a hand to hold.

To me, this quote from Miss Pole summed up how the women of Cranford see themselves ...

"We, the ladies of Cranford, in my drawing-room assembled, can resolve upon something. I imagine we are none of us what may be called rich, though we all posses a genteel competency, sufficient for taste that are elegant and refined, and would not, if they could, be vulgarly ostentatious." - p. 160

This is my final post on Cranford for the read-along hosted by Allie at A Literary Odyssey. This was my first read-along and I loved it. I'll definitely be participating in more in the future.

I have the first disc of the BBC miniseries adaptation of Cranford at home and I can't wait to watch it. Has any one else seen it?


Anonymous said...

I havent seen the miniseries from the BBC although I hear it has more plot than the book. I enjoyed reading cranford, a much more gentle read than Im used to but a welcome change.

Becky Hill said...

I have seen and have the miniseries and Return to Cranford. All are wonderful! You will love them.

Anonymous said...

I agree, the ladies of Cranford were the best. It was a first read a long for me also; along with Gulliver Travels with Allies blog. The second half of the book really pulled it all together. Allie's Mom

Melissa (Avid Reader) said...

Return to Cranford, there's more? Well I have lots of Cranford viewing ahead of me. Thanks Becky!

Cat said...

My first readalong too and I really enjoyed it. I hope you enjoy the miniseries - I'll probably take the plunge as most people seem to think its good.
The Cranford ladies really are special people.