Cranford is Elizabeth Gaskell's gently comic picture of life and manners in an English country village during the 1830s. It describes the small adventures in the lives of two middle-aged sisters in reduced circumstances, Matilda and Deborah Jenkyns, who do their best to maintain their standards of propriety, decency, and kindness. At the center of the novel is Miss Matty, whose warm heart and tender ways compel affection and regard from everyone around her. Also revealed are the foibles and attributes of the pompous Mrs. Jamieson and her awesome butler, the genial Captain Brown, the loyal housemaid Martha, and others. Using an intimate, gossipy voice that never turns sentimental, Gaskell skillfully conveys the old-fashioned habits, subtle class distinctions, and genteel poverty of the townspeople. Cranford is one of the author's best-loved works.
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