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At first I thought Prunella Scales' relatively low-key reading a little dull, but as I Iistened my way through this lengthy classic I came to hear that she has it brilliantly right: a more hyped-up reading would have grown impossibly tiring. Her characterisations of the wearisome Mrs Gibson, the overbearing countess, Cynthia, the Squire and others are spot on, with never a doubt about what each is thinking and feeling behind their words. She even overcame the only drawback of the book - that Molly and Roger are so spotlessly white, and their relationship so lacking in tension, that I have always found it difficult to take a full interest in whether or not they come together.
31 of 33 people found this review helpful
A committed Jane Austen fan, I first discovered Mrs Gaskell through BBC mini-series adaptations of her books whilst casting around for something similar to Jane.
The story itself is wonderfully written with characters that shine. There is subtly of character, humor, and character that you will love and love to hate.
But what really sets this one apart is Prunella Scales' absolutely superb narration, which the sample does not do justice to. She is able to read the male and female characters, upper and middle class accents, and local dialect accents wonderfully. I am English myself, and was so impressed by her range and accuracy. I shall certainly be looking out for more books read by Ms Scales -- bravo!
So if you are a fan of light but subtle, well-written period drama's (this is set in a country town in Victorian England) a la Jane Austen, give this a try - you won't be disappointed.
32 of 32 people found this review helpful
If you're in the mood for a delightful listen about Victorian, England, I definitely recommend this. It was entertaining and fun and light. Prunella Scales is probably the best reader of any book I've listened to. She moves from person to person so easily that you glide along with her and she never sounds forced.
I was disappointed when I read in some reviews that she died before she could finish the book, but the ending is there just not in her voice which of course would have been preferrable but did not spoil it for me.
16 of 16 people found this review helpful