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Cranford is a study in contrasts. The differences in the male approach to the world, with their freedoms, and the female approach to the world, with all the restrictions placed upon them. I can honestly say that I had fun reading this book. I grinned, smiled, chuckled and even laughed out loud. No episode was too tiny to cause a complete, unrealistic upheaval among the ladies of Cranford. One of my favorite parts of the story concerns how they all react when rumor and half-truths have them convinced that a gang of thieves and burglars are roaming the countryside.

It is funny and heartwarming but also sad to see the lengths they go to in order to protect themselves and their households from these thieves who are, in reality, simply the result of gossip and overactive imaginations. Another part I am particularly fond of is when the main characters allow themselves to unbend to the extent of divulging to their friends what their worst fear is.

Miss Matty revealed that she was afraid each night that a man was hiding under her bed. Her method of reassuring herself that no person was there was actually quite astute and surprising for this womans character. But Cranford is not all warm feelings and quaint happenings. There are real tragedies which effect these women and move their lives into totally different directions.

This book is told in the narrative style. There is very little dialogue. The name of the narrator is not even mentioned until later. I had read the persons name in the Introduction but I was very surprised to see that this type of presentation did not detract from my enjoyment of the book at all. I enjoyed all of the time I spent reading it and will certainly read it over and over.

Very highly recommended for any reader who enjoys historical fiction. It is not a romance, more a journal of the everyday lives of women who depend on themselves and their friends for comfort and companionship

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