⭐⭐⭐⭐ 4 out of 5 stars
Cranford is an unusual book. It is a novel but reads more like a collection of short stories. The narrator is Mary, a young woman who visits Cranford— a small town where the society consists of a set of older ladies, widows and spinsters. Throughout the years, she keeps coming back to Cranford and telling the stories of this sleepy place.
The characteristic feature of this book is the lack of a linear plot. The chapters are only loosely connected, as every one of them contains a story about the Cranford ladies. In their peaceful lives, full of old-fashioned clothes and values, the most exciting event is probably the appearance of a travelling magician, who divided their opinions. The pace is languid here, and I believe some people might call this book boring. I found it very relaxing. I listened to it as an audiobook, read by Prunella Scales, who has a traditional British accent. This added to the nineteenth-century atmosphere of the novel.
In conclusion, it is a very specific book that might not be for everyone. I think it is a beautifully written classic that was old-fashioned from the moment it was published.