Why did I love this book?
It’s never the plot that draws me to a novel; it’s always other ingredients like people and place and, in these regards, Cranford is a stellar delight. The protagonist is a frequent house guest in the small town of Cranford, giving readers intimate access to the quirky social codes of its mostly female population. From the ones who care about social mores to the ones who care less, these wonderful vignettes document their attempts to outwit a visiting magician, or foil rumored night-burglars, or adapt to the losses of loved ones. Each woman has had a journey in some way stifled by the patriarchy of the 1800s but these ladies’ timeless and absorbing intelligence, compassion, loyalty, ingenuity, forbearance, and above all, wit, shine through.