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by Elizabeth Cleghorn Gaskell
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Even though Mrs. Gaskell wrote 130 years ago, her message of gender and class inequality is familiar today. Ruth is a young woman who is orphaned at 15, apprenticed to a dressmaker, seduced and abandoned by a thoughtless lord of the manor. Ruth's troubles could be melodramatic in the hands of a writer less able than Gaskell and a reader less empathetic than Eve Matheson. But Matheson is an actress of great depth. Every character in this production is given a fully rounded persona. Her sensitive reading gives not just a memorable sound for each person, but also a sense of place at every scene change. She hits every high and low point, down to the catch in her own voice at a young woman's loss of her lover. It is those vocal dynamics that keep us glued to the story. J.P. © AudioFile 2001, Portland, Maine-- Copyright © AudioFile, Portland, Maine
One of the less familiar of Mrs. Gaskell's novels, Ruth was in its own time a cause celebre which not only contributed substantially to its author's growing reputation but also won the approval of a number of her distinguished contemporaries. The text used for this edition is based upon that
of the first edition published in 1853.
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