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Ruth by Elizabeth Gaskell
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Ruth (1853)

by Elizabeth Gaskell

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Showing 1-5 of 17 (next | show all)
I really didn't care for this novel. Gaskell is a great writer so it isn't the quality of the prose but the content which disappointed me. For those unaware of this classic, Ruth is about a young woman who gets seduced and becomes pregnant. Luckily for her, a Dissenting minister takes her in when she is abandoned by her lover and he & his sister decide to take her home and hide her "misfortune" by declaring her a widow. Eventually the secret comes out.

I can see that this topic would have been daring when this was written. Unfortunately, Ruth is annoyingly sweet and simple (to the point of stupidity in places) and the entire novel is too preachy in tone.

That said, I added another ½ star because despite the fact I didn't like Ruth and was mostly bored by the book, I still cried at the end. Only a good writer could pull that off! ( )
  leslie.98 | Apr 14, 2015 |
I am abandoning this Librivox recording as Cynthia Lyons just isn't keeping my interest. I will continue with the Kindle book... ( )
  leslie.98 | Apr 9, 2015 |
“Ruth” is quite a departure from the likes of Elizabeth Gaskell’s “Mary Barton” and “North and South”. Those two novels were amongst many that I had to read whilst at university. I liked them enough to want to read more works by this author.

What I’ve read since has been hit or miss. I can state that if “Ruth” had been the first book I’d read by Elizabeth Gaskell then I would not have read any more of her fiction. The quality of the author’s writing is the only reason I’ve rated this novel two stars instead of one.

The title character is passive, placid, and too good to be true in many respects. The reason for this virtue is to compensate for her wicked sin of having a child out of wedlock. This act is upon what the novel revolves around.

I may have appreciated the themes in this book more if I’d lived during the 1800s, but then I like a lot of stories written during the 18th century that deal with topics that have little or no relevance today.

There are a few good scenes but a few is not enough in a lengthy novel. Few characters stand out as being especially interesting. Jemima is perhaps the most engaging, especially early on, but as the story progresses, her appeal digresses.

There’s a lack of real conflict and a heavy focus on religion, making this reader at least feel like I’m being preached to. I’m certainly all for Christian values and virtues, but when I read a novel I expect to be engaged by a convincing plot and strong characters, and don’t want to read a sermon.

To sum up in a list, I found this too mundane, too didactic, too slow, too repetitive, too uninspiring, too lacking in conflict, too much religious preaching, too pitiful in regards of the main character, and far too depressing.

If you’ve never read a Gaskell novel before and want to check her out, I’d recommend that you pick “Mary Barton” or, better still, “North and South”. But each to their own, as this is just my opinion.

She’s a great writer but the themes she writes about determines the quality of her work. ( )
  PhilSyphe | Dec 10, 2014 |
The story of Ruth, an orphan apprentice milliner, who is abandoned by her gentleman lover and taken in by a dissenting minister and his sister. It is a story of repentance and judgment: Ruth is for years represented as a widow, but her secret of course comes out eventually. I found the story moved on at quite a pace. Mr Bellingham, the seducer, is a nuanced character and, although I never really warmed to Ruth, there were lots of other satisfying characters. I particularly enjoyed the Ruth/Jemima/Mr Farquhar love triangle. A satisfyingly weepy ending. ( )
  pgchuis | Jul 29, 2014 |
I read this years ago and it really stuck with me. I must get around to reading it again to refresh my memory of the minutiae of the story. I read it as part of a course of study of victorian writers (might even have been victorian female writers) and personally far preferred it to all the Jane Austen we were also having to read. ( )
  Peace2 | Jan 19, 2014 |
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» Add other authors (4 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Elizabeth Gaskellprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Dolin, TimEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Easson, AngusEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Shelston, AlanEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Epigraph
Drop, drop, slow tears!
And bathe those beauteous feet,
Which brought from heaven
The news and Prince of peace.
Cease not, wet eyes,
For mercy to entreat:
To cry for vengeance
Sin doth never cease.
In your deep floods
Drown all my faults and fears
Nor let His eye
See sin, but through my tears.
Phineas Fletcher
Dedication
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There is an assize-town in one of the eastern counties which was much distinguished by the Tudor sovereigns, and, in consequence of their favour and protection, attained a degree of importance that surprises the modern traveller.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0140434305, Paperback)

Ruth Hilton is an orphaned young seamstress who catches the eye of a gentleman, Henry Bellingham, who is captivated by her simplicity and beauty. When she loses her job and home, he offers her comfort and shelter, only to cruelly desert her soon after. Nearly dead with grief and shame, Ruth is offered the chance of a new life among people who give her love and respect, even though they are at first unaware of her secret - an illegitimate child. When Henry enters her life again, however, Ruth must make the impossible choice between social acceptance and personal pride.

In writing Ruth, Elizabeth Gaskell daringly confronted prevailing views about sin and illegitimacy with her compassionate and honest portrait of a 'fallen woman'.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:24:01 -0400)

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"Ruth Hilton is an orphaned young seamstress who catches the eye of a gentleman, Henry Bellingham, who is captivated by her simplicity and beauty. When she loses her job and home, he offers her comfort and shelter, only to cruelly desert her soon after. Nearly dead with grief and shame, Ruth is offered the chance of a new life among people who give her love and respect, even though they are at first unaware of her secret - an illegitimate child. When Henry enters her life again, however, Ruth must make the impossible choice between social acceptance and personal pride"--Goodreads.com.… (more)

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An edition of this book was published by Penguin Australia.

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