The charming and witty prequel to Cranford, Mr Harrison's Confessions is a neglected Gaskell classic with all the period detail, brilliantly drawn characters and a well-knitted plot associated with Gaskell's works. Enjoying the comforts of his well-kept home in middle age, country doctor William Harrison is prevailed upon by his longtime friend Charles, a bachelor, to dispense some advice on the 'wooing and winning' of women's affections. So begin the fascinating and varied recollections of one of Gaskell's best-loved characters. Lured to rural Duncombe by the promise of a partnership in a country practice, William finds himself trapped in claustrophobic provincial life where society is apparently presided over by the scheming of a set of under-occupied middle-aged women. Their supposed matchmaking prowess in fact leaves much to be desired; so much so, indeed, that before long the hapless young physician finds himself betrothed to three women - ne of whom is the beautiful Sophy, the woman he truly desires. Chaotic, hilarious and poignant, Mr Harrison's Confessions is a comedy of manners - and of errors - that will resonate with Gaskell aficionados and newcomers alike.
Elizabeth Gaskell (1810 - 65) was one of the best-known writers of the Victorian era. Her works offer portraits of a cross-section of the society she observed, and much of her work focused on the struggles of the rural poor. She is best remembered for her novel Cranford, published in 1853.