This was an interesting novella because it showed Elizabeth Gaskell’s early promise. The plotting is a little naïve, and the characterisation is a bit simplistic, but the heroine Margaret is a strong-minded, smart woman who transcends the social mores of her historical period to overcome difficulties which overwhelm her weaker husband.
It’s a case of a couple who fall in love but her father disapproves of the suitor because nothing is known of his family background. They marry anyway and he begins to forge a successful career as a doctor. Before long, however, circumstances conspire and he has to reveal A Dark Secret. Margaret is (of course) compassionate and understanding, but the couple must weigh the consequences of acting ethically when it means compromising their social situation and income prospects.
The story shows the themes of social prejudice, judgemental attitudes, and the power that an independent income can offer a woman who wants to go her own way.
It’s only 75 minutes long on an audio book but it offers food for thought, even in the 21st century.
I really liked the narration by Harriet Walker, the Scots accent was just right!
Author: Elizabeth Gaskell
Narrator: Harriet Walker
Title: Right at Last
Publisher: Clipper Audio
Source: Kingston Library
I can’t find the audiobook for sale anywhere but a text version is probably available free online at somewhere like Project Gutenberg. If you want to buy a print copy, click the links below: