Posted by: Lisa Hill | February 22, 2013

Right at Last (1860), by Elizabeth Gaskell, narrated by Harriet Walker

Right at Last 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
ISBN: 9781407461052
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 link below:

Fishpond: Right at Last


  1. My experience has so far been that Elizabeth Gaskell novels are always good. And it is especially nice to see a small novel like this in the audio format.


    • I didn’t discover her till the ABC screened the North and South series, and Cranford, and then I read the books. I read Ruth too, but I didn’t think that was as good. I’d like to read Wives and Daughters, and Mary Barton – have you read them? They’re the ones listed in 1001 Books…


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