Los Angeles, CA | Member Since 2013
Yes! I would like to see more focused research about Lady Almina's life rather than listen to lists of who was at dinner, what was served and who wore what.
I liked the son's adventures the best.
Based on the comments of other readers, I was excited about reading this book. I listened to the audible version and I must say that, while interesting, it didn't engage me as I thought it would. Yes, it tells the story of the countess of Highclere Castle, the site of Downton Abbey; and, yes, Lady Almina lived a very compelling life, especially in her years as a nurse during World War I. But I was immediately wary when the Introduction states that this is not a biography nor is it a history. So, then, what is it? Much of the book (especially the early chapters) are lists culled from guest books and photographs. Who came to dinner. What did Almina wear on her wedding day? Who were her bridesmaids. Where did they have their wedding reception and what was served? Frankly, this was not particularly compelling to me.
The book gets more interesting when journalistic records of the time improve and we learn more about Lord Carnarvon's many trips to Egypt and his discovery of King Tut's tomb.
This is rich material but because of the lack of sufficient research, it lacks a deep exploration of the key relationships in Lady Almina's life. After all, relationships form the foundation of the engaging Downton Abbey...that's what keeps us involved in the show...and that's what is missing here.
4.5 Stars. I wasn't quite sure what to think when I began this book -- it was three disparate stories that I knew were going to connect but couldn't figure out how and, I wasn't sure I wanted to know as the characters seemed so ordinary and even somewhat superficial. And then, in a split-second, the book took off and I was hooked!
While some may look at this as a piece of women's fiction, I believe it runs deeper than that. To me, it is a treatise on guilt: how people live with this very strong emotion and how their feelings about guilt affect those around them. It begins with the perfectly ordered life of Cecilia and John-Paul and their perfect little family of three beautiful girls; it continues with Tess whose husband Will is leaving her for her close-as-a-sister cousin Felicity, causing Tess to engage in a wild affair of her own; it ends with Rachel whose daughter Janey was found murdered decades before yet she can't get over the pain, especially when she uncovers evidence that -- to her -- shows incontrovertible proof that someone she always suspected must be guilty of the crime.
The author moves between the three stories with ease until they all coalesce. And, despite the plethora of characters, they are all treated with care and seriousness.
This was a good read -- engaging, involving, dramatic and entertaining. I very much enjoyed Caroline Lee's narration. She hit all the right notes with her reading and captured the emotion of the characters extremely well.
I never had the opportunity to read Mary Shelley's classic horror story but listening to the incredible narration by Dan Stevens was a fantastic way to experience this masterful piece of writing. The book is at turns exciting, action-packed, sad and dramatic. Dan Stevens' nuanced performance captures every mood from every character. Three months after listening to this book and I'm still thinking about it. This could be my favorite Audible book of all time.
Listening to Cabin Pressure while driving, I found myself laughing so hard that I'm sure people driving near me thought I had gone mad. Well, I had...I went mad with laughter at this well-written, well-acted and hilarious show that spoofs private airline travel. I'm working my way through the whole series and hope this troupe continues to record new episodes forever. Yes, it's that entertaining!
Maybe it was the time period (WWII), or the location (Channel Islands), but mostly likely, it is Eddie Chapman himself who makes his story of being a double agent (for England and Germany) so arresting and compelling.
Eddie is little more than a petty criminal with a strong knowledge of how to perform these acts of crime when he is pulled from prison in the Channel Islands (which have been taken over by the Germans) and forced into becoming an agent for them. They like the fact that he's a criminal with a past...it helps them keep him in line.
After months of training, Eddie's first assignment is to go back to England and blow up one of their factories. He parachutes into his homeland and goes directly to the authorities, offering to become an agent for England. After days of questioning by British officers, they accept his offer. Eddie is now an official double agent.
The book goes into detail about the training Eddie received from both countries and explains how good he was at memorizing names, faces and places. We learn about the relationships he had with both the German and British officers. And, we learn plenty about Eddie's personal life -- he was pretty good at charming the ladies.
I found the book -- and, particularly, the subject of the book -- quite fascinating. It was interesting to see the strategizing and behind-the-scenes plotting going on between the two countries. And, it was particularly intriguing to see how this one petty criminal became such a successful double agent.
The narrator was fantastic -- easy to understand and good with the different accents. A real tour de force performance.
I enjoyed this book tremendously.
This isn't my first time with Jane Austen's classic and it definitely won't be my last. This book is so wonderful, smart, witty and romantic, it's no wonder it is considered one of the best novels ever written.
The story of Elizabeth Bennet and her hate/love relationship with Mr. Darcy is the basis for every romantic-comedy written since Austen's book was published. Even after all these years, after the thousands of books and hundreds of movies that have used Pride and Prejudice as their base, this book remains a glowing reminder of how difficult it is to find true love...but, how glorious it can be when you do.
This version, narrated by Lindsay Duncan, is just wonderful. She reads Elizabeth as a grounded, serious young woman rather than as a flighty thing (saving those flourishes for her portrayal of Mrs. Bennet) and, despite there being five Bennet sisters, you can always distinguish which sister is which with Ms. Duncan's narration.
I was riveted by this audiobook and highly recommend it, not just for the narration but for the joy of hearing the love between Elizabeth and Darcy blossom all over again.
I read this book last year and loved it so much that I bought the Audible version so I could revisit the lives of Will Traynor and Louisa Clark. Despite knowing the book and being familiar with the story, I got caught up in it all over again and was overcome with emotion at their unconventional love story.
This book works on many levels. It's not only a love story and a coming-of-age tale but a deeper examination of the value of life.
I recommend this book -- in any version -- to any and all!
Why, yes, it is! Somewhat similar to The Hunger Games in that young people are trained to be superior physical beings and often must fight each other for supremacy, the first book in this trilogy spends much of its time on the training regimen facing Tris, an "initiate" into the "Dauntless" faction. In Roth's world, humans are split into five different factions, according to aptitude tests they take when they're sixteen. At the "Choosing" ceremony, they may select whatever faction they want. Tris' tests show her to be "divergent," meaning she has several different factions to her personality. Born into "Abnegation," the selfless faction that now runs the government, she opts to leave them and become a Dauntless.
The Dauntless are just that and training is not the easiest for the initiates. Tris finds comfort in friendships with some other initiates and finds herself bullied by others. She also experiences love for the first time in the person of Four, the training master of Dauntless.
But, what is all this training for? Tris soon finds out when she happens upon a plot betwen the "Erudite" faction and the Dauntless. Will she be able to stop it?
I don't know how this book escaped me all these years (and me...an English major!) but I am so glad I finally got to it. Written in 1859, this is the type of mystery-thriller that isn't attempted anymore. It is a complex and detailed story that combines nefarious and mysterious behavior while ultimately proving that love conquers all.
This is the story of Walter Hartright, a common artist who finds a woman in dressed in white on a solitary London road at midnight, begging for his help. It describes the quagmire Walter falls into because of his kindness to this woman -- a quagmire that takes him across the land to uncover the mystery of the woman in white. Along the way, he encounters an evil count, a greedy baronet, a beautiful lookalike, a handsome older sister and many other intriguing characters.
It's long and involved, sometimes convoluted, with a large cast of characters and lots of moving pieces...but everything works with a rhythm that hums perfectly from page 1 all the way to the end. And, even if you think a character or an action will have no bearing on the story, think again! Considered one of literature's first mystery novels, Wilkie Collins carefully plotted and planned each movement of every character so all the puzzle pieces coalesce into a perfect whole.
It's exciting and fun, somewhat challenging at times, but well worth the effort. In addition, the audio performances are wonderful...this was a real treat to listen to and I was so sorry when it ended.
If you love mysteries, if you love villains, if you love love...you'll love The Woman in White.
I wish I had the patience to sit through this narrator's reading one more time. As it was, I had to reverse and listen to sections over and over again due to her artistic choices so I feel like I have already listened to this book three or four times!
I love the passion of the two key characters, Newland and Ellen, which is heightened by their inability to declare their love openly. Any scene in which they appear together is tense but passionate...and certainly memorable.
No. While she articulates the prose well and reads Wharton's novel with enthusiasm, I felt her artistic choice to open every sentence loudly and end it in a whisper was difficult and annoying. I had to hit the rewind button far too many times which seriously harmed the experience for me,
The three main characters - Newland, Ellen and May - are memorable and deeply drawn. While May is depicted as an innocent child-woman, she turns out to be very clever indeed. Bit. my favorite character is Newland, who maintains his dignity despite his passionate love for Ellen. Ultimately, he makes the right choice but his passion is deeply felt.
Although it's difficult to believe in our modern times that two people in love could have their love constrained in such a way, the novel's depiction of this forbidden love is beautifully rendered.
I would absolutely recommend this audiobook to my friends. Jake Gyllenhaal's reading is superb and very engaging.
Thematically strong, this book is masterfully written.
I found Jake Gyllenhaal's performance to be exactly right. His reading perfectly captured the seriousness of the book. It was lovely to listen to and I was sad when his reading came to an end.
I was overcome by emotion at several key scenes of the book.
It has been years since I read this book and I feel as if I was too young and immature to appreciate its beauty at the time I read it before. I am older now and I can fully embrace the novel and all that Fitzgerald hoped to do with it.
This is a wonderful book with strong themes and engaging characters (starting with Jay Gatsby himself). It's not difficult to become thoroughly involved in Gatsby's life, his intense love for Daisy and his mysterious upbringing. Importantly, despite its being written many years ago, it perfectly translates to today. With the economic upheavals we are currently experiencing, it's good to have be reminded that money doesn't buy you happiness...and it never will.
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