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jill

ratings
58
REVIEWS
12
FOLLOWING
0
FOLLOWERS
0
HELPFUL VOTES
15

  • Lady Almina and the Real Downton Abbey: The Lost Legacy of Highclere Castle

    • UNABRIDGED (7 hrs and 32 mins)
    • By The Countess of Carnarvon
    • Narrated By Wanda McCaddon
    Overall
    (238)
    Performance
    (216)
    Story
    (215)

    Lady Almina and the Real Downton Abbey tells the story behind Highclere Castle, the real-life inspiration and setting for Julian Fellowes's Emmy Award-winning PBS series, and the life of one of its most famous inhabitants: Lady Almina, the fifth Countess of Carnarvon. Drawing on a rich store of materials from the archives of Highclere Castle, including diaries, letters, and photographs, the current Lady Carnarvon has written a transporting story of this fabled home on the brink of war.

    connie says: "the lowdown on Downton times"
    "Fascinating"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    As a fan of the "Downton Abbey" series, I picked this selection on a complete, total lark. I expected it to be lightweight, fun, and not much more than a marketing exploitation based on the new fame of the series. Instead I found a completely interesting story of lives, society and a time, enveloped and transformed not only by the tragedy of WWI, but also by the discovery of King Tut's tomb. Not only well done and interesting, but the narrator, Wanda McCaddon. is fabulous and completely appropriate to the story. Really enjoyed this.

    9 of 9 people found this review helpful
  • The Road to Burgundy: The Unlikely Story of an American Making Wine and a New Life in France

    • UNABRIDGED (7 hrs and 51 mins)
    • By Ray Walker
    • Narrated By Sean Crisden
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (27)
    Performance
    (26)
    Story
    (27)

    Ray Walker had a secure career in finance until a wine-tasting vacation ignited a passion that he couldn't stifle. Ray neglected his work, spending hours poring over ancient French winemaking texts, learning the techniques and the language, and daydreaming about vineyards. After Ray experienced his first taste of wine from Burgundy, he could wait no longer. He quit his job and went to France to start a winery - with little money, a limited command of French, and virtually no winemaking experience.

    Kevin says: "Unfortunate narration"
    "Fun book needs narrator who can pronounce french"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Would you listen to The Road to Burgundy again? Why?

    My husband definitely would. He loved it. It's pure escapism and at the same time, it is a (mostly) true story. I found it far-fetched and a little bit contrived, but it is (mostly) a true story, and the narration just detracted from the overall experience.


    What was one of the most memorable moments of The Road to Burgundy?

    To me, it was Ray Walker's return to Northern California after having spent months in Burgundy - and his comments on how life in France and French culture is different - what's important, the focus on freshness of meats and produce, how 'terroir' weaves into the fabric of french life in ways that just don't happen in the US.


    How could the performance have been better?

    The narrator did not add to the story at all - left a lot to be desired, and at times seemed snarky to me. He kept mispronouncing words like 'Beaune' (he pronounced it as 'Boone' as opposed to the correct pronunciation, phonetically 'Bone') a fairly important city in Burgundy. Initially I thought this oversight (there were others) was part of the charm of the story (San Fran native moves family to Burgundy to make wine, knows no french much less how to make wine), but this wasn't the case. How could one love Burgundy and then consistently mispronounce that great city's name or the Côte d'Or? Cringeworthy, but obviously I got over it.


    Any additional comments?

    One of the lessons of this story, I believe, is the underlying 'make it happen against all odds' David v. Goliath message. Walker understood his passion, never knew quite were it would take him, yet persevered through the stress, naysayers and uncertainty to arrive at a place in his life he never could have imagined. And he tells you at the end, it is worth imagining, believing and pursuing doggedly -- making happen what one may only dream about.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Cricket on the Hearth

    • UNABRIDGED (3 hrs and 39 mins)
    • By Charles Dickens
    • Narrated By Jim Dale
    Overall
    (2100)
    Performance
    (1767)
    Story
    (1783)

    The holidays are upon us, and this year Audible is very happy to present to our members one of Charles Dickens’ most popular Christmas stories, The Cricket on the Hearth. This holiday classic (original subtitle: “A Fairy Tale of Home”) tells the innocent, picturesque, and charming story of a poor family and their would-be guardian angel; in short, a delightful vision of Victorian Christmas. As always, a great story calls for a great voice, so we’ve brought in legendary actor and record-breaking Audie and Grammy award-winning narrator Jim Dale (The Night Circus). Happy holidays and happy listening!

    Linda Lou McCall says: "NOT "DICKENSIAN" ENOUGH"
    "Festive!"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Would you listen to The Cricket on the Hearth again? Why?

    Absolutely! A great Dickens Christmas story, really well done.


    What does Jim Dale bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

    Dale was Dickensian-perfect in his characters - his performance added to the enjoyment of the story for me.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Classic Tales of Christmas: A Yuletide Collection of Stories, Poems, and Essays

    • UNABRIDGED (2 hrs and 6 mins)
    • By Harrison Morris, Alphonse Daudet, John Fox Jr., and others
    • Narrated By Daniel H. Vimont
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (11)
    Performance
    (11)
    Story
    (11)

    This Yuletide collection of stories, poems, and essays has been rescued from obscurity by the editor, who has also edited and annotated them to make these wonderful classics more easily accessible to modern listeners. While some of these authors may be unknown to you, their works have been included in this collection because of their capacity to instantly intrigue and delight. Give them a try, and don't be surprised if a few of them make their way onto your list of all-time personal Christmas favorites!

    P. Burdine says: "Cool for the season"
    "Grating performance and tired stories"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    It was hard for me to get beyond the grating quality of the narrator's voice and his characterizations which I just did not care for. The stories were odd. I don't typically have issues with 19th century or early 20th century writing, but this edition was painful to try to keep an open mind about. I purchased this audiobook as it was highly rated; in truth, not in high enough numbers to give it an objective review? I could not recommend this.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • The Beautiful and Damned

    • UNABRIDGED (13 hrs)
    • By F. Scott Fitzgerald
    • Narrated By William Dufris
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (122)
    Performance
    (37)
    Story
    (36)

    Published in 1922, Fitzgerald's second novel chronicles the relationship of Anthony Patch, Harvard-educated, aspiring aesthete, and his beautiful wife, Gloria, as they await to inherit his grandfather's fortune. A devastating satire of the nouveaux rich and New York's nightlife, of reckless ambition and squandered talent, it is also a shattering portrait of a marriage fueled by alcohol and wasted by wealth. The Beautiful and Damned, Fitzgerald wrote to Zelda in 1930, "was all true."

    Emily says: "i loved it"
    "What a difference a great reader makes"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I'd tried to listen to this book from a different reader once before - couldn't get through the first few chapters as a result, and I just recall hating the book as a result. So I gave it another try with this new reader. Dufris has some odd voices, but the Anthony Patch character, and his acting through this complex part, really made Fitzgerald's prose sing. I am new to Fitzgerald, recently having read new bios on Zelda, so I've been more keenly interested in his works. Dufris seemed to be in tune with the characters, flow, style that Fitzgerald imbued his piece with. Great book, great performance, worth the time. Entertaining.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The House of Mondavi: The Rise and Fall of an American Wine Dynasty

    • UNABRIDGED (17 hrs and 13 mins)
    • By Julia Flynn Siler
    • Narrated By Alan Sklar
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (200)
    Performance
    (50)
    Story
    (52)

    Set in California's lush Napa Valley and spanning four generations of a talented and visionary family, The House of Mondavi is a tale of genius, sibling rivalry, and betrayal. From 1906, when Italian immigrant Cesare Mondavi passed through Ellis Island, to the Robert Mondavi Corporation's 21st-century battle over a billion-dollar fortune, award-winning journalist Julia Flynn Siler brings to life both the place and the people in this riveting family drama.

    Gerald says: "The House of Mandavi"
    "Interesting recounting of dynastic dysfunction"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Julia Flynn Siler does an excellent job chronicalling the lives and events relative to the dynastic Mondavi famly. It's really well done, although it helps, as she is very detailed, to have a true interest in the CA wine scene. This is not a 'happy ending' saga - if anything it could be a morality play on the corrupting influence of money coupled with blind ambition. While the story held my interest, the narrator did not improve the experience, coming off to me as stilting, stuffy and patronizing - a sorry choice for an otherwise interesting story.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Juice: Vinous Veritas

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 56 mins)
    • By Jay McInerney
    • Narrated By Jay McInerney
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (23)
    Performance
    (21)
    Story
    (22)

    For more than a decade, Jay McInerney’s vinous essays, now featured in The Wall Street Journal, have been praised by restaurateurs (“Filled with small courses and surprising and exotic flavors, educational and delicious at the same time” —Mario Batali), by esteemed critics (“Brilliant, witty, comical, and often shamelessly candid and provocative” —Robert M. Parker Jr.), and by the media (“His wine judgments are sound, his anecdotes witty, and his literary references impeccable” —The New York Times).

    jill says: "Entertaining, informative, fun travelogue"
    "Entertaining, informative, fun travelogue"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Not having had benefit of reading other Jay McInerny books, picked this up based on (and in some cases in spite of) reviews. A series of essays - small chapters or vignettes - that span many microclimates of wine regions, Jay imbues each with his personal experiences, wine knowledge and observations. What I enjoy above all is each's focus on wine and the people who make it. Further, the essays allow one to break up listening into bite-sized increments. I also believe that the audio experience benefits from his performance, which is very good, as he is able to pronounce the names as wellas add emphasis, irony, etc as he originally intended it. If you love the world and culture of wine, you will very likely enjoy this ride.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • The Lady of the Rivers

    • UNABRIDGED (19 hrs and 12 mins)
    • By Philippa Gregory
    • Narrated By Bianca Amato
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (607)
    Performance
    (527)
    Story
    (519)

    Jacquetta always has had the gift of second sight. As a child visiting her uncle, she met his prisoner, Joan of Arc, and saw her own power reflected in the young woman accused of witchcraft. They share the mystery of the tarot card of the wheel of fortune before Joan is taken to a horrific death. Jacquetta understands the danger for a woman who dares to dream. Jacquetta is married to the Duke of Bedford, English regent of France, and he introduces her to a mysterious world of learning and alchemy.

    Bonnie-Ann says: "Philippa back on track"
    "Captivating, and worth it"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I'd read "White Queen" and enjoyed that so much that "Lady" was a natural next step, although truly "Lady" predates both "White" and "Red' Queen novels. Having gone through "White" first a lot of the plot lines in "Lady" were known, and the insight of Jacquetta was interesting and telling. Book got off to a slow start for me, and yet Gregory's ability to weave such a fantastic tapestry through her many plot lines, within a work of historical fiction - and a masterful performance by Bianca Amato - draws you in. Very enjoyable.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • A Moveable Feast

    • UNABRIDGED (4 hrs and 23 mins)
    • By Ernest Hemingway
    • Narrated By James Naughton
    Overall
    (317)
    Performance
    (139)
    Story
    (138)

    Published posthumously in 1964, A Moveable Feast remains one of Ernest Hemingway's most beloved works. It is his classic memoir of Paris in the 1920s, filled with irreverent portraits of other expatriate luminaries such as F. Scott Fitzgerald and Gertrude Stein; tender memories of his first wife, Hadley; and insightful recollections of his own early experiments with his craft.

    Catherine says: "Hemingway without being TOO Hemingway"
    "Terrific rendition of an enduring classic"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    With little aforehand experience with Hemingway and his writings, I picked this title for its coverage of France, specifically Paris, in the 1920s. Little did I know that this would be a title my husband and I would listen to again and again, revisiting after reading other Hemingway titles, Fitzgerald, or works focusing on life with the "Lost Generation." The book is wonderful, covering a span of time whose creativity and vibrance seems unrivaled in a city which caters to creativity and vibrance. The narration by Naughton is masterful and interesting, and in the end, captures the moving intent of Hemingway's prose. So many narrators detract from the quality of the piece - Naughton lets the work stand on its own without interfering, which is something important in an audio title.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • White Queen

    • UNABRIDGED (14 hrs and 58 mins)
    • By Philippa Gregory
    • Narrated By Susan Lyons
    Overall
    (944)
    Performance
    (801)
    Story
    (806)

    They ruled England before the Tudors, and now internationally best-selling author Philippa Gregory brings the Plantagenets to life through the dramatic and intimate stories of the secret players: the indomitable women.

    FanB14 says: "Prep for Starz Drama"
    "Engaging story, fabulous performance"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I picked this book on a lark, as I am interested in historical fction and the performance was highly rated. I was not disappointed. Susan Lyon's deft narration was perfectly suited. Anyone other may not have been able to pull off the emotional range and nuances, as well as mystical Mellusina interwoven throughout the story. I notice several of the reviews are critical of Gregory's treatment of history and incorporation of mysticism, which I believe is nonsense. This is work of historical fiction, not any attempt to illuminate or expound on the War of the Roses. Naturally one knows how the story plays out ... in this regard it is Gregory's abililty to give life to the main characters relative to what is known, and present plausible storylines around what is not known, which makes for an interesting, engaging story.

    5 of 6 people found this review helpful

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