Such overacting! Such misreading! Such a grating voice! Gaaah!
I downloaded this despite the negative reviews, thinking, "But I love _Mansfield Park_. How bad could it be?" The answer is, Very bad. Flo Gibson makes everyone in the book sound like an idiot. Her attempts at an English accent are embarrassing. Her phrasing and intonation are so unnatural that it's hard to follow the story and take the characters seriously. In sum, she's very a obtrusive reader, utterly lacking in subtlety, and she significantly diminishes my enjoyment of the book. I wish Audible would offer a different unabridged edition.
This was my first Georgette Heyer novel, so I can't say whether it's one of her finest, but I enjoyed the story, and the reader was definitely one of the better ones I've heard. His voices for the different characters were distinctive without being too stylized, and he did particularly well with the female characters--often a weak spot for male narrators. The character of Frederica, especially, sounded convincingly natural.
I was disappointed to find that Clifford Norgate did not record more of Heyer's novels; I would gladly have purchased them.
Over a period of five years I have listened to most of this series, as read by Patrick Tull, at least twice, and in my opinion he is the perfect narrator. I have tried listening to other versions a few times, for a different perspective, but they just sound so impersonal, by contrast; so distant.
In Tull's versions, I can nearly always tell which character is speaking, before there is any "so-and-so said" tag, and he is (was) one of the few male narrators I've heard who can represent female characters without making me wince. He reads respectfully, making every character sound believable, regardless of sex, age, class, region, or nation. His modulation and rhythm add interest even to unintelligible lists of nautical terms.
I have recommended these recordings to dozens of people, and I have heard my recommendation seconded by others many times. Of course, since what sort of voice one likes to listen to is so personal (for instance, I can't bear Frederick Davidson, one of the most popular readers in the industry), you should listen to the samples of all this series's readers and download what you think will please you best. The books are wonderful, and I trust you will enjoy them regardless of who is reading. But after listening to the samples, and especially after listening to an entire book in the series, I think you will agree with me not only that these are the best set of Aubrey/Maturin recordings, but also that they are among the best audiobook recordings ever made, period.
I realize I'm in a tiny minority here, but I intensely disliked Mr. Davidson's narration.
Dickens's characters are already caricatures on the page, and to read so much caricature into them *on top of that* makes them completely unsympathetic and unbelievable, to me. I found Davidson's reading of Pip so affected as to be distracting, and his voice for Joe was particularly dehumanizing.
I would have much preferred a more naturalistic reading. YMMV.
I'm sure this *was* a great recording, but unfortunately the sound is so muddy and garbled that I can barely make out what Tull is saying. It sounds like a cassette tape that's been left on the dashboard in the sun for too long. So very disappointing.
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