This should have been a good book and the first 14 hours really were, with an interesting villain and some political & social maneuverings by old friends from the earlier Palliser novels. But honestly, everything was settled and finished after 14 hours, and there 7 hours left to go. Trollope's heroines do sometimes get tedious with their insistence on morbid self-punishment but this heroine takes the cake. She goes on and on until no one in the book cares any longer what happens to her and we readers stopped caring way before that. It seems like Trollope couldn't stop dragging it out. Indeed, the book doesn't really end. It just peters away from exhaustion.
That said, Simon Vance does a great reading. He has a deep and delicious voice perfect for Victorian novels, and distinguishes his various characters' voices and accents with a light but effective touch.
I am a middle class white lady with a most ordinary middle class white life behind me, and yet I found myself utterly landed in the experience of this young Bengaladeshi woman uprooted to an American marriage in Rochester New York. Almost nothing that happens in this book has ever happened to me, and yet it all seemed startlingly recognizable. I have not read Nell Freudenberger before but now I will seek out more of her books.
I liked the reading by Mozhan Marno: she kept it straightforward and simple and slipped easily into the gentle lilt of Bengaladeshi accents when called for.
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