Except for having my children read aloud to me, this was my first experience listening to a novel, and who better to lose my audiobook virginity to than Alan Rickman! Though I could be happy listening to his gorgeous voice reading a phone book, what I actually heard was worlds better. Mr. Rickman is, after all, an extremely talented actor, who narrates Hardy's story and performs the characters' voices with every nuance of feeling, expression and-- where appropriate-- in the dialect of the story's locale. It is a tender, atmospheric tale whose sympathetic characters are very much a product of the place in which they live. Mr. Rickman's performance makes this a very moving and memorable listening experience.
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