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Leela

Australia | Member Since 2013

1
HELPFUL VOTES
  • 4 reviews
  • 12 ratings
  • 177 titles in library
  • 1 purchased in 2015
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  • The French Lieutenant's Woman

    • UNABRIDGED (17 hrs and 5 mins)
    • By John Fowles
    • Narrated By Paul Shelley
    Overall
    (428)
    Performance
    (203)
    Story
    (209)

    At Lyme Regis on the Dorset coast, a young Victorian amateur palaentologist, Charles Smithson, is struck by a solitary figure standing at the far end of the Cobb, staring out to sea. It is Sarah Woodruff, known to the locals as 'poor Tragedy' since her apparent liaison with a French sailor who has since deserted her. Although Charles is already engaged to a young heiress, he is immediately beguiled and eventually infatuated with Sarah.

    Darwin8u says: "Writes with a sharp elegance that is breathtaking"
    "A Novel Look at the Victorian Era"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Any additional comments?

    A historical fiction set in the Victorian era, that is not only a detailed insight into that time, but also a homage to 19th Century fiction, and the emergence of the novel. A time capsule within a time capsule, perhaps. Confused? Intrigued? Listen to this fabulous recording and find out. I should add that the characters are meticulously and delicately explored, and the scenery, as well as the philosophies, moods, and social trends of that time in history, are vividly evoked by a skilled author. I also suggest checking out the film version, made in 1981, which although set in the present time (the 'present time' of the 1980's, that is), provides a delightful slant on the ideas expressed in the novel.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • The Signature of All Things

    • UNABRIDGED (21 hrs and 43 mins)
    • By Elizabeth Gilbert
    • Narrated By Juliet Stevenson
    Overall
    (81)
    Performance
    (74)
    Story
    (73)

    Elizabeth Gilbert’s first novel in twelve years is an extraordinary story of botany, exploration and desire, spanning across much of the 19th century. This audiobook follows the fortunes of the brilliant Alma Whittaker (daughter of a bold and charismatic botanical explorer) as she comes into her own within the world of plants and science. As Alma’s careful studies of moss take her deeper into the mysteries of evolution, the man she loves draws her in the opposite direction into the realm of the spiritual, the divine and the magical.

    Jane says: "Superb"
    "An enthralling and engrossing read."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Would you say that listening to this book was time well-spent? Why or why not?

    Listening to this book was time spent in an excellent manner. I learnt so much about the 19th Century European study of botany, and experienced the era's fascination with the many new forms of flora and fauna discovered in the so-called 'new world'. I liked how the author depicted the journey of her main character, Alma, towards the discovery of the theory of natural selection that was eventually published by Charles Darwin. It was fascinating to see how several different scientists arrived at this theory around a similar time-frame.The character depiction of Alma Whitaker as a strong-minded independent woman is is also excellent. I like how she has to undergo many hardships and trials of strength in her journey, on a physical, psychological, and emotional level. Unfortunately, not as much attention is paid to other characters, and this is most evident in that the relationships between Alma, her sister Prudence and their friend Rhetta does not feel fully exploredAlso a fault is the novel's blinkered attitude to some very pertinent details about the exploitation of peoples in the Pacific region and the Americas that funded this burst of European discovery and ideas.


    What other book might you compare The Signature of All Things to and why?

    This is a little bit like 'Daughter of Fortune' by Isabelle Allende purely for its spirit of adventure. It also reminded me of Delia Falconer's 'In The Service of Clouds' in the way that it romanticises the study of plant biology by connecting it to the frenetic energy of the times.


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

    Her voice is very well modulated, and she is good at putting expression into the text she is reading, and well as adopting a variety of different voices for characters.


    If this book were a movie would you go see it?

    Yes.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Eucalyptus

    • UNABRIDGED (7 hrs and 34 mins)
    • By Murray Bail
    • Narrated By Humphrey Bower
    Overall
    (3)
    Performance
    (3)
    Story
    (3)

    On a country property a man named Holland lives with his daughter Ellen. Over the years, as she grows into a beautiful young woman, he plants hundreds of different gum trees on his land. When Ellen is nineteen her father announces his decision: she will marry the man who can name all the species of eucalypt, down to the last tree. Suitors emerge from all corners, including the formidable, straight-backed Mr Cave, world expert on the varieties of eucalypt.

    Leela says: "The narrator ruined this book for me."
    "The narrator ruined this book for me."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    What would have made Eucalyptus better?

    A less dispassionate narrator; one who puts more expression and feeling into the work.


    How did the narrator detract from the book?

    He read too slowly, and there was very little expression in his voice. It was delivered in a flat, unemotional style. This was not engaging and I quickly lost interest in the story.


    You didn’t love this book... but did it have any redeeming qualities?

    Eucalyptus has an intriguing plot and I liked learning about all the different types of gum trees. I didn't like the way the female character seemed to be helplessly under the spell of the male character, and the endless stories he told seemed to have little to do with each other or anything in the novel. It was a bit like watching one unrelated youtube clip after another, and having your brain fill up with meaningless images. Perhaps this was partly because of the way it was narrated.


    Any additional comments?

    The narrator is also a respected theatre actor and director, and perhaps in this context he is very good at what he does. In this audiobook, however, and in others that I've listened to samples of, he does not have a captivating voice, nor does he give life to the stories he tells. A very disappointing experience.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Agnes Grey

    • UNABRIDGED (6 hrs and 27 mins)
    • By Anne Brontë
    • Narrated By Emilia Fox
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (81)
    Performance
    (44)
    Story
    (42)

    Drawing on her experiences, Anne Bronte wrote her first novel out of a need to inform her contemporaries about the desperate position of unmarried, educated women driven to take up the only "respectable" career open to them - that of a governess.

    Kerry says: "Loved it"
    "Poor Audio Quality Ruins Terrific Story"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    What would have made Agnes Grey better?

    A better quality audio recording.


    What did you like best about this story?

    I have loved this novel since I read it years ago. 'Agnes Grey' it is a coming of age novel, of a sorts, about a young woman trying to gain independence and prove herself as a capable contributor to her family. The strong spirited protagonist faces all sorts of perils in her work as a governess to a variety of families, illuminating the many difficulties experienced by young women with an uncertain status in society.


    Any additional comments?

    Unfortunately, this lovely book was not enjoyable to listen to. The narrator has a very pleasant voice, but the recording quality is poor. If you turn the volume up enough to hear it, there are parts of it that are far too loud. Yet when you try to turn it down a notch, there are entire sentences which are barely discernible. All in all, very disappointing. So while I recommend this book for it's writing style, plot, and themes, I would not recommend this particular audio version.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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