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Wendy Lohse

age 60

Tasmania Australia | Member Since 2012

17
HELPFUL VOTES
  • 11 reviews
  • 20 ratings
  • 89 titles in library
  • 12 purchased in 2014
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  • Bleak House

    • UNABRIDGED (35 hrs and 18 mins)
    • By Charles Dickens
    • Narrated By Sean Barrett, Teresa Gallagher
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (254)
    Performance
    (230)
    Story
    (227)

    A complex plot of love and inheritance is set against the English legal system of the mid-19th century. As the case of Jarndyce and Jarndyce drags on, it becomes an obsession to everyone involved. And the issue on an inheritance ultimately becomes a question of murder.

    KTMak says: "WONDERFUL NARRATIONS!"
    "Ordinary Lives; Extraordinary Circumstances"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    Absolutely. This book was first written as a monthly serial over 20 months. Twenty episodes for 20 days perhaps. Or, if you are like me, you'll forgo sleep and listen to all. Then listen again, several times over, to catch the parts missed whilst dozing the first few times. Dickens writing is meant to be spoken. Hilarious characters beautifully exaggerated - or are they - abound here. The most decent of characters. And the most vile. My greatest reason for recommending this book is that the two readers really demonstrate Dickens intent when he gave Bleak House two narrators, the unknown onlooker telling in the present tense; and Esther, around whom all of the stories are woven. Poverty, wealth, class systems, skullduggery, robbery and murder are all given centre stage. Personalities galore.


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    Lady Dedlock is perhaps the most intriguing to me. I don't understand her loyalty to her awful husband, Sir Leicester Dedlock. Perhaps it's gratitude that he married her despite her past, though he knows nothing of it. She's awful. She's snooty. She's breakable. She's smart. She's discerning. She's drawn to beauty. She's conceited. Her husband is quite a bit older and very wealthy. Her deceit is so complete that she believes it herself. Most of the time. An occasional sensitivity is revealed.


    Which character – as performed by Sean Barrett and Teresa Gallagher – was your favorite?

    Narrator Sean Barrett is witness to the events that run almost parallel to Esther's own memoir. Both readers were called upon to animate, and maintain, the voices of a huge variety of characters. Sometimes the voices are whining and irritating. Sometimes, seductive and warm. As are the characters. I particularly enjoyed Teresa Gallagher's interactions between Esther and Charley, the thirteen year old orphan girl who leaves her six year old brother Tom to take care of their baby sister while she goes to work as a laundress and is later employed by Mr Jarndyce to be Esther's maid. Her portrayal of Esther's voice throughout is easy and confident, warm and chatty at times. Formal at other times. Thoroughly enjoyable. Sean Barrett's dialogues between Lady Dedlock and Mr Tulkinghorn, given the opposing attitudes of the adversaries and the undercurrent of intent, are excellent spoken civilly in a respectably soft volume. But it is Sean Barrett's own voice as the narrator that is most commanding.


    If you were to make a film of this book, what would be the tag line be?

    Take your chances in the Court of Chancery


    Any additional comments?

    Many hours of thoroughly enjoyable listening.

    10 of 10 people found this review helpful
  • Hard Frost

    • UNABRIDGED (14 hrs and 22 mins)
    • By R. D. Wingfield
    • Narrated By Robin Browne
    Overall
    (49)
    Performance
    (44)
    Story
    (44)

    Detective InspectorJjack Frost knelt down beside the tiny body. Who did this to you, sonny? he asked, his face tight with compassion. The boy was eight years old, bound and gagged, and stripped naked. He had been dead for some seven or eight hours. Frost should have been on holiday, he had sneaked back into the station late at night to help himself to some of Divisional Commander Mullett's cigarettes and this case had been dumped on him as no other officers were available. And then another boy is reported missing.

    Wendy Lohse says: "TV is better"
    "TV is better"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    What would have made Hard Frost better?

    The TV series has eliminated the ugly sexism of the novels and left an eccentric larrikinism. This makes the series quite acceptable with very little political correctness emanating from the character of Frost making him all the more acceptable.


    What was most disappointing about R. D. Wingfield’s story?

    Probably ok for its time, but my feeling is that R.D. Winfield was always an awful person. Charles Dickens characters can be utterly repulsive but we're not expected to like them or nudge, nudge, wink, wink excuse them. We are expected to like Frost as he is written. I can't stomach him as he is written. I will never listen to this book to the end. The main character is just too awful. It's all brainless tits and smut to him yet he's given the hard cases!


    What didn’t you like about Robin Browne’s performance?

    I didn't notice the performance, I was in shock that a favourite tv series had been made from such appalling books. I'll never watch the series again. It's been sullied totally by hearing one book!


    What reaction did this book spark in you? Anger, sadness, disappointment?

    Anger that people find Frost's shallow smutty behaviour acceptable. No thanks.


    Any additional comments?

    No. I don't want to think about it and that's why it's taken so long to review. I've never hated anything quite so much. I kept expecting the Frost character to grow and improve. He deteriorated.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Invention of Wings

    • UNABRIDGED (13 hrs and 41 mins)
    • By Sue Monk Kidd
    • Narrated By Jenna Lamia, Adepero Oduye
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (52)
    Performance
    (48)
    Story
    (46)

    From the celebrated author of the international bes tseller The Secret Life of Bees comes an extraordinary novel about two exceptional women. Sarah Grimké is the middle daughter. The one her mother calls difficult and her father calls remarkable. On Sarah's eleventh birthday, Hetty 'Handful' Grimke is taken from the slave quarters she shares with her mother, wrapped in lavender ribbons, and presented to Sarah as a gift.

    Sara says: "Those Ahead Of Their Time"
    "History's Children"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    What did you love best about The Invention of Wings?

    The beautiful voices of the chosen readers for each of the child characters.


    What other book might you compare The Invention of Wings to and why?

    Perhaps I'd compare it with Martin Zusak's The Book Thief. Both books choose the most difficult and shameful times in our histories in the world. And both books give the histories over to the voices of children; the simplicity and justice of the minds of children. The preservation and perpetuation of attitudes are shown to us by these girls. Each book reveals the vital importance of imagination as a tool for survival through impossible circumstances.


    What about Jenna Lamia and Adepero Oduye ’s performance did you like?

    Oh, they were perfect. I could imagine each girl as she spoke.


    If you could rename The Invention of Wings, what would you call it?

    I cannot imagine this story called by any other name. The invention of wings is what it is all about. We all have wings when we choose, or need, to use them.


    Any additional comments?

    I have listened to this book many times already. I will listen many more times. Both voices are compelling, like listening to the lyrics of a very long saga from two very different points of view. Opposing sides. Slavery is a distasteful subject historically. These girls, from opposing sides of the enslavement fence, can never be equal, no matter how they would both like it to be. Hence the invention of wings.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • A Tale of Two Cities

    • UNABRIDGED (14 hrs and 43 mins)
    • By Charles Dickens
    • Narrated By Simon Prebble
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (21)
    Performance
    (20)
    Story
    (20)

    It was the time of the French Revolution, a time of great change and great danger. It was a time when injustice was met by a lust for vengeance, and rarely was a distinction made between the innocent and the guilty. Against this tumultuous historical backdrop, Dickens’ dramatic story of adventure and courage unfolds.

    Laura says: "A twisting tale"
    "Best of Listens, Worst of Listens"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    What did you love best about A Tale of Two Cities?

    I love that it gave a clear view of the French Revolution and an understanding of the celebration for the people's storming of the Bastille. Dickens opening page that it was the best of times and the worst of times, gives a clear picture to the two opposing sides of this bloody history, when the good side descends into the worst of human behaviour.

    It opens with the very best lines, that sum up each point along the continuum of human history. It ends with the best line of all: "It is a far, far better thing I do than I have ever done. It is a far, far better rest I go to than I have ever known."


    What was one of the most memorable moments of A Tale of Two Cities?

    It begins with one and that continues to the last line of the book.


    Which scene was your favorite?

    Huge competition but perhaps it's the battle of equals when Miss Pross and Madame Defarge confront each other.


    Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

    Sob!


    Any additional comments?

    As page one tells, this book could be written for any time in human history. The same brutality and injustice exists in our world today as it did hundreds of years ago. Dickens provides these deeds with a smattering of humour in both main and secondary characters. His wit is certainly razor-sharp.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Winter Sea

    • UNABRIDGED (15 hrs and 54 mins)
    • By Susanna Kearsley
    • Narrated By Rosalyn Landor
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (2857)
    Performance
    (2402)
    Story
    (2410)

    History has all but forgotten.... In the spring of 1708, an invading Jacobite fleet of French and Scottish soldiers nearly succeeded in landing the exiled James Stewart in Scotland to reclaim his crown. Now, Carrie McClelland hopes to turn that story into her next best-selling novel. Settling herself in the shadow of Slains Castle, she creates a heroine named for one of her own ancestors and starts to write. But then she discovers her novel is more fact than fiction....

    Martha says: "Get Out Your Hankies"
    "Our Places"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Where does The Winter Sea rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    Just a few cringes in the text and in the readings pulled this from a five to a four. It is exceptional, nevertheless and I recommend it to readers of a range of genres, particularly readers of genealogy and historical fiction.


    What did you like best about this story?

    I loved the parallel narratives. The protagonist of The Winter Sea is a character-writer of historical fiction in the present. The fictional protagonist of the character-writer is an adult orphan girl who lived three hundred years earlier. Genealogists will enjoy the searches for ... our place ... in time ... and in location. And what a location - the coast of Scotland! Winter! The line is not sharp between then and now. 'Then' is always in the author-character's mind until the book is complete. Her mind will be peopled by present day folk and those from hundreds of years past. I thoroughly enjoyed the feeling that I was making discoveries as they were made by the author.


    Have you listened to any of Rosalyn Landor’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

    Rosalyn Landor's reading is exceptional. She does the quick laugh of a man taken by surprise, better than any of the male readers I've listened to. Her male, Scottish voices are thoroughly convincing. I will look for other books that she has read. And I see there are a lot of them!


    Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

    This book carries all of the emotions from chaotic fear to calm resolve. I was angry, frightened, happy, grieving, resolved, thrilled. It's all there.


    Any additional comments?

    I loved almost everything about this book, in particular its style. The parallel narratives gave clear contrasts and allowed the blurred edges of human nature to translate through hundreds of years.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • The Woman in White

    • UNABRIDGED (25 hrs and 5 mins)
    • By Wilkie Collins
    • Narrated By Josephine Bailey, Simon Prebble
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1083)
    Performance
    (881)
    Story
    (883)

    One of the greatest mystery thrillers ever written, Wilkie Collins's The Woman in White was a phenomenal best seller in the 1860s, achieving even greater success than works by Charles Dickens. Full of surprise, intrigue, and suspense, this vastly entertaining novel continues to enthrall audiences today.

    David says: "Gripping novel, excellent production"
    "Early Crime, and Sensation, Fiction"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Where does The Woman in White rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    It's not the very best, but certainly very good.


    What did you like best about this story?

    Best of all, I love its history and the fact that I'd never heard of it! Nor of its author, whose name must be American, I thought. Always happy to learn. Wikipedia sold this book to me. First published as a book in 1860 London, it was written throughout 1859 as a serial for monthly or weekly newspaper.

    From Wikipedia: "It is considered to be among the first mystery novels and is widely regarded as one of the first (and finest) in the genre of 'sensation novels'." This sentence convinced me: "The use of multiple narratives draws on Collins's legal training, and as he points out in his Preamble: 'the story here presented will be told by more than one pen, as the story of an offence against the laws is told in Court by more than one witness'."

    At the time of purchase, I was researching family history in England and Australia during the 1850s. What better way to gather a feel for the class and gender inequalities of 1850s England, than through its fiction. I wasn't disappointed.


    What about Josephine Bailey and Simon Prebble ’s performance did you like?

    The readings were exceptional. I absolutely detested the sound of the most loathsome male character in the book. Likewise I detested the voice of the superior house keeper of the property and her inability to distinguish between nobility and decency. Where each participant is given the time and opportunity to tell their story uninterrupted, the bore or the shrew will be difficult to tolerate in an audio book. As it is in life. Sigh.


    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    35 hours would be difficult at a sitting but I must confess that I do have my books playing night and day. These readers use the nuances of the language rather than volume to control the variations of pitch, tone and accent.


    Any additional comments?

    I'm surprised that it wasn't heralded during struggles for women's rights, votes and legislation. Maybe it was. I missed it. I'm glad that I've found it and I do recommend it.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • A Thousand Splendid Suns

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 43 mins)
    • By Khaled Hosseini
    • Narrated By Atossa Leoni
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (5231)
    Performance
    (1452)
    Story
    (1455)

    Born a generation apart and with very different ideas about love and family, Mariam and Laila are two women brought jarringly together by war, by loss, and by fate. As they endure the ever escalating dangers around them, in their home as well as in the streets of Kabul, they come to form a bond that makes them both sisters and mother-daughter to each other, and that will ultimately alter the course not just of their own lives but of the next generation.

    David says: "Somber but gripping"
    "GutWrenching"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    To some friends, yes. The book gives insight into the Taliban and its parts in Afghani history through the eyes of the illegitimate daughter of her father's housekeeper, banished from his household when her stomach began to swell. I usually take a lot of convincing when a male author tells a story through female eyes. For this novel, I am grateful. It will be a long time before we begin to see the wonderful creativity of Islamic women who have survived under such misogynistic regimes as the Taliban.


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    Mariam is my favourite. From her utter belief in the goodness of her father who visits every month, until the day a life-changing betrayal defines her incarceration. Her endurance and practical world-view provide the courage for the ultimate sacrifice. Her courage and determination are to be celebrated. To read this book is to experience rage and murderous hatred of faceless, landless men. To read this book is to feel powerless. To read this book is to feel utter joy for the opportunity of friendship. And the most gut wrenching part about the book is that women are living just like Mariam. Right now.


    Have you listened to any of Atossa Leoni’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

    I haven't heard her read other books.


    If you could rename A Thousand Splendid Suns, what would you call it?

    This is not only the best title for this book, it's the best title!


    Any additional comments?

    There is joy on every page. It never balances the anguish that is also on each page. If you live books as I do, you will cry and you'll laugh and you will rage, rage, rage.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time (Dramatised)

    • UNABRIDGED (6 hrs and 3 mins)
    • By Mark Haddon
    • Narrated By Ben Tibber
    Overall
    (111)
    Performance
    (49)
    Story
    (48)

    The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time is a murder mystery novel like no other. The detective, and narrator, is Christopher Boone. Christopher is fifteen and has Asperger's, a form of autism. He knows a very great deal about maths and very little about human beings. He loves lists, patterns, and the truth.

    Brian Tristam Williams says: "Great Book, Curious Narration"
    "Living with Aspergers"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    If you could sum up The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time (Dramatised) in three words, what would they be?

    Brilliance and Obsession


    What did you like best about this story?

    I loved the humour although Christopher has no sense of humour. He's very intelligent about his Aspergers and knows exactly what he likes and doesn't like.


    Which character – as performed by Ben Tibber – was your favorite?

    Christopher - the maths genius and the detective.


    If you could rename The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time (Dramatised), what would you call it?

    I wouldn't change it. Fifteen year old Christopher who attends a special school and as Asperger's Syndrome, wrote the book. Any title that he didn't choose would be wrong.


    Any additional comments?

    Mark Haddon knows this syndrome extremely well and it is an entertaining story that also helps when we come across people who are fixated on things at times. Patience is the first attribute to call upon. Clear and precise honesty are required when interacting with a person like Christopher and this story presents the unfortunate consequences of misunderstandings and the need for absolute truth.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Water for Elephants

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 26 mins)
    • By Sara Gruen
    • Narrated By David LeDoux, John Randolph Jones
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (13662)
    Performance
    (6049)
    Story
    (6129)

    Why we think it’s a great listen: Some books are meant to be read; others are meant to be heard – Water for Elephants falls into the second group, and is one of the best examples we have of how a powerful performance enhances a great story. Nonagenarian Jacob Jankowski reflects back on his wild and wondrous days with a circus. It's the Depression Era and Jacob, finding himself parentless and penniless, joins the Benzini Brothers Most Spectacular Show on Earth.

    Kindle Customer says: "Great Narration!!"
    "Exceptional Voices"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    If you could sum up Water for Elephants in three words, what would they be?

    A Beautiful Metaphor


    What other book might you compare Water for Elephants to and why?

    Perhaps I'd compare it with the Irish novel A Secret Scripture by Sebastian Barry and read by Stephen Hogan. Both are stories about the end of life and a review of the life that is ending. The one reader is used for two voices in the Secret Scripture - a 100 year old woman who has been locked up in a psychiatric hospital since she was 40. The other voice is that of her psychiatrist who has to review her due to the public outcry that some patients should never have been "held" as they are.

    Water for Elephants has two readers. The younger Jacob Jankowski is read very well by David Le Doux. John Randolph Jones reads Jacob in the nursing home at age 90, or is it 93? Some voices are absolutely perfect for a character. This one is. I go and listen to him over and over.

    The books themselves could not be more different. A Secret Scripture spans the entire 20th century Ireland. Water for Elephants uses the protagonist's adult life as a circus vet to present, in many ways, the difficulties involved in catering for the needs of the aged. Just like Water for Elephants. Geriatrics will always need more than you can give.

    The use of the two voices is a wonderful vehicle to carry such complex stories.


    Have you listened to any of David LeDoux and John Randolph Jones ’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

    No. Do they have others?


    Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

    Oh yes. As I age and face a nursing home future, I understood Jacob's distress at never having proper food. But they have this mush that has all its nutrients. Jacob wants a pot roast. And something to bite and crunch. Many moments and the brilliant ending were the most poignant for me.

    But the horror of horrors was the repeated beating of Rosie the elephant with a big hook that ripped through her leathery skin.

    In the early 20th century there were more travelling circuses than there are now. People stayed working in them for their whole working lives. It's a whole separate culture, that circus existence.


    Any additional comments?

    Beautifully written and wonderfully read. The time shifts from the young Jacob to the old Jacob were easily melded.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Finnikin of the Rock

    • UNABRIDGED (12 hrs and 13 mins)
    • By Melina Marchetta
    • Narrated By Tom Wren
    Overall
    (7)
    Performance
    (7)
    Story
    (7)

    At the age of nine, Finnikin is warned by the gods that he must sacrifice a pound of flesh in order to save the royal house of his homeland, Lumatere. And so he stands on the rock of three wonders with his childhood friend Prince Balthazar and the prince's cousin, Lucian, and together they mix their blood. Lumatere is safe, Until the 'five days of the unspeakable'.

    Belle says: "Mispronounced words were distracting"
    "Top Title, Top Author, Top Reader"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    If you could sum up Finnikin of the Rock in three words, what would they be?

    The best ever.


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    Evanjalin is a continual surprise throughout the book. She's gutsy, independent, fit and ruthless to her own detriment when she believes there's a need.


    Which character – as performed by Tom Wren – was your favorite?

    All characters were read as the author wrote them. Tom Wren trusts this author completely. His voice reading this text has the music and rhythm of poetry. Frankly, they are all excellent.


    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    Yes. Over and over. I've just begun listening 4.


    Any additional comments?

    There are so many beautiful quotes to call upon from this book. A short one repeated several times is this: “Be prepared for the worst, my love, for it lives next door to the best.”
    ― Melina Marchetta, Finnikin of the Rock

    And a longer passage: “Finn, listen!" Trevanion said, his voice raw."I prayed to see you one more time. It's all I prayed for. Nothing more. And my prayers were answered. Go east, I'll lend them west."

    "We have a dilemma, then," Finnikin said fiercely. "Because I prayed that you would grow old and hold my children in your arms as you held me. My prayers have not been answered yet, Trevanion. So whose prayer is more worthy? Yours or mine?”
    ― Melina Marchetta, Finnikin of the Rock

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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