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William

Rolling Hills Esate , CA, USA | Member Since 2006

8
HELPFUL VOTES
  • 4 reviews
  • 5 ratings
  • 402 titles in library
  • 22 purchased in 2014
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  • The Tenant of Wildfell Hall

    • UNABRIDGED (16 hrs and 30 mins)
    • By Anne Bronte
    • Narrated By Frederick Davidson, Nadia May
    Overall
    (38)
    Performance
    (4)
    Story
    (5)

    Coffee Lover says: "Wow!"
    "All things for good"
    Overall

    Anne Bronte was the most pious of the three Bronte sisters. So it should come as no surprise that The Tenant of Wildfell Hall is the story of a Christian wife’s struggle for the conversion of her pagan husband. Helen Graham, the protagonist, is not without her own faults, particularly in her choice of a husband. The story is built around Helen’s penance, namely, her marriage, and her decision to rectify her mistake by means acceptable to God, if not pleasant for herself. It is the story of how Christian faithfulness brings hope out of evil and despair, and a testimony of how all things (eventually) work for the good for those who love God.

    If you love 19th-century British novels, this is clearly a book for you. Its strong religious and moral emphasis may not sit well in the 21st century, but if so—so much the worse for us. The vocabulary, the sensitivity, the sheer humanity of the characters serve to remind us of how far civilization has, in many respects, declined from greater heights.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Housekeeping

    • UNABRIDGED (5 hrs and 31 mins)
    • By Marilynne Robinson
    • Narrated By Becket Royce
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (239)
    Performance
    (78)
    Story
    (79)

    A modern classic, Housekeeping is the story of Ruth and her younger sister, Lucille, who grow up haphazardly, first under the care of their competent grandmother, then of two comically bumbling great-aunts, and finally of Sylvie, their eccentric and remote aunt. The family house is in the small Far West town of Fingerbone, set on a glacial lake, the same lake where their grandfather died in a spectacular train wreck and their mother drove off a cliff to her death.

    dm says: "Beautiful"
    "Haunting, but a bit depressing"
    Overall

    Housekeeping is a rich story, even though I found it somewhat depressing. Biblical themes abound, but at times it is hard to believe that the sophisticated narrator is a high-school aged girl. The narration, while generally good, is occasionally rather flat and too obviously read. There is a mystical touch here, but all in all I much preferred Robinson’s more recent Gilead. Still, this is a wondrous story, and I will likely return to it again someday for a better understanding of its many themes. The overall theme, however, is that the world is not my home: I’m just passing through.

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
  • Silas Marner

    • UNABRIDGED (7 hrs and 14 mins)
    • By George Eliot
    • Narrated By Margaret Hilton
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (18)
    Performance
    (4)
    Story
    (3)

    William says: "Rather sentimental story"
    "Rather sentimental story"
    Overall

    Silas Marner is a bit sentimental by modern standards, but is a good story still. I found the characters somewhat thinly drawn, and the audio quality of this reading rather poor. Even a bit of road noise tended to drown out large chunks of the narrative.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Gilead

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 59 mins)
    • By Marilynne Robinson
    • Narrated By Tim Jerome
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (644)
    Performance
    (172)
    Story
    (170)

    In 1956, toward the end of Reverend John Ames's life, he begins a letter to his young son, an account of himself and his forebears. Ames is the son of an Iowan preacher and the grandson of a minister who, as a young man in Maine, saw a vision of Christ bound in chains and came west to Kansas to fight for abolition: He "preached men into the Civil War", then, at age 50, became a chaplain in the Union Army, losing his right eye in battle.

    Jim says: "The wonder of retrospect"
    "Midwestern Saint"
    Overall

    The Rev. John Ames is the Midwestern image of a good man. He reminds me of my own father, born on the edge of the Midwest 80 years ago. I don’t regard myself as particularly sentimental, but I found tears near the surface very frequently while listening to this novel. This story is luminous in the sense that it illuminates, not the dark corners of the soul, but rather the little-observed or recognized areas of life. You’re a hard case if your wonder about the richness of the world and our humanity is not stretched by this tender book. I suspect I now know Pastor Ames much better than I do many of my flesh-and-blood friends.

    2 of 3 people found this review helpful

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