©2000 Dodie Smith; (P)2014 Audible, Inc.
"A good story, flourishing characters, and the most persuasive narrative voice." (Guardian [London])
"This book has one of the most charismatic narrators I've ever met." (J.K. Rowling)
This novel was so witty and innocent, seen from the eyes of a 17 year old girl entering womanhood, that it was too great to stop listening to. Seeing the world through Cassandra's eyes made me feel like I was part of a secret club, where all the pretenses of other characters were suddenly lifted away and their actions part of a comedy (sometimes dark). This is definitely a story I rushed to located the movie immediately after the audiobook ended just so I could relive it through a different type of sensory input.
I loved this book ! Have you ever read a novel that was so enjoyable and so vivid that, even while wanting to find out what will happen, you try not to read it too fast because you don't want it to end ? That's how I felt about these characters and the story. It is a book to savor for its unique setting, quirky characters, and observations. Quite wonderful !
Newly retired, I am a reading fiend! I like many types of books, both fiction and non-fiction, with the exception of romance and fantasy
This book was a daily deal and it was Matthew's review that clinched it for me to take a chance. I am so glad I did. It certainly is not a genre I usually would pick as a listen, but maybe I should rethink that.
I really enjoyed this book--it was pure easy going fun for me. I didn't have a moment of boredom and I really liked the story line. Agutter is a very good narrator and captured the voice of the younger teen sister, Cassandra, perfectly. Cassandra is the speaker, the story taken from her journals which are ongoing and a constant in her life.
In summary, Cassandra and her slightly older, very pretty sister, Rose, live on an estate in England. The family should be paying rent to the estate owner but are sinking into serious poverty having been arrears in rent for a long time. Their father, who had fabulous success with his first book, has taken to reading novels, doing puzzles, daydreaming, and hasn't worked or written a thing in years. The estate falls under ownership of two dashing and very pleasant young men, brothers, who were raised in separate households in the US. It seems the girls' romantic dreams may be answered. Or maybe not . . . ?
If this sounds at all interesting, look at some of the other many positive reviews and dive in. Hopefully you will find it as fun as I did!
I loved the reader but was disappointed in the book. It started slow but then picked up and just when I was excited it fizzled out. Not happy with the ending as I am not a fan of open ended books.
Probably not, it got my hopes up and then didn't deliver.
Simon and Cassandra at his house listening to music.
It has been made into a movie.
I get these moments where I can't go by without an audiobook! I am irrevocably in love with books!
This screams Jane Austen and it's no secret; the narrator even tells us herself!
Overall, the book has a peaceful tone to it, but isn't really exciting or unique.
The story is narrated through the pages of an English girl's journal. It explores the different entries that describe how the girl and her family go by their daily routines in the boring monotonic life of poverty. Although, in fairness, the writer's description of poverty is interesting and allows the reader to understand the narrator's point of view.Nothing interesting seems to ever happen to the family until two rich boys come to town. That's where she and her sister (The entire household really) gets overexcited as these two young men become the centre of the family's drama (Pride & Prejudice Much?)
Mildly entertaining if you have exhausted most of your other options.
I was not familiar with Dodie Smith's writing until this listen. I must say I was so pleased. Jenny Agutter did a fantastic job. I will want to listen to more books read by Her. Bravo!
What an unexpected delight... I enjoyed every minute and did not want it it to end...Superb narration by Jenny Agutter. I never imagined I would like to read a journal of a 17 year old girl, but I was utterly "captured" by this literary gem. I am disappointed by only one thing - there are no more adult books written by Dodie Smith...
This book has a gentle humor I find irresistible.
A Man at the Helm has the same sort of narrator - a young girl - and the same innocent but very funny commentary on social life.
The narrator. She could use a good meal.
Dodie quickly takes you into her castle and all of its inhabitants in a wholesome adventure! Every character is perfectly drawn in word pictures, and there's even a bit of philosophy at the end to chew on after the story ends.
What a great discovery this novel was! It was first published in 1948 and I am really glad that I had the opportunity to listen to it narrated by Jenny Agutter.
The story is very good and I loved the main character Cassandra. This book is good for all ages both male and female. Definitely take a chance and enjoy it.
P.S. I think it's cool that the author, Dodie Smith, also wrote the story: The Hundred and One Dalmatians.
"A truly life-enhancing experience"
I listened to this while I was walking, washing up, working. The voice of Cassandra got into me in unexpected ways, such that I felt more emotionally honest, more attuned to the detail of my surroundings, and utterly nostalgic for a period I've never known. This young girl is unwittingly a mindfulness practitioner - her experiencing of her inner and outer world is exquisitely attentive, as well as very funny. Jenny Agutter captures it so well. I can't recommend this book highly enough. I couldn't bear to leave it and began it again as soon as I had listened to the last, painful page; I missed Cassandra, I missed her vivid and unspoilt world! Her striking insights. It enriched my days.
"Always such an wonderful story"
I have read this book over 20 times over the years but the audio version brought it alive in a way I have never experienced. Cassandra's voice us timeless and so moving truly a classic and beautifully read. loved it!
"Great story but not great narrator"
Slightly irritated by Jenny Agutter rushing through dialogue, often twee diction. Pity because she's a good actress.
"Early 20th century drama at its best!"
A mixture of existentialism and philosophy set against a background of the game in which the romance of second best!
Warm, compelling, lovely
Cassandra! But Stephen is a lovely character too.
She is a brilliant narrator of this book, read it beautifully, full of meaning, tone and emphasis. Brought the characters to life for me. Would love to listen to more read by her.
It made me smile a lot and sometimes feel sad, a moving tale but with plenty of humour.
"I love it!"
I love this book, and the audio version is a delight - I've just finished listening to it for the second time. It is often described as a coming-of-age story, and Jenny Agutter captures perfectly Cassandra's transition from 'consciously naive' childhood to young womanhood. It's funny, it's poignant, and it's deeply evocative of a largely lost English countryside: all crumbling castles and rusty iron bedsteads with weeds growing out of them, 'motoring' to the seaside for a picnic and a cherry brandy from a country pub. Dodie Smith apparently wrote it in America hankering after England, and I think the book is coloured with a loving nostalgia. I would highly recommend this to young and old readers alike: if you like Cold Comfort Farm by Stella Gibbons or any of the Persephone books like Miss Pettigrew Lives For A Day, I think you would like this.
Beautifully read by jenny agutter. Really bought the era to life. A gentle story well worth a listen
"Interesting and insightful"
This is a very class conscious story that really gives insight into the necessity of keeping up appearances - and not minding whether you are successful at it! Social attitudes are illustrated but it is not a history lesson - it is a charming story of a family brought to poverty because the father has writers' block all described by the developing diary of one of the daughters. Jenny Agutter is the perfect choice as narrator.
Slow moving (a bit dull in parts), but entertaining nonetheless with a few funny moments.
"I am yet to find a better non fiction masterpiece."
Such a delightful, profound and enjoyable book.
Dodie Smith is the perfect wordsmith in this book about an eccentric lifestyle.
Cassandra is wonderful, as she captures life around her in her note-book.
The film is just as enchanting.
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