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The Sisters: The Saga of the Mitford Family | [Mary S. Lovell]

The Sisters: The Saga of the Mitford Family

This is the story of a close, loving family splintered by the violent ideologies of Europe between the wars. Jessica was a Communist; Debo became the Duchess of Devonshire; Nancy was one of the best-selling novelists of her day; the ethereally beautiful Diana was the most hated woman in England; and Unity Valkyrie, born in Swastika, Alaska, would become obsessed with Adolf Hitler.
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Publisher's Summary

This is the story of a close, loving family splintered by the violent ideologies of Europe between the wars. Jessica was a Communist; Debo became the Duchess of Devonshire; Nancy was one of the best-selling novelists of her day; the ethereally beautiful Diana was the most hated woman in England; and Unity Valkyrie, born in Swastika, Alaska, would become obsessed with Adolf Hitler.

©1991 Mary S. Lovell (P)2013 Audible, Inc.

What the Critics Say

"[A] balanced, well-researched, and beautifully written biography...[an] exceptional achievement." (Bay Area Reporter, Tavo Amador)

"The Mitford girls were probably the most spectacular sister act of the 20th century." (Vogue)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

3.6 (49 )
5 star
 (14)
4 star
 (17)
3 star
 (9)
2 star
 (4)
1 star
 (5)
Overall
4.0 (46 )
5 star
 (18)
4 star
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3 star
 (5)
2 star
 (5)
1 star
 (1)
Story
3.2 (45 )
5 star
 (11)
4 star
 (13)
3 star
 (6)
2 star
 (4)
1 star
 (11)
Performance
Sort by:
  •  
    Victoria NY, NY, USA 02-27-14
    Victoria NY, NY, USA 02-27-14 Member Since 2014
    HELPFUL VOTES
    17
    ratings
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    Story
    "Great story, terrible reader"
    What made the experience of listening to The Sisters the most enjoyable?

    They were a fascinating family and the writer tells their story well.


    What was one of the most memorable moments of The Sisters?

    The story of Unity Mitford is tragic, strange and dramatic.


    How could the performance have been better?

    Find a reader who can pronounce things properly and who can read a sentence following the punctuation. As others have said, this TERRIBLE reader stops mid sentence at times, pauses, then finishes the sentence. If she did this at a comma or semi colon it might make some sense, but she just runs out of breath at random points. She obviously did not read the material ahead of time. Even more annoying is the fact that she didn't bother to learn the correct pronunciation of various English names and place names, e.g. High Wycombe, where the Mitfords rented a summer place. It is mentioned frequently and she pronounces it High Why-comb, when it should be High Wick-um. It is INCREDIBLY off putting, as is her changing pronunciation of Redesdale, the family surname. Sometimes it's Reds-dale. Sometimes it's Reeds-dale. Ugh, just ask someone, lady!


    Any additional comments?

    Audible: maybe you need to pay more attention to the readers you hire!!!! I've had this problem with other books recently. Who are these people you're hiring? Could I read one of the books? I promise to do a better job than this person!

    14 of 14 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Kelleigh 11-16-13
    Kelleigh 11-16-13
    HELPFUL VOTES
    11
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    2
    1
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    Story
    "Great story read by bored, tired reader"
    What would have made The Sisters better?

    A terrific narrative ruined by an astonishingly lazy read. I have read this collective biography in its printed form, & planned to listen to this audio version out of fondness for the story. The book is read by narrator Annie Wauters in a hoarse, tired, monotone voice. Her shortness of breath when grappling with long passages is unsettling after a few hours. How anyone can sleep-walk through such an enthralling family story is perplexing. One senses that the reader tackled 18 hours of reading in a single, sluggish sitting, and gives the impression of not paying attention to the content, rather simply 'getting through it'. Nothing about the read is specific to the material. The vocal tone does not vary, much less convey drama or tension. Sentences are awkwardly phrased, as if being encountered for the first time. Had I not read the book in print form, the logic of some passages would have been lost in the dullness of the read. I honestly, around the three hour mark, began to worry for the health of the breathless, at times near-wheezing reader. Additionally, I cannot understand the inappropriate selection of an American reader for a story of a family of women who define Englishness. It is tonally jarring, on top of the exhausting performance. That this is a book about a group of women renowned for their exuberance and verbal wit, read by a narrator who personifies fatigue, is disappointing. If a listener is expected to invest 18+ hours of time, the producers of the audio book should be more interested in honoring the story with a more engaging read.


    11 of 11 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Willy 10-29-13
    Willy 10-29-13
    HELPFUL VOTES
    9
    ratings
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    1
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    Story
    "The narrator killed the story!"
    What made the experience of listening to The Sisters the most enjoyable?

    I already broadly knew the story of the Mitford Sisters and looked forward to the details in this biography.


    What was one of the most memorable moments of The Sisters?

    Specially the story of Decca and Esmond really touched me. It was beautiful.


    How did the narrator detract from the book?

    The narrator killed the story. Many times I had to rewind to find out what she said. Or she thought the sentence had finnished and the tone of her voice went down, only to find out that there were still some words she had forgotten ... Shame, really killed it for me


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

    I had thought I would be most touched by Nancy Mitfords story, but it was Decca's story that really moved me!


    Any additional comments?

    Please have someone else read the story again!!

    9 of 9 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Gretchen 04-19-14
    Gretchen 04-19-14 Member Since 2004
    HELPFUL VOTES
    6
    ratings
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    115
    1
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    "poor narrator"
    What did you like best about The Sisters? What did you like least?

    The story was wonderful and held my attention to the end, but the narrator was the worst I have ever heard. She could not understand how to read punctuation. Her tone of voice and volume changed in mid-sentence which made it difficult to follow and annoying.


    Would you be willing to try another one of Annie Wauters’s performances?

    never


    Was The Sisters worth the listening time?

    yes


    6 of 6 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Banafche 05-04-14
    Banafche 05-04-14 Member Since 2013
    HELPFUL VOTES
    5
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    81
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    "very annoying narrator I could not even finish fir"
    Would you try another book from Mary S. Lovell and/or Annie Wauters?

    perhaps with a good narrator


    What was most disappointing about Mary S. Lovell’s story?

    NARRATOR REALLY BAD


    What didn’t you like about Annie Wauters’s performance?

    MONOTONUS AND BORING!!WASTE OF TIME


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

    DISAPPOINTMENT


    Any additional comments?

    YOU NEED TO CREDIT THIS BOOK SO THAT I MAY PURCHASE ANOTHER

    5 of 5 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Judith Beaumont 04-27-15 Member Since 2012
    HELPFUL VOTES
    1
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    "Fascinating subject ruined by narrator"

    Amazing story and appallingly wooden narrator. She mispronounced words and paused in sentences where there was no pause making it almost nonsensical. Unbelievably bad and to be avoided. It says something for the content of the book that I was able to grit my teeth and get through 18 hours.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Chrissie Brussels, Belgium 04-15-15
    Chrissie Brussels, Belgium 04-15-15 Member Since 2015
    HELPFUL VOTES
    197
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    "TERRIBLE narration"

    This book/audiobook proves that in fact a very good book can be destroyed by a terrible narrator. Annie Wauters does the narration. The ups and downs of voice inflection should tell you when a question is being posed or when a sentence is over. Wauter’s intonation was consistently wrong. She stops in the middle of a sentence, and it sounds like the sentence is over. Surprise, surprise! It isn’t! She continues with the last half of the sentence. Time and time again I was confused. Such reading makes it almost impossible to follow what is being said. Her speed is sometimes too rapid and other times too slow. Words are mumbled. No, not all words, but too many. And for the majority of the reading her tone is f-l-a-t. She drones on. I never expected that I would have such trouble understanding text simply due to bad narration. When I started the audiobook I was forewarned that the narration was bad, but I wanted to read this book so I figured I could manage. Yes, I managed and some parts are better than others, but honestly she destroyed the book for me. Just following the lines was such a challenge that all reading enjoyment totally evaporated. Do NOT choose the audiobook.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Berenice Gilmore 04-11-15
    ratings
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    Story
    "Interesting story spoiled by narrator"

    The Mitford sisters had such interesting lives that these made for a very enjoyable tale told in interesting fashion by the author. It was somewhat spoiled for me by the narrator whose inability and inconsistency as well as her speech defect (Rs), delivered in a flat voice was distracting and irritating.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Elise 04-05-15
    Elise 04-05-15 Member Since 2014

    I ENJOY BIOGRAPHY AND NON-FICTION. I LIKE TO LEARN FROM STORIES.

    HELPFUL VOTES
    6
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    "AMAZING WOMEN!"
    Would you consider the audio edition of The Sisters to be better than the print version?

    Havent read the print version


    Any additional comments?

    I loved this book! I was transported to England, to a world all but vanished now. The sisters were fascinating characters. They knew the prime movers of their age. I listen to this book over and over.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    K. Wachter 03-30-15
    K. Wachter 03-30-15 Member Since 2013

    paper kat

    HELPFUL VOTES
    2
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    "Compelling in every respect!"

    Enjoyed this family tale. They are the original quarreling loving family with higher stakes than most. I found some of them unlikable which kept the story interesting. The reader was both excellent and difficult to adjust ones ear to. Her jolting rhythms become normal sounding after a while. I love the writer's balanced treatment of her material. I especially loved the comment quoted from a friend that the thing to remember about the family is that they were full of fun. The writing is very good although I wonder how the author and her editor missed usage instruction about "...on the other hand." "On the one hand" logically and correctly precedes "on the other hand." It's not a great thing, except when it is used often and then it is distracting.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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