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.
"[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)
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.
I already broadly knew the story of the Mitford Sisters and looked forward to the details in this biography.
Specially the story of Decca and Esmond really touched me. It was beautiful.
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
I had thought I would be most touched by Nancy Mitfords story, but it was Decca's story that really moved me!
Please have someone else read the story again!!
They were a fascinating family and the writer tells their story well.
The story of Unity Mitford is tragic, strange and dramatic.
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!
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!
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.
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