Alice Dugdale is the daughter of the town doctor, unremarkable in appearance but intelligent and good-hearted. The action in this fine short tale, published in 1878, concerns what happens when the man she plans to marry - who has just returned from the war with quite a bit of money - appears to be seduced away by a fashionable but dull socialite. This is an older recording with a variable sound quality, but Sheila Lash's excellent enunciation and smooth voice is a perfect for this funny, sensitive tale of love and society.
© & (P)1986 Jimcin Recordings
Sheila Lash did a fine job narrating Alice Dugdale, one of Trollope's best. The complications of this Anthony Trollope story are delicious: two girls, one man, wrong assumptions, misunderstandings, misinterpretations, and ambitious mothers with tricks, traps and strategies. In a time of a general man shortage, the struggle to find marriageable partners for single daughters was ferocious. A Friday night barroom brawl is gentile by comparison. Trollope stories are best compared to soap operas: slow paced, teasing hints and unexpected developments. One expects intermittent interruptions to sell some liquid soap then of course, end just the way a story ought.
There are some technical glitches in a couple of spots (or it could be something with my download) with the recording which should be corrected but certainly not grave enough to detract from the total enjoyment of the story. I am going to delete it then download it again to see if that clears up the recording.
Trollope is one of my favorite authors to listen to--at least when read by an able narrator like David Case. His writing is leisurely, funny, sly, compassionate, and psychologically acute. But the narrator of this book is sub-par. Despite a pleasant voice and good enunciation, she reads as stiffly as if she had never seen the sentences before, with no attempt at fluidity or expressiveness. She never differentiates one character's voice from another--nor the characters' voices from that of Trollope's narrator.
This is a very old recording, with lots of background noise (like cassette tapes going bad, which it probably is) and read in a monotone. The story is interesting in that people are much franker with each other than in, say, Jane Austen or in Trollope's more famous works. They will say you lied, you insulted me, etc., so the people seemed more realistic. Ended rather suddenly.
"Geat story, shame about the accent ...."
Trolloppe once again creates detailed characters who represent perfectly the era in which they were written. The relative brevity of the book may serve to pique the interest of those who are somewhat daunted by the length of many of his tomes. The story is indeed one of his 'gems'.
Alas, for me, the audiobook is let down by the narrator's struggles to achieve her 'Upper Class English accent', somewhat difficult for an American. At first I kept laughing at it and had to rewind! After a while the mirth ceased, as I became more accustomed to it, but the audiobook would have been improved infinitely for me by using a different narrator.
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