Originally published in 1778, Evelina is Frances Burney's first and most beloved novel. It was a landmark in the development of the novel of manners and went on to influence such enduringly popular authors as Jane Austen.
By turns hilarious and grim, witty and lyrical, the story follows young Evelina as she leaves the seclusion of her country home and enters into late eighteenth-century London society - both its pleasures and its dangers. Life in eighteenth-century England is vividly rendered as Evelina is educated in the ways of the world and, eventually, love. As she battles such cruelties as social snobbery and delights in such thrills as pleasure gardens and balls, Evelina strives toward her final triumph, while capturing the hearts of listeners everywhere along the way.
Public Domain ©2014 Blackstone Audio, Inc.
... and Geoffrey Palmer (original publisher silksoundbooks, but now on audible). Unlike this crew (so surprised this was so bad!), they "get" the book. This version I would NOT even recommend if it were free! But if you have the money, the Williams/Dench/Palmer version is well worth it!
The interplay among the characters
Cast voice actors who are suited to the material
A wonderfully read and performed version of Burney's work. I especially loved the afterward that expresses such enthusiasm about Austen's favorite novel.
"Unlistenable due to accent."
Anybody with the ability to do a variety of English accents.
This was unlistenable. I love this book to bits and was delighted to find a copy on Audible, but it is impossible to listen to a story so embedded in the complex culture of late eighteenth-century English politeness read with an American accent. Perhaps if you live in America the American accent sounds like your 'everyman' voice, but that is not so to the rest of the world.
"Spoiled by heavy handed narration"
This book was written at the end of the 18th Century as a satire on the society of the day. Ideally it should be read in a light hearted tone of voice that allows the irony and humour to float to the surface, naturally. That's quite a difficult challenge given the rather stiff or unfamiliar prose of parts of the book and sadly in my view these narrators do not rise to this challenge. Instead they obviously feel the need to add dramatic colour to point up or underline the humour.
Hope so, so I'll try a different version.
"Entertaining story, dreadful accents"
engaging historical fiction
I've been put off reading this by the length of the novel, but the audio version makes it possible to listen as I drive etc. Despite this, I put off listening to this for a while after purchasing it as I was daunted by the length and had a slight nagging feeling that it would be a bit tedious. I was wrong! I have really enjoyed listening to Evelina. The morals of the heroine are familiar from Jane Austen's works and are articulately expressed in her letters to her mentor and friend. The characters are all well-described and you get a real understanding of many of them. I occasionally wanted to yell at Madame Duval to put a sock in it when her tales of woe were repeated too often.
The American accents do not fit well with a pre-Regency English novel. I found myself chuckling at Mr Macartney's 'Scottish' voice, rather than empathising with his bizarre and sad story.
"Strong and engaging female lead"
The epistolary form is archaic, and Burney can be a little repetitive for modern taste. So I was glad to listen to it, when I would never have actually read it in print. Slow, and at times a bit listless, this is at other times a wonderfully evocative glimpse into a distant world. In the midst of which is a strong and engaging young woman, making her way in a generally unsympathetic world. It fits surprisingly well the chick-lit genre - young woman good, all men bad or silly. Moments of great charm.
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