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Charlotte Bronte’s Jane Eyre, narrated by the incomparable Juliet Stevenson. Sigh. This is classical romance at its best.
Some who read rather than listen may find parts slow, unrealistic and liberally laced with purple prose. But not so listening to Stevenson. Her voice envelopes the high morality of Victorian England, the expressions of love, sacrifice, pain, confusion, desperation – and transports these into the realm of prose-music. Her voice caresses the words. She transforms the coincidences and high drama to the level of probability. She gentles the listener into suspending belief and luxuriating in the outpouring of human emotions, the urgency of secret love and devotion, the unquestioning correctness of sacrifice, the terror of the insane.
Romantics will be enthralled by the barriers to the consummation of love, the very least being the class system and Victorian self restraint.
Stevenson's narration is better than good. This is great classic, read superbly.
Jane Eyre is, of course, a fabulous book. But when narrated by Juliet Stevenson, it is brought to life in the most satisfying way. I have loved listening to this book and getting to know the characters (again) through Ms. Stevenson's lively narration.
I was thoroughly charmed by this book. It is written in a totally different style than what one would expect of a 21st century book, but putting myself in an early 19th century frame, I was able to enjoy this book. I loved the flow of the prose, the use of currently little-used words, the elegance of the whole thing. I can't believe I have lived this long without even knowing the story line of Jane Eyre. I was enthralled with it on many levels. I was pleasantly surprised by the high quality of the writing, creativity and the obvious intelligence of the author. I will be thinking about this story for a long time to come. I think everyone should read it sooner or later. Jane is a great role model for not just young girls, but for everyone who is trying to be a better human being. I hope that is all of us.
The narrator, Juliet Stevenson, was excellent. My one complaint is that she is very soft spoken and could be a little hard to hear.
Jane Eyre is, for me, the greatest of all classic British literature. It is a remarkable gift to have such a magnificent novel read by such capable readers. While Juliet Stevenson does an excellent job, I find the older (and less expensive) version read by Lucy Scott to be as exceptional as the book itself. Stevenson has bit deeper a British accent, while Scott maintains a greater clarity of speech while creating an authentic English tone.
Researcher, editor, writer, francophone, anglophile. Started listening to audiobooks to conciliate my love of knitting and novels.
Juliet Stevenson is my favourite narrator, period. She understands the characters, and plays them amazingly. Some of the books I choose to listen is because of her narration, and not the book itself (although it obviously plays a role in the matter).
Fantastic! Stevenson was superb in her narration! Definite recommendation for those who love the classic art.
Audible has changed my life! Dry , itchy eyes were destroying one of my greatest pleasures - reading. Now I am experiencing books again!
Jane Eyre and Juliet Stevenson. Sheer Heaven. It always surprises me how long Jane Eyre can be, but this edition makes you understand why good old Jane has appealed to so many for so long. Once again, the narrator makes the difference, and I just can't recommend Juliet Stevenson enough! Long may she read!
Audiobooks have literally changed my life. I now actually ENJOY doing mindless chores because they give me plenty of listening time!
I was captivated with Charlotte Brontë's heroine from the moment we were introduced to her. Jane is an independents spirit, a smart girl with a strong sense of morals who has met with more than her fair share of bad luck, and it's impossible not to feel intense sympathy for her cause. She is both naive and infinitely wise beyond her years, and while the young woman is very much bound by the conventions of her time, the fact that she must follow her heart at every turn pushes her to act in surprising ways and make choices that seem unbearably difficult, which of course makes for great storytelling. Brontës vivid descriptions of the surroundings help us place the action in time and place, but also serve to give us much information about the character's inner workings. I was delighted to discover upon this second reading, that I had forgotten all of the second half of the story, in which Jane's quest for belonging and family rang all too true.
Listening to the excellent actress Juliet Stevenson narrate this story with her trademark rich, smooth voice, truly made this excellent story all the more pleasant to rediscover.
Its a fantastic story. Its well paced and with good detail without being flowery and Jane herself is likeable and not overtly emotional as many heroines of her era were. I remember reading this book for school and having to analyse it line by line which does nothing to endear the classics to students, but now listening to it as an adult, and having it so beautifully narrated was such joy. I found myself driving around the block snd walking for an extra half hour just to listen to it more.
I am an AudioBook Narrator and so judge these things perhaps too harshly. But this performance by Juliet Stevenson is absolute perfection. The headphones never left my ears for days.
I cannot recommend this too highly.
"A beautiful reading by Juliet Stevenson"
Ms Stevenson's knowledge of and passion for this book really come through. A stunning reading.
A book I've always wanted to read but never had the time. This audiobook is extraordinary. Bronte was an amazing writer. I'm so pleased I finally had a chance to listen to this.
"A beautifully read classic"
An excellent recording / rendition of a classic book. Very accessible, easy to listen to.
This novel is beautifully brought to life. Superbly read and maintaining the true emotion of the story. A faithful and sensitive reading.
I loved this book, I read it years ago but the audio version read by a fantastic narrator is brilliant
"Reader its fabulous!"
It stands alone, but the scenario is familiar/timeless.
No it works well as a series - though I did listen to it in consecutive sessions.
Juliet Stevenson was a brilliant choice for reading this book. Her diction brings this book to life and is very like the voice I had in my head when I read this for myself many moons ago!
"Not what you might think"
Jane Eyre is regularly made into a film that concentrates on the love story between the heroine and Mr Rochester - a gothic tale of opposite personalities, across the class divide, with the 'mad wife in the attic'. Almost a chick flick.
I thought I knew this novel. I've read it enough times. But listening to it, Juliet Stevenson perfection as always, I realised that I had skipped huge parts of the book.
Bronte is unrelenting once she starts observing morality and religion - Helen Burns at Lowood School and St John Rivers especially. And all of that is very hard-going for the modern reader.
Austen's works, a generation earlier, are positively light and frothy in comparison. They're all lumped together though - Romantic Novels for Women.
Obviously, none of them are, but watch out for Jane Eyre the Novel. Bronte had a lot to say and I imagine the novel disturbed many readers of its time. But not only for its gothic narrative - that's been left for later centuries to concentrate on, consigning the odious St John to his own self-important fate and leaving little Helen to sweetly die without spouting reams of Victorian sanctimony.
I just wonder what Charlotte would have thought about modern reactions to her novel. I think we miss her points but wonder also if they're simply irrelevant nowadays.
"My all time favourite novel"
Madness, morality and love. This book can be read on so many different levels, but I think it speaks throughout of the author Charlotte and her belief in the strength and independence of women at a time when views about female roles in society required her to originally publish under a male pseudonym.
Jane is an amazing character - one whose religious and moral values are perhaps alien to a modern audience, but whose self-reliance, passion and wit are enough to endear her to any reader. Mr Rochester is of course a remarkable and passionate male lead with self confessed flaws, but I think the reader might like him a little less if not presented through Jane's eyes.
The scene in which Jane defies Rochester and he realises that he can never possess her life and soul by force and she therefore quietly establishes her mastery over his will - it is such an amazingly well-written and passionate scene that I have read many times over - Stevenson's performance does it justice.
So many moments - the aforementioned scene, the one where Jane declares herself Rochester's equal and they are finally brought together, the shock of the discovery on her wedding day and her quiet, solitary reaction to it, her realisation of Rochester's injury. The novel is so well written you really see the events through Jane's eyes.
If you haven't ever read this book, you must. Persevere through the first section about Jane's childhood and schooling - it is important in establishing Jane's character and moving enough in its way too.
If you have read this book many times like I have, the audio version is well narrated and allows you to experience the story again while getting on with all the other tasks that stop you sitting down with the novel.
What can I say? This has always been one of my favorite stories and this version of telling is just wonderful!. I have listened to a few books narrated by Juliet Stevenson and I think she is one of the best. I was spellbound from beginning to end, a beautiful love story told beautifully!
"A riveting listen"
Simply perfect in every respect! Juliet Stevenson reads in a smooth, flowing, seemingly effortless, manner. This makes this audio book a brilliant and, in my opinion, the best way to receive this classic work - all the intricate detail and gripping story of the original book but without the labour of having to frequently re-read sentences written in archaic form (in order to grasp their meaning). Very highly recommended!
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