This is Volume one of the greatest romantic narrative novel of the early 19th Century. John Halifax, Gentleman, tells the story of an orphan boy whose first words in the story are “Sir, I want work; may I earn a penny?” By hard work, diligent study and an unshakeable faith in his God John attains wealth and happiness, despite much hardship and heartbreak throughout his life. The story chronicles the class movement of the time and gives us a remarkable description of social, political, and industrial change.
Set in Gloucestershire in the heart of England and told by Phineas, his soul mate and lifelong friend, who observes John through all his glorious moments, self-doubt and resolution, the story is simple, uplifting and heroic. It is a detailed study of a man and his family that also presents the listener with a broad view of Britain during one of its most troubled times. A genuine classic, most entertaining and certainly a tale which lives up to the appellation epic in its conception and delivery. ‘John Halifax, Gentleman’ was first published in 1856. Due to popular demand it has never been out of print. This is the first unabridged recording of Dinah Craik’s masterpiece.
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"This tremendous family story is set in a period of stormy social change from the 1770s to the 1830s.In his journey from penniless orphan to mill owning philanthropist, John is driven by duty, his love of God and humanity. The effects of war and bad harvests on the rural poor and corruption of parliamentary rotten boroughs [in one of which Halifax refuses to stand] are a small part of the wide ranging backdrop. Every hour is hugely rewarding-and what an accomplished reading. It conveys every nuance of emotion, making the listener feel richer for having lived through so much." (Observer)
"Peter Joyce is the most remarkable one-man band in audiobook publishing. Joyce, an experienced actor, reads them all himself." (The Independent)
About Assembled Stories: Over the years the national press have reviewed Assembled Stories titles as "excellent", "remarkable", "entrancing", "superb", "magic for sure", "masterly", "wonderful", "a class act" and "a splendid example of audio at its best".
"Here’s such a neglected Victorian classic, a huge bestseller in its day, ready to be rediscovered through Joyce’s excellent reading." (Publishing News)
I love 19th century literature and purchased this because the description called a the "greatest narrative novel of the early 1800s.." But holy cow! This was incredibly boring. It just describes a rag to riches life of an angelically perfect man. There is no depth to the characters, no plot tension in the story, no real drama. I had to go read what the critics say about this novel and have learned that it is important because it describes the social and economic shift from agrarian landed gentry as the economic power base, to the middle class manufacturer. So I get why the readers of the time found this an important reflection f their society. But it is simply bad literature by our modern standards. Also, to make it worse - much worse - the reader is awful He has a gruff old man voice and cannot capture the necessary youthful voices. Everyone sounds 60 years old. Bad. Just bad.
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