John Harmon, in exile for many years, discovers that by a curious quirk in his father’s will he must marry Bella Wilfer, a girl he has never met, in order to claim his inheritance. Mistakenly thought to have drowned, on his return he gains employment with the kindly Mr Boffin under the assumed name of John Rokesmith and falls in love with the flighty and mercenary Bella, who scornfully rejects him as a mere impoverished secretary. But Boffin and his wife contrive a plan to help John and show Bella the error of her ways.
Public Domain (P)2014 Audible, Inc.
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"Good, but not, for me, great"
Firstly, I have to say that this is definitely one of my favourite Dickens. For most of the book at least, both the leading young women, Lizzie Hexham and Bella Wilfer, are strong characters. Unfortunately towards the end, Bella slips into a more traditional Dickens role, as per Dora and Little Nell. More normally for Dickens, he finds his most upright male characters in a wide variety of interesting places and, more specifically, offers a welcome contrast to the anti-semitism that readers have associated with his drawing of Fagin in Oliver Twist.
The reading is very professional, faltering only, in my personal view, when Dickens uses irony to convey his discust for the character he is drawing - the reading of his introductions to Lammle and Wegg being examples.
I have enjoyed this, but I could have been thrilled.
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