(P)2000 Blackstone Audiobooks
"Rarely is there a book that when read once, one wishes to start rereading right away. Here is one. Elizabeth's memoir is read with elan and obvious relish by Nadia May." (AudioFile)
This book is a solitary walk through the flower gardens, into the forest, down by a stream. Getting away from people is a recurring theme in Elizabeth von Arnim books: The Solitary Summer, The Enchanted April, Elizabeth and Her German Garden and even works such as Princess Priscilla's Fortnight have that element of escape from people. Yes, it is peaceful although issues with various gardeners complicate life along with the self satisfied superiority of the Man of Wrath. There is a gentle humor, and unfailing pleasure in observing the day to day, even hour to hour changes in the gardens. There is unabashed enjoyment of her babies, the fresh air, the gardening work and the time alone to think. One can feel the garden solitary quiet. I loved the idea of Elizabeth escaping into the snow covered gardens, then when she is sure that she is alone, dances and cavorts in the dark. Her friends from town were absolutely sure that she felt abandoned and lonely without the crowds and parties. No indeed, she felt liberated and exhilarated to be away from the noise and insipid conversations.
I have grown quite used to and fond of Nadia May's narrations as I listened to her on a couple dozen audio books in my collection ranging from Agnes Grey, Middlemarch, Northanger Abbey and Pride and Prejudice. She is consistent and I have found that trait particularly valuable in a narrator.
I read this book because Elizabeth von Arnim wrote the beautiful story, The Enchanted April. The way she represented the inner workings and vulnerability and awakening joy of those 4 women made me feel close to her. She truly conveyed the hopes and fears of the women in that book. This is somewhat of a diary. I guess I shouldn't judge her on her personal writings, but it reflected a spoiled, hauty, self centered, self indulgent rich wife. There didn't seem to be a speck of humility or vulnerability in her. She referred to her children as "The May Baby or The April Baby" and was constantly handing them off to maids and servants to tend them so she could get to her garden. She complained of visitors to her estate, having to go to lavish balls and parties, and the preference for being utterly alone and not bothered with motherly or household duties---such as supervising and ordering servants around. She mightily complained of her gardeners ineptness and bad character. I couldn't relate to being spoiled, privileged and rich. The narrator perfectly depicted the snooty tone in her reading with her high pitched, clipped voice. I gave up half way through. Not a fun read for me.
love to read and love audio books!Favorite authors: Marcia Willett,Nevil Shute,Mary Stewart,and Jacqueline Winspear. I could go on and on but wont bore you! I belong to a book group and we often" Listen" to the books we have selected for the month while using a paper copy for the discussion notes. It really enhances the quality of the story.
I bought this book because I LOVED Enchanted April .I found myself bogged down after the first disc HOW COULD ONE BOOK BE SUCH A GREAT ONE AND THIS ONE SO MEDIOCRE?I l really like Nadia May so I thought It would be a winner. The narration is fine its the story that fails to capture my attention. Nadia May narrated "The Childrens Hour" by Marcia Willett and it it excellent.I will still pay attention to anything narrated by Nadia May but hesitate about any more of Von Armins books.
Yes, especially if the friend loved the outdoors.
Elizabeth's relationship with her garden and unconventional way of thinking about it.
She's one of the great narrators. She always makes the characters and stories come vividly to life.
A Year in My German Garden
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