Piet Barol is an alluring and intelligent young man who has escaped his drab existence, living with his father in the university town of Leiden, and moved to Amsterdam to take up a job at a stunning mansion in the city's 'Gilded Curve'. He has been employed by the extremely wealthy Vermeulen-Sickerts family to tutor their son Egbert, a boy with prodigious musical talent who has not set foot outside for a year and a half. Piet soon attracts the attentions of Constance and Louisa, the boy's two sisters, and their mother Jacobina who has been living in a sexless marriage since her husband made a pledge to God. Piet is determined to find a way of gaining entry to high society, through the family, although he must also retain the good will of his fellow servants. Piet finds many ways to pursue his pleasure-seeking ways, but when he seduces - or is seduced by - Jacobina, the future he has been so carefully building could vanish...
©2011 Richard Mason (P)2011 Orion Publishing Group Limited
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This fabulous story was not what I expected, however, I was pleasantly surprised by how well it progressed on its journey of love and betrayal mixed with at times shocking eroticism. The main character was portrayed in a way which made me both love him and hate him, but in the end wanting him to succeed... The open ending has left much to be desired - so to speak - and it will be interesting to see what happens next to Piet Barol.
Dan Stevens' narration is simply perfect, no surprises there (he is indeed one of my favourite actors). I have listened to this book twice now. :)
I loved this book & didn't want it to end, The narration was perfect & the musical inserts added to the enjoyment. You really felt as though you were living through it & the characters were very believable. Can't wait for the next one.
"Terrific storytelling by both author and narrator"
This book ended far too quickly for me. It was a clever story, really rich in detail and characterisation, and Dan Stevens was an inspired narrator. His voice perfectly captured the beautiful language that Richard Mason wrote, and I was engaged throughout.
"'A sharply written story of love and money"
Piet Barol has an instinctive appreciation for pleasure and a gift for finding it. When his mother dies, Piet applies for a job as tutor to the troubled son of Europe's leading hotelier—a child who refuses to leave his family’s mansion on one of Amsterdam’s grandest canals. As Piet enters this glittering world, he learns its secrets and finds his life transformed.
A brilliantly written portrait of the senses, History of a Pleasure Seeker is an opulent, romantic coming-of-age drama set at the height of Europe’s Belle Époque, written with a lightness of touch that is wholly modern and original.
Such a gorgeous book, I fell in love with Pete and such a delight to listen to his story. Can't wait for the next book. Easy and not taxing but compulsive.
The sadness of how he would never know the absolute wonderful result of his expulsion
A sensual pleasure to delight the soul
Listen and enjoy.
"A strange book"
The History of a Pleasure Seeker is a strange book. At times I was close to giving up on it, at others totally engrossed. I think it was Dan Stevens's narration that kept me sticking with it - he is very good indeed at personifying the various characters. I enjoyed the way music was incorporated into the performance, as it is very much a part of the story. The story line moved on with good pace, though I sometimes felt the eroticism was overdone and slowed things down too much ... but then I suppose it is the story of a 'pleasure seeker'!
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