London 1844. A shy young woman has arrived to take up a new situation in the grandeur of No. 50, Wimpole Street. Subtly and compellingly, Lady's Maid gives voice to Elizabeth Wilson's untold story, her complex relationship with her mistress, Elizabeth Barrett, and her dramatic role in the most famous elopement in history.
©1990 Margaret Forster (P)2012 AudioGO Ltd
What an exceptional story!! So well-written and perfectly performed.
Accessible from the first sentence. I was hooked from the first paragraph. I love this book!!!
Told from the perspective of Wilson, the young, shy, kind-hearted lady's maid of the crippled and depressed Elizabeth Barrett. Eventually known famously as Elizabeth Barrett Browning... This tells the story of her mistress and her relationship with Robert Browning. In the mysterious spirit of Jane Eyre and Northanger Abbey, the narrative flows and sucks you in! Historical Fiction at its very best!!
Don't miss this story. The narrator is a perfect match.
Beautifully written with the ability to hold your interest through human emotion and hope.
It could be compared to "The Help" although from a completely different era. The author brings you into the life and thoughts of those that have lived a conflicted life of servitude and devotion.
The narrator was excellent. Perfect for this book, which makes a huge difference in the success of any audio book.
Yes. I couldn't put it down.
The basic story could have been interesting, but the storyline was very slow and plodding. I did finish the entire audiobook, but it stayed tedious throughout.
I have a busy career, travel a lot and don't have much time to read, so I listen to Audio books. I love reading!
A poignant quietly compelling story.. oddly boring, but at the same time a good listen if you are wanting a quieting of the mind. I waited for the story to reach a pinnacle, but that didn't happen and when it ended, I wanted more meat.. more something..
Its a take it or leave it book. But an interesting biography.
This was by far one of the best and most engrossing books I listened to this year. There's nothing better than a superb book with a very engaging, well-spoken narrator, and Carol Boyd did a fantastic job. This book is about Elizabeth Barrett Browning and her husband, Robert Browning. But the story itself centers around Elizabeth's maid, Wilson. I can't honestly remember when a book evoked so much emotion in me: joy, love, happiness, interest, resentment, anger, outrage. The writing was so beautiful, and so true to the period. If you love reading vintage women's fiction like Jane Austen or Edith Wharton, then you'll love the writing style and narrative of this book. While a few liberties were taken (explained in the book's epilogue), much of it centers around fact. However, I was still unable to discern if Elizabeth Barrett Browning was such a selfish, mean-spirited and confused person as portrayed here, or if the author used her creative license to vilify Elizabeth Barrett Browning. I'm not going to recreate the synopsis, since many have already done so in so many places. I'm simply recommending it as a truly gripping story of love, loss, devotion and social injustices. It's a bit slow in parts, but I listened to it almost straight through -- never was I bored or indifferent about the storyline in any way. Every piece of it is wracked with feeling in some form or fashion. Enjoy!
Elizabeth Barrett and Robert Browning are interesting characters by any standard. This fictionalized tale as told by her lady's maid makes fascinating listening for anyone who finds the romantic poets of interest. Best of all, it is a marvelous period piece about the life of women in the first half of the 19th century and a look at the difference class made in the way people lived. All in all, an enjoyable listen.
This book began with a promising story, and by the time I was halfway through it I was totally engrossed. We see the world through the eyes of a servant, a woman who grows from a docile young maid into a woman who questions her life and it's meaning. Great start. However, by the end of the story out heroine is no longer just questioning- she becomes bitter and cold towards her husband and loves only to please those above her. I waited for redemption- it never came. What a disappointment.
"A character study"
I enjoyed listening to this book after having originally read it a few years ago. A re-read always enlightens you further, and I think the different format being audio, also lends an edge. This book is a novelised version of the love story between poets Elizabeth Barrett and Robert Browning, shown through the eyes of their maid. It is based on true facts, but obviously some is imaginary.
I think Margaret Forster is excellent at presenting characters in all lights, with their good and ugly bits, and this book really shows the interesting character of Elizabeth Barrett against the submissive maid cleverly. You will not find yourself liking or hating any one person, just as in real life with all our faults. The audio book could probably have been a good hour shorter read by someone else, Carole Boyd reads in a slow dreamy manner, but that does suit this Victorian tale.
Recommended for those interested in the lives of the actual characters, poetry generally, books which investigate character and relationships, and travel - lots of detail about Florence, Paris, Rome etc.
"Looked forward to listening every night"
A brilliant audio book. A story you will look forward to listening to. I wish Carole Boyd narrated more books. Her nack with accents is flawless and she presents each character in a way that brings them to life and makes you forget there is one reader and allows you to be transported back to 1844.
"listen to this, highly recommended"
Very interesting book, well read. Very thought proving. I have read this as a book many years ago but the audiobook brings it even more to life.
"A surprisingly capturing tale"
I purchased this one on other reviews and can agree with the majority of others that this is a slowly unfurled story, but one that does not drag nonetheless. It pulls you along with the main characters expectations and experiences in an obviously well researched piece of fiction, showing both sides of a mistress/servant relationship that covers many years. Well worth a listen.
"Difficult to love this book"
The book starts off with a young woman in service taking on a new position with a lady who is not well. There is a hint of intrigue as to the matter of illness but that does not develop any further. The relationship between master and servant is really the book and how both characters get through life under the confines of the relationship. Later in the book Wilson is depressed and I myself felt a bit depressed waiting for something to really happen that was entertaining, interesting or stimulating. However judging the story overall its an interesting insight to what the relationship must have been. It is well written and particularly well narrated. Those who loves well researched historical fiction should enjoy this book. Those that are looking for "ooh" and "wow" might wonder.
"Compelling Writing & Narration"
This is one of my favourite forms of novel: a novel based on a good deal of fact.
M Forster is also a biographer of E Barrett Browning so she really know the landscape of her life and those who lived around her. This novel, rooted in the factual relationship between EBB and her maid, Wilson, revolves around the two women, but is told - though not in the first person - through the eyes of Wilson.
I very much enjoyed the book, which spans about 2 decades and ends shortly after the death of EBB in Italy. It is slow and gently paced, with a good deal of enjoyable detail being devoted to regular routines, daily tasks, and mundane activities. This gives a very atmospheric background - days, weeks and months, at times - of almost total inactivity, due we think to the illness of EBB. It also provides more shock value to the spikes of activity, such as the secret marriage of Barrett to Browning, their elopement and subsequent life.
Wilson's character is a bit baffling. She is such a thorough-going prude (even by the standards of decency at that time), it is hard, later in the book, to reconcile with her quite sudden outbreak of sexual liberation (fairly short-lived, to be fair). Her character becomes gradually more down-cast and beaten by the trials of her life and there were sections in the second half when I too wearied of the drudge and moping. But not enough to lose a star. It's well worth the 5 I give it.
La Snell narrates perfectly. What a range this actress has, reading both men and women equally well, and grasping a lot of accents. She sustains Wilson's geordie (which might be inaccurate but sounded good to me!) really well.
It's long and has vast periods of inactivity which I like. A fast romp it is not. I listened to it in a cold November week and I (mainly) loved it.
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