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Romeo and Juliet: A Novel Audiobook

Romeo and Juliet: A Novel

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Publisher's Summary

Exclusively written for Audible, only available in audio

"I think Romeo and Juliet is the greatest, most tragic love story ever told. What David Hewson did with this script is so exciting to me. I really love the fact that he followed avenues that Shakespeare suggested but didn't necessarily detail in depth. If you want to immerse yourself in a warm bath of Garganega and the heat of Verona and hear a brilliant story about a young woman who is challenging the restraints of her time, listen to this audiobook, which has romance, poetry, politics, and humor to spare." (Narrator Richard Armitage)

It's a story you think you know: the age-old tale of "star-cross'd lovers"; two families at war; a romance, so pure and absolute, fated for a tragic end. It's a story so thoroughly embedded in our culture, and so frequently retold. Yet, nothing captures the spark, the possibility, and the surprise of Shakespeare's work quite like this....

In Romeo and Juliet: A Novel, author David Hewson reworks and expands on the classic story so that it becomes something richer, something new and entirely its own. Much more than a simple love story, it is a brilliant examination of young versus old, hope against despair, and, for Juliet, the search for individual identity at a time when women were regarded as little more than chattel.

An original production commissioned by Audible, Romeo and Juliet: A Novel marks the second pairing of David Hewson and actor Richard Armitage, whose previous partnership resulted in Audible's 2014 Audiobook of the Year, Hamlet, Prince of Denmark: A Novel. Hewson's talent for writing for audio is undeniable, and he finds his perfect vocal foil in Armitage, an actor of immense range and absorbing intensity. Together, they bring you a familiar story told in a surprising way - with an ending you might not expect.

Bonus: Audiobook includes an afterword written and narrated by David Hewson.

About the author: David Hewson is a British author of more than 20 works of fiction, including the Nic Costa detective series, set in contemporary Italy, and three novels based on the hit TV series, The Killing. For Audible, Hewson contributed to the serial novel The Chopin Manuscript, winner of the Audie Award for Audiobook of the Year. And, with A.J. Hartley, Hewson has adapted Shakespeare twice before: Macbeth: A Novel, narrated by Alan Cumming, and Audible's 2014 Audiobook of the Year Hamlet, Prince of Denmark: A Novel, performed by Richard Armitage.

About the narrator: Richard Armitage is a British film, television, theater, and voice actor. A graduate of the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art and former member of the Royal Shakespeare Company, Armitage landed his first leading role in the British television show North & South. Peter Jackson cast Armitage as Thorin Oakenshield, the leader of the company of dwarves in The Hobbit films, bringing him international recognition. Since then, Armitage has appeared in numerous productions, including widely-praised performances on stage in The Crucible and Love, Love, Love, along with acclaimed roles on TV in NBC's Hannibal and Berlin Station on Epix.

©2016 David Hewson (P)2016 Audible, Inc.

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What the Critics Say

"Consummate actor Richard Armitage narrates this dynamic reimagining of Romeo and Juliet. It's an ideal construct for those reluctant to pursue Shakespeare. In addition to using contemporary slang, the author gives the followers of the Montague and Capulet families street cred: They wear red or blue feathers in their hats. Armitage makes even secondary characters unique, with Romeo's and Juliet's fathers sounding like the bitter old men they are. The standout is Juliet's nurse, who provides comic relief. Chapter transitions are faultless, and descriptions of people and places are stellar. Juliet's social conscience, specifically her desire to teach the peasants to read, adds further depth. Hewson boldly alters the story's conclusion. In an author's note, Hewson explains that Shakespeare was inspired by an Italian play similar to Romeo and Juliet. Hewson adds that to him the story is about the contrast between older and younger generations as they react to change." (AudioFile Magazine)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.6 (162 )
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Performance
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  •  
    Elizabeth 12-14-16
    Elizabeth 12-14-16
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "The Story and The Voice"

    A masterful retelling of a classic tale, this adaptation astounds. The fleshing out of a character such as Juliet results in a story which is relatable to this modern generation. The struggles of girls the world over - for autonomy, individuality and freedom - is captured in this one intelligent, headstrong girl.

    The pacing of the story ensures that ones imagination is free to soar. Descriptives are kept to a minimum, while being sufficient to act as a spring board.

    Narration...well, what can one say?...the rich chocolate voice of Richard Armitage, and the vocal characterizations he presents are a joy to the ear.

    Congratulations Mr. Hewson, this is indeed a triumph!

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Julia 12-17-16
    Julia 12-17-16 Member Since 2016
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    "Beautiful adaptation and fantastic narration"

    One more fantastic joint work of David Hewson and Richard Armitage. Love every minute of the audiobook. So sad my jorney to Verona is finished but I'm so glad I can return there whenever I wish. And I definitely will! Thank you, David Hewson, Richard Armitage and Audible for the great Christmas gift.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Amazon Fan 12-13-16
    Amazon Fan 12-13-16

    Cindy, Atwater CA

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Loved it!"
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    I'm always a little skeptical of actors narrating a book. But, Mr. Armitage does an EXCELLENT job in his narration. Really liked the book, as well. It's a retelling of Romeo & Juliet, more in depth giving backgrounds on other characters. Written w/ a 3rd party voice, which I really enjoyed. It's also written in "simple" English, not old English (The's and Thow's). Much easier to listen to. Thank you David Hewson for the rewrite and Richard Armitage for fantastic narration.


    7 of 8 people found this review helpful
  •  
    David P. McGivern Vancouver, BC Canada 12-13-16
    David P. McGivern Vancouver, BC Canada 12-13-16 Member Since 2016

    retired litigation lawyer; I read history; historical fiction; literary fiction. Narrator ++ important. Story equally so

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    "Wonderful, Imaginative"

    This is so very, very good.

    A million years ago, when I was a young teenager, I was captivated by the 1968 Zeffirelli film/interpretation of Romeo and Juliet, and very seldom does any production come close to that initial charm. This does. A different forum, I agree, but the combination of Mr. Hewson's interpretation of Shakespeare [he does not follow of the play completely] and Mr. Armitage's superb, wonderful, wonderful narration makes this a five star rating for me.

    I've been an Audible customer for almost a decade now, many many books, and more and more I choose the narrator first, the subject second; British narrators first, everybody else second. Add in Shakespearean acting experience for the narrator, and everything comes together.

    Highly recommended.

    7 of 8 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Amy Leonard Nashville, TN USA 12-09-16
    Amy Leonard Nashville, TN USA 12-09-16 Member Since 2016

    I'm a firm believer in lifelong learning.

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    "Ambrosia for the ears."

    David Hewson takes a popular story most widely known through Shakespeare, and creates a stand alone masterpiece full of refreshing and exquisite details that ensnares imagination and gives new perspective to a classic tale. The extremely gifted voice of Richard Armitage brings each character to life with unique and delightful intonation...ambrosia for the ears. A perfect gift for anyone.

    15 of 19 people found this review helpful
  •  
    MyrL 01-16-17
    MyrL 01-16-17

    Ensaladagirl

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    "A Juliet for our Age"
    If you could sum up Romeo and Juliet: A Novel in three words, what would they be?

    Unexpected, Melancholic, Educational


    What did you like best about this story?

    I liked that Hewson expanded the story and took us "behind-the-scenes" of Shakespeare's play by taking us inside the character's homes, and families and backgrounds, but also setting the stage of the real city of Verona, the political and social issues of the time the story is set. Also a study of the architecture and art.

    Since I know the play I started out thinking my favorite characters would be Romeo and Juliet, but as the story progressed they ended up not being my favorite characters at all. I loved Friar Laurence the best, I worried for him at the end. I also loved Benvolio and Mercutio, Bianca Capulet, and Juliet's Nurse. Now I can't stop thinking about Paris' beard!


    Have you listened to any of Richard Armitage’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

    I've listened to all of Richard Armitage's other audio book performances, all his work in fact. I've listened to his narrations/performances for close to 10 years I would say. He's my favorite narrator/performer.

    I have my favorites of course, but I would say this is one of my favorites, together with Hewson and Hartley's Hamlet:A Novel. As always Armitage creates a world for each character, even minor characters, so as a listener I know right away much about the character's inner life from the voice he's chosen. Armitage also has a very soothing "narrator voice" in addition to the theatre company he creates with his voice. He did a marvelous job with Juliet, I really felt the willful teenager at the beginning and then the strong woman emerging later in the story.

    What a great partnership of Armitage and Hewson, I hope to see more work from this creative partnership.


    If you were to make a film of this book, what would the tag line be?

    Think you know Romeo & Juliet? This is not Shakespeare's Juliet...


    One of my favorite films of all time is Zeffirelli's Romeo & Juliet.But I think this Juliet would surprise many.


    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Valentina Ancilotti Milan, Italy 12-17-16
    Valentina Ancilotti Milan, Italy 12-17-16
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    "Another joint masterpiece 💜"

    I really loved this book, its new interpretation, its narrating voice. Thanks Hewson and Armitage

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Ruth Bain 12-15-16
    Ruth Bain 12-15-16

    RueRue

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    "Such a disappointment !"

    If you love Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet, avoid this re-telling of the story. All the romance has been stripped away, Romeo seems to be an awkward, moony an immature tonnages, while Juliet is a budding feminist. Yikes ! As noted in other reviews, the beauty of Shakespeare's prose is lost in an attempt to update the language, although at random moments a character will revert to a Shakespearean phrase. Even Richard Armitage can't redeem this. Only his beautiful and dramatic narration made it worth listening to.

    8 of 10 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Amazon Customer 01-16-17 Member Since 2016

    Omnivorous reader/listener; I always have three books going at once. Favorite subjects sci-fi/fantasy fiction and gardening/herbal health.

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    "Excellent re-imagining of an old classic!"
    What did you love best about Romeo and Juliet: A Novel?

    Juliet's story is told from the perspective of modern--or maybe not so modern??--young woman.


    What did you like best about this story?

    All of the characters are made more three-dimensional, fleshed-out, and given back stories which give them motivation for their actions.


    What does Richard Armitage bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

    More emotion and humor to each character.


    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    Most definitely.


    Any additional comments?

    Thoroughly enjoyable! Richard Armitage's performance is outstanding and I am already listening to other titles read by him. He has a great versatility in creating the character's voices and brings out subtleties that you might miss upon just reading the novel.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jenny 01-11-17
    Jenny 01-11-17 Member Since 2014
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    "Enjoyable Interpretation"

    I've read Macbeth: A Novel and Hamlet: Prince of Denmark by Hewson (and AJ Hartley) and enjoyed them immensely. I was excited to see that Romeo and Juliet was next, though it seems without Hartley this time. I hope we'll continue to see these Shakespeare tragedies imagined in novel format, and maybe some comedies too.

    Die-hard Shakespeare purists need to know that these novels, Romeo and Juliet included, depart from the Bard's original works at times because Hewson (and Hartley) often pull from the older, pre-Shakespeare version as well. They include historical events and references that, in my opinion, make the tale richer and deeper.

    This one surprised me in its departures, but I can't say I didn't enjoy them. I also appreciated Hewson's aging up of Juliet from Shakespeare's 13 (yikes!) to the original story's more believable 16. I love what he did with the character of Juliet.

    Overall, I enjoyed Hewson's interpretation of a very familiar story. It introduced some themes that are not often explored with the version we all know, and it took a story which, let's face it, can seem completely absurd, and made it something relatable.

    And as always, Richard Armitage is splendid.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
Sort by:
  • faizel kimera
    12/25/16
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "charmed"

    charming. so vivid and beautifully crafted, both story and reading. recommend! you won't be disappointed.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Dorothea
    Germany
    12/18/16
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "A new view on an old story that actually is very current..."

    This story is a lot about Juliet.
    A girl, a young woman fascinated by what renaissance promises to bring. A teenager, much like we all were as teenagers or as our daughters are at that age.
    Only by telling the story not in (of course very beautiful) verses, but in prose it nearly becomes a story of today. The last 500 years have not changed much in the feelings of teenaged first love. And as well not in the senselessness of many hostilities, be it in families, between counties or for what reason ever.
    The message of this piece is so up to date.
    David Hewson has found beautiful words, that serve the old story and at the same time bring it to our time.
    Richard Armitage has again delivered a great piece of storytelling. Listening to him makes me often forget, that it's just one man narrating.
    This audiobook is like some of my favourite books...destined to be listened to again...and again...

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Richard Southworth
    1/16/17
    Overall
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    "Brilliant, fleshed out version of a familiar tale"
    Would you consider the audio edition of Romeo and Juliet: A Novel to be better than the print version?

    This version may suit the expectations of modern audiences better, as it has more fleshed-out characters, and better explains why Romeo and Juliet are attracted to each other beyond love at first sight.


    Which character – as performed by Richard Armitage – was your favourite?

    Armitage shows great versatility in his character voices for this production; aside from some occasionally odd choice of accents, his voices all seem to fit the characters they are for. My favourite character was Juliet, who is given a lot of depth: it would be easy for even this version of Juliet to be a cliché of a headstrong young woman who just wants to be free, but she is given plenty of unique thoughts, ideas and wit to make her an interesting character.


    If you made a film of this book, what would be the tag line be?

    "As a century ends, passion is born."


    Any additional comments?

    I highly recommend this audiobook. While it generally sticks to the original story, I liked most of the changes and original scenes that exist. I enjoyed the detail with which it describes Verona, and the story's historical and geographical context, and the depth it gives to the characters.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • anne hunt
    1/15/17
    Overall
    Performance
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    "A marriage made in heaven"

    The marriage made in heaven for me is the combination of Mr. Hewson's brilliant storytelling and beautiful writing and Mr. Armitage's wonderful narration bringing all those characters to life and painting such vivid pictures with his voice. Took my breath away to hear him speak the opening passage from Shakespeare's play in the prelude to Mr Hewson's final comments! Wow,so beautiful. My favourite moments have to be the scene in the garden when Romeo &Juliet first meet and the balcony moments, so passionate but tender . There were lots of moments when certain characters made me laugh out loud, especially the nurse but also Nico,the apothecary with his down to earth take on his masters and life in general..As a woman who has been lucky enough to live in a time and place where I have had the freedom to live my life as I wish, my heart went out to this Juliet who represents many women who for centuries have been supressed and opressed.. Thank you for letting her survive the carnage Mr. Hewson.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Mrs. Mary Y. Berry
    England
    1/4/17
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "a story i didnt want to end"
    What did you like most about Romeo and Juliet: A Novel?

    everything it was so good


    What did you like best about this story?

    everything the voices the pronuncation


    What does Richard Armitage bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you had only read the book?

    see above the beautiful voices . the expression in those voices


    Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

    the whole thing was a moving experence the end made my eyes water


    Any additional comments?

    the most beautiful and epic storytelling . i love my audible books but this i listend to with my headphones on when i went to bed i didnt want it to end

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Jules
    12/29/16
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Romeo and Juliet the Novel"

    I highly recommend this, it is beautifully written and Richard Armitage narrates all the characters perfectly. The author has taken great care to research the period it was set in, customs, expectations, and the concerns of the day are addressed. I really enjoyed the characters and this I know will be a book I'll return to again and again.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • bookylady
    12/20/16
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "A fabulous reworking of a classic love story."
    What did you like most about Romeo and Juliet: A Novel?

    The author managed to achieve a fresh take on the Bard's classic tale of doomed young love and warring families. The narrative follows Shakespeare's plot and original characters but augments it with details of the history of Verona, its architecture and culture, art, the Renaissance, social practises, wine, politics and dynastic/marital customs. The writing is excellent and even minor characters are fleshed out with backstories and great dialogue. It was easy to become engrossed in the world of 1499 and to engage with the young lovers and the families/events that determined their fate.


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    I loved Juliet. She was portrayed as an intelligent, free-thinking young woman who yearned for independence, travel and experience outwith the strictures of marriage, children and domesticity. Definitely a Juliet for our times.


    What about Richard Armitage’s performance did you like?

    Richard is probably my favourite narrator. His deep, mellow voice is full of expression and he brings each character alive, using different 'voices' and/or accents for each character. His pacing and phrasing are wonderful and he delivers an emotional performance which draws you in. He injects comedy and dramatic tension into his performance which truly enhances the quality of the writing.He is a top-notch narrator.


    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    Definitely. I kept finding excuses to do long, boring jobs so that I could continue listening.


    Any additional comments?

    This book can be listened to without any prior knowledge of Shakespeare's play.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Donna A.
    12/20/16
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Romeo and Juliet"

    Simply breathtaking, a production beautifully read by Richard Armitage Captivating from the very first page .

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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