When Paul Van Zale, a handsome patrician and powerful Wall Street banker, meets Dinah in London, he commits the imprudence of falling in love with her.
When Dinah follows him to his world, she is caught up in the complex currents of Paul's life. Among the new acquaintances she makes is Paul's wife, with whom, much to Dinah's shock and dismay, Paul manages an almost perfect marriage. Their lives are intertwined with such mastery that listeners will be captivated with The Rich Are Different from the very first word to the astonishing climax.
©1977 Susan Howatch; (P)2001 Blackstone Audio Inc.
"Susan Howatch has surpassed herself. This is a mighty book." (Orlando Tribune)
"Nadia May captures the essence of the six first-person narratives [in] the story, to the point of making recognizable each character's voice as related by the others." (AudioFile)
Good book and excellent narration. After just few hours I felt that there couldn't be a more appropriate reader for this book. She is not using only accents to delimiter the characters but different tonalities as well. I didn't have any confusion whatsoever during the dialogs. I wrote this review in order to help dispelling the subjectivity introduced by some preceding reviews. Enjoy!
At first I thought this would be a long long love affair. However, the story enfolded very good.
Intrigues, deceit, murder and romance, it’s all in the story.
So after a long and slow start (which I did not mind at all), there was a thrilling mid section and then there was a surprisingly end.
Every few years one of the main figures is telling the story (more or less).
I have enjoyed it!!!
OCD over books, listening to 1 a day; ANY genre, fact & fiction. Influenced by Audible reviewers so I keep mine unbiased - FRONT to BLACK!
I prefer historical novels over fiction but this book made me a fan of Susan Howatch. I don't agree with the other reviewers about the narrator - I often buy books simply because Nadia May IS the narrator. There's no way she could give different voices to the dozens of male and female characters who come in and out of this story. The book is engaging and entertaining, holding the reader's attention throughout. Although I didn't care much for the cold-blooded golddigging 1920s "just my baby daddy" Diana Slade and even less for her weak-willed, p-whipped lovers, the author did a great job with character and plot development. I don't know about the title since these people were neither that "rich" (like the Vanderbilt or Astor rich) or so very "different" (they acted a bit ghetto/trailer trashy with the alcohol abuse, indiscriminate sex, lack of personal morals or respect for others). But this is a book you won't want to put down. I'm hooked and moving on my next Howatch novel!
I gave this one 5 because of the length and ability to keep me entertained for many hours. Nadia May is not my favorite narrator but she wasn't bad on this one.
The story seemed familiar to me and then it dawned on me that she was telling the tale of Julius Ceasar, Cleopaetra, and Mark Anthony. I haven't listened to the sequel but we know how the real story ended, don't we, especially after watching ROME on HBO.
I have always enjoyed Howatch's style of narrating the story with different first persons so you see a character not only as he or she sees himself, but how others see them.
There are two criteria for judging an audiobook:
1] Story. In this case, Susan Howatch has ingeniously reinterpreted a classic historical episode, moving it from ancient Rome to the 1920s. With the exception of the incident of how Dinah Slade met Paul van Zale, which is a bit overdone, I found the book continually interesting and well written.
2] Narrator: Nadia May is a good reader, but limited. Since, of the six persons who tell the story, only 2 are women, it would seem that either a male reader or a group of readers would have been better. Ms. May cannot do more than a single American accent (so that all the characters except Dinah sound the same), nor can she effectively drop her voice enough to sound as if she were a man. Further, there is an annoying production fault in that certain sentences are repeated at intervals throughout the book.
In spite of the above reservations, I recommend this book very much.
I believe that I would have enjoyed this novel with a narrator that could give voice to each character. Pretty much every character has the same manner of speech in this novel. Many times I had no idea who was speaking.
Book blogger at Bookwi.se
The Rich Are Different is the first of two long historical fiction books. Howatch likes alternating between multiple narrators. And in this case she alternates between the characters that are roughly Caesar, Cleopatra, Mark Antony and Augustus.
Set in the pre Wall Street crash of the late 1920s though the early days of World War II, the rich really are different in some ways. But in many ways they are not. They still have concerns, loves, loss and heartbreak. Their money does insulate them somewhat from the conventions of the day. But wealth cannot buy happiness, good marriages, healthy children, or an end to tragedy.
I was engaged throughout the book, although it does drag a bit at times. It is long, just over 700 pages, and I alternated between the audiobook and kindle book. There is a sequel that is the same length which continues the story.
The characters are not particularly lovable, which can be a bit off putting. But they are interesting. There are lots of affairs and bad relational decisions, although most of the sex is off screen. There is also a lot of fear of what others will think, which even more than the sex, impacts relationships.
I reserve full judgement until I read the second book, but I generally thought this was well worth reading, although not as good as the Starbridge series.
"Rich are different"
Thoroughly enjoyed this audiobook. I read the book many years ago and was thrilled to see it available on audiobook- just hoping they will record the sequel -Sins of the Fathers and my all time favourite - The Wheel of Fortune
"Another Susan Howatch triumph!"
Once again the author transported me. What a story teller. Her ability to weave so many characters' together into one cohesive story and from all their perspectives.
"The rich are different"
A good story but I would have preferred it read by a man as that is the character it started with
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