We are currently making improvements to the Audible site. In an effort to enhance the accessibility experience for our customers, we have created a page to more easily navigate the new experience, available at the web address www.audible.com/access .
A Great and Terrible Beauty Audiobook
A Great and Terrible Beauty
Written by: 
Libba Bray
Narrated by: 
Josephine Bailey
A Great and Terrible Beauty Audiobook

A Great and Terrible Beauty

Regular Price:$23.93
  • Membership Details:
    • First book free with 30-day trial
    • $14.95/month thereafter for your choice of 1 new book each month
    • Cancel easily anytime
    • Exchange books you don't like
    • All selected books are yours to keep, even if you cancel
  • - or -

Publisher's Summary

It's 1895, and after the suicide of her mother, 16-year-old Gemma Doyle is shipped off from the life she knows in India to Spence, a proper boarding school in England. Lonely, guilt-ridden, and prone to visions of the future that have an uncomfortable habit of coming true, Gemma's reception there is a chilly one. To make things worse, she's been followed by a mysterious young Indian man, a man sent to watch her. But why? What is her destiny? And what will her entanglement with Spence's most powerful girls, and their foray into the spiritual world, lead to?

©2003 Libba Bray; (P)2004 Random House, Inc. Listening Library, an imprint of the Random House Audio Publishing Group

What the Critics Say

"A delicious, elegant gothic." (Publishers Weekly)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.0 (464 )
5 star
 (188)
4 star
 (139)
3 star
 (88)
2 star
 (34)
1 star
 (15)
Overall
4.0 (256 )
5 star
 (106)
4 star
 (74)
3 star
 (50)
2 star
 (15)
1 star
 (11)
Story
4.3 (257 )
5 star
 (132)
4 star
 (81)
3 star
 (34)
2 star
 (4)
1 star
 (6)
Performance
Sort by:
  •  
    Beverly Horn Lake, MS, USA 02-04-06
    Beverly Horn Lake, MS, USA 02-04-06
    HELPFUL VOTES
    8
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    7
    1
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    0
    Overall
    "More Details, please!"

    Libba Bray gives us a strong, determined heroine in this gothic fantasy/mystery. Gemma seldom shrinks from bullies, a challenge, or her own desires, and this is refreshing, especially so in a young woman in an 1895 setting. Quite a nice departure from most angst-ridden teens. Not all of Gemma's friends are likeable, but she does the best with what she has.

    What I found lacking was a sense of place and flow. Characters drive this novel, but the settings deserved more detail, and action often takes leaps that leave gaps in the imagination, making it hard to follow, especially towards the end. Younger readers may appreciate the fast flow but it can be frustrating to an adult.

    Josephine Bailey as narrator sparkles. If only all readers were so talented! Her voices are singular and easy to recognize, despite Felicity's voice slipping into a Gilligan's Island Mrs. Howell in the beginning. Overall she's a joy to listen to.

    Ms. Bray's portrayal of Victorian society and its expectations on girls is both honest and rebellious and strikes a modern chord that in too many instances still plays today. This novel does much to underline this without detracting from the story whatsoever, showing the personal implications for each girl rather than preaching.

    Four stars for being an easy listen, good historical depiction, strong characters, and appropriate for the intended audience.



    8 of 8 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jennifer austin, TX, United States 02-20-09
    Jennifer austin, TX, United States 02-20-09 Member Since 2015
    HELPFUL VOTES
    363
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    155
    65
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    16
    3
    Overall
    "A Great and Wonderful Book"

    Libba Bray's first in the Jemma Doyle series, A Great and Terrible Beauty is a journey well worth taking. I would never recommend this book to a guy, but for the rest of us, we've all felt like Jemma sometimes. That's the beauty of the book- yes, it's set in Victorian England and, yes, part of it takes place in a magical otherworld called the Realms, but still, Jemma and all her struggles and friends and enemies and frienemies feel real. This book concludes its narrative, but still leaves open a number of questions so that the sequel is very desirable. Even if it hadn't left open the major snare that gets you into the next book, you'd still want to go on. The world created, the characters introduced, and the relationships just starting to burgen in this book are developed more in the following ones. Well worth the read even if you aren't going on to the next, but with such a great author brilliant narrator, and compelling story, why wouldn't you. I'm still hoping for a fourth book.

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Nicki Tracy, CA, USA 11-18-04
    Nicki Tracy, CA, USA 11-18-04
    HELPFUL VOTES
    9
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    5
    4
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    0
    Overall
    "A Great Narrator, an Acceptable Book"

    A somewhat predictable gothic/fantasy book. Gemma receives her wish to leave India for England when her mother is mysteriously killed on Gemma's 16th birthday. Gemma is shipped off to boarding school in England. There she must gain the acceptance of her schoolmates, solve the mystery of mother's death, and learn to deal with her "powers". An interesting look into social mores of the Victorian era.

    Certainly not the best written book I have listened to, but the narrator was what made this such an enjoyable listen. She did a delightful job of capturing the personality of the characters, and managed to make each sound distinctly different. She kept my attention more than the story line did!

    8 of 9 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Bee United States 08-30-12
    Bee United States 08-30-12 Member Since 2015

    Just a book fool.

    HELPFUL VOTES
    286
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    125
    76
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    132
    1
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "BORING."
    Any additional comments?

    This book was long, disconnected, and really freaking DULL! I didn't like the characters therefore I didn't give a flying flip what happened to them. I don't recommend the audio version of this and not because the narrator was bad (she was quite good) but because you should get it from the library so you can abandon it after it bores you to death.

    With all that said I have friends that gave this book 4 stars so please read at your own risk.

    5 of 7 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Llizzzie KaohsiungChina 07-06-09
    Llizzzie KaohsiungChina 07-06-09
    HELPFUL VOTES
    22
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    16
    6
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    0
    Overall
    "Certainly Great Reading!!"

    I know some people would not enjoy this book because it's mostly not what they 've been expecting. At first, I was sort of dissapointed, even feel bored, but then things started to get real exciting in the end. To read this book, you have to have patience and maturity, and you'll find it valuable. Really great book, great narration too.

    4 of 6 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Virginia Tucson, AZ 11-11-04
    Virginia Tucson, AZ 11-11-04 Member Since 2016
    HELPFUL VOTES
    89
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    52
    22
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    1
    0
    Overall
    "Victorian page-turner"

    This book may be classified as Young Adult fiction but don?t let that stop you. It?s an intriguing, well-crafted story that will monopolize the time of anyone who enjoys the Victorian era, magic, life lessons, and complex characters. The author has perfectly captured the essence of sixteen-year-old girls, but there are no stereotypes here. The narrator manages to give each of the girls a distinctive voice ? and there are quite a few of them. I would recommend the book on the narrator?s performance alone.

    5 of 9 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Vicki NATICK, MA, USA 09-15-04
    Vicki NATICK, MA, USA 09-15-04
    HELPFUL VOTES
    45
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    7
    5
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    0
    Overall
    "A GREAT AND TERRIBLE BORE"

    I just discovered that this is a book classified for young adults, which may explain why an actual adult found the story dull and derivative. Gemma Doyle, a 16 year old living in India, is sent to boarding school in England after the untimely death of her mother. There she wins over her snobby classmates when she discovers she has secret powers which enable her to transport her friends to the "Realms," a supernatural world. Unfortunately, when Gemma takes the magic of the Realms back to the real world, trouble ensues. Lots of better choices if you like this type of novel. The narrator does an adequate job.

    10 of 19 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Stacy 07-09-16
    Stacy 07-09-16 Member Since 2015
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    1
    1
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "A true instrument of escapism."

    Libba Bray is remarkable in her ability to combine authentic characters, emotions and settings. Showing us an England that sees it's young, well bred women as commodities. Making it easy to really "feel" with the characters when they make decisions they believe to be scandalous. Toss in a bit of magic and the mystery of the realms and you soon find yourself unable to put the book down. If your looking to be whisked away by your imagination this book is just the vehicle you need. Hint:: At the end of the book, Ms. Bray tells a bit of the process of how the book came about - it's worth a listen either before you read A Great and Terrible Beauty or after.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    elizabeth O'Dowd 06-07-16 Member Since 2015
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    2
    1
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "The narrator is truly fantastic"

    i loved this book when I read it years ago, but listening to it was almost better. The narrator does a fantastic job of giving all the characters, male and female unique, yet realistic voices. She made listening very enjoyable and if you space out for a second, you can still figure out who's speaking without context.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    pinkcoffeecake 12-23-15 Member Since 2014
    HELPFUL VOTES
    14
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    46
    25
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    0
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Mysterious"
    What made the experience of listening to A Great and Terrible Beauty the most enjoyable?

    Libba Bray does a fantastic job with this feminist magical novel. The best thing about this novel is how the girls start to discover that life is so much more than finding a good match.


    Which character – as performed by Josephine Bailey – was your favorite?

    Felicity has a marvelous voice. It really brought the character to life.


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

    I did like to take small breaks in between the chapters


    Any additional comments?

    This book is meant for young adult readers. I do no recommend for anyone under 14

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

Report Inappropriate Content

If you find this review inappropriate and think it should be removed from our site, let us know. This report will be reviewed by Audible and we will take appropriate action.

Cancel

Thank you.

Your report has been received. It will be reviewed by Audible and we will take appropriate action.