Emily Fox-Seton is a simple but good-hearted woman struggling to make ends meet while attempting to maintain the dignity of someone distantly related to the aristocracy. The Marquis of Walderhurst is an awkward but eligible bachelor being comically pursued by a pageant of unmarried ladies. When the Marquis surprises everyone by giving his attentions to Emily, he makes himself a fairy prince in her eyes. But marrying her prince is not the end of Emily's troubles, as the forces of envy are more cunning and dangerous than she yet understands. Will Emily's innocence be her downfall after all?
(P)2005 Alcazar AudioWorks
"A wildly romantic tale whose hero and heroine are totally unromantic." (Daily Telegraph)
"Delightful....A sparky sense of humour combined with lively social commentary make this a joy to read." (Bookseller)
Having read this book quite a few times over the years, I was pleased to find it in Audible's library. My hat is off to the producers. The names of the narrators weren't included but they were fabulous. I especially liked the announcer who obviously was kidnapped from the BBC World Service. The woman who did the story narration had a lovely expressive voice. The little music clips closing the chapters were a nice touch. Burnett had a thing for India. In many ways, it became a kind of character in a number of her books including "A Little Princess", "The Secret Garden" and this title. It is a place of fantastical mystery, unknown splendor and sudden terrifying dangers, where both death and wonder lurked in shadows. As the synopsis suggested, this is an adult fairy tale. Burnett's early life was no fairy tale so her stories have a firm basis in hard reality which is appealing and believable. Who better to tell the story of Cinderella before the fairy godmother and the prince than one who has lived Cinderella's life? Emily Fox Seton struck me as a Catherine Morland ("Northanger Abbey") type of heroine with an innocent belief in the goodness of fellow human beings. It was no great surprise when Emily loved the dry, distant Lord Walderhurst enough for both. She needed someone to love; he needed a wife who would leave him in peace. I really enjoyed the way this unsophisticated woman handled herself when confronted with the attempts against her life. If I remember my Austen, I think Henry Tillney fell in love with Catherine because she was so much in love with him. In like fashion, cold, self-centered Walderhurst found himself in love with Emily because she so absolutely loved him. Is the book as good as "A Little Princess" or "The Secret Garden"? No, but most books aren't that good, yet I still manage to enjoy quite a few of them.
Not suprisingly, since this is Frances Hodges Burnette, there is a fairy tale element to this story. I have long been a fan of her children's books but had no idea she'd written a fairy tale for adults in effect! It is a fun and engaging narrative and, even though set over a hundred years ago, in Edwardian England, is suprisingly sophisticated in its psychological observations and "modern" elements in the drama. I thoroughly enjoyed it.
And I found the narration just fine. There are actually two separate narrators for the male and female voices and, while this can distract at times, it also works well at others. And I did find that the female narrator made a satisfactory distinction between the British female voices and the several American female characters. Well enough done, in my opinion to add to the story rather than detracting.
Book: This is my first book by F.H.Burnett and I enjoyed it very much. It would be easy to write it off as light without looking at the effect Emily has on the lives around her. She has the ability to transform, made more interesting as it is set in a staid period and society. The racial and gender generalizations are unsavory but the author seems to be using conventions of the time and not postulating they are accurate.
Delivery: This really detracts from the book. It is set in England, and the correct accent should be correctly applied to the proper characters. The male characters are well done but there is a tendency to "overact" the female characters which makes it sound more targeted for a child audience. This can make the story itself appear more simple than it is.
Overall, I would recommend listening as it's the only version available.
This is an engaging Edwardian story. Unfortunately, the main narrator is quite off the mark. She engages accents for the lead characters that appear devoid of any rhyme or reason. For example, only one of the women in the story is presented with a British accent, although all are clearly very English. So, as enjoyable a story as it is, be prepared, the presentation grates.
There is also some racist descriptions within the storyline, which are offputting. Probably less controversial in context of the period writing, however, still jarring in today's world.
I enjoy this kind of story, though not as a steady diet. But do yourself a favor and get the other version. The main reader here was irritating beyond belief.
Almost any English-born actress.
Only if the costumes/setting were exceptional
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