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Wren

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  • reviews
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  • The Diary of Samuel Pepys

  • The BBC Radio 4 Full-Cast Dramatisation
  • By: Samuel Pepys, Hattie Naylor
  • Narrated by: Kris Marshall, Katherine Jakeways, Full Cast
  • Length: 12 hrs and 14 mins
  • Original Recording
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 84
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 78
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 76

Kris Marshall and Katherine Jakeways star as Mr & Mrs Pepys in this BBC Radio 4 dramatisation of the world famous diaries. Samuel Pepys was 26 when he decided to start keeping a diary, in January 1660. For the next 10 years he faithfully recorded the day's events and confessed his innermost thoughts. That diary has since become one of our most important, and fascinating, historical documents. Pepys gave us eyewitness accounts of some of the great events of the 17th century, including the Great Fire of London and the Second Dutch War.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Get Lost in Another Time

  • By C.P.G. on 01-12-16

Exquisite Dramatization

Overall
5 out of 5 stars
Performance
5 out of 5 stars
Story
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 12-28-18

I've read Pepys' entries now an again over the years. This dramatization with music, ambient noises, and other players interspersed with his quotes is wonderful. So lively and a delight to listen to.

  • Bella Poldark: A Novel of Cornwall 1818-1820

  • Poldark, Book 12
  • By: Winston Graham
  • Narrated by: Oliver J. Hembrough
  • Length: 20 hrs and 18 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars 390
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 360
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars 355

Cornwall, 1818. We continue the tale of Ross and Demelza; of the wayward Valentine Warleggan, whose existence keeps open the old wounds of the feud between Ross and George; of Bella, the Poldarks' youngest daughter, whose precocious talent as a singer is encouraged by her old flame, Christopher Havergal, and by a distinguished French conductor who has more in mind than Bella's music; of Clowance, the Poldarks' widowed daughter, who considers remarriage to one of two rival suitors; and of a murderer who stalks the villages of West Cornwall.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Sad that it’s over, but so satisfied!

  • By @trentonwalker on 05-13-18

Wonderful 💕 Exciting Wrap to a Beloved Series

Overall
5 out of 5 stars
Performance
5 out of 5 stars
Story
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 09-01-18

Tears, Fears, and many Joys. I can't help but wonder what else might have been in Winston Graham's wonderful mind in years ahead for these characters who live themselves out of the pages. Still. It's a nice stopping place.

  • Mustard Seed

  • By: Laila Ibrahim
  • Narrated by: Bahni Turpin
  • Length: 9 hrs and 17 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,286
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,117
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,110

Oberlin, Ohio, 1868. Lisbeth Johnson was born into privilege in the antebellum South. Jordan Freedman was born a slave to Mattie, Lisbeth's beloved nurse. The women have an unlikely bond deeper than friendship. Three years after the Civil War, Lisbeth and Mattie are tending their homes and families while Jordan, an aspiring suffragette, teaches at an integrated school. When Lisbeth discovers that her father is dying, she's summoned back to the Virginia plantation where she grew up.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Part TWO

  • By Dorothy on 04-16-18

Dialog Too Modern, Annoying Narration

Overall
3 out of 5 stars
Performance
2 out of 5 stars
Story
3 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 06-03-18

Really had to struggle get through this listen.
The story is nice overall, but has some real flaws. The 2 main characters are entirely too modern in how they express themselves, most especially when speaking to children. And, no children do not need to be spoken down to, but the vocabulary should not be identical to a discussion with another well educated adult.
I found it extremely distracting.
The narration was highly irritating to me. While I know her to be a fine actor, the dialog was so grating, none more than the lisping child character, Sadie. Part of my feeling of annoyance was how the far too idealistic and entitled main character was written, but also how she and others spoke with odd pauses and stilted, mechanical intonations. On the plus side, she used a range of good southern dialects, and had believable tone and timbre distinctions between men, women, girls, and boys, privileged and emotionally scarred.
Not recommended, but it was okay.

  • A Desperate Fortune

  • By: Susanna Kearsley
  • Narrated by: Katherine Kellgren
  • Length: 15 hrs and 42 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,842
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,676
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,680

For nearly 300 years, the cryptic journal of Mary Dundas has kept its secrets. Now, amateur codebreaker Sara Thomas travels to Paris to crack the cipher.... Jacobite exile Mary Dundas is filled with longing - for freedom, for adventure, for the family she lost. When fate opens the door, Mary dares to set her foot on a path far more surprising and dangerous than she ever could have dreamed.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Sublime

  • By Nancy Lindquist on 10-11-16

Excellent performance & intelligent intrigue

Overall
5 out of 5 stars
Performance
5 out of 5 stars
Story
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 05-18-18

Really enjoyed the research aspect of this story as well as the atypical personality, including disability of one of the dual main characters. Great modern romance story and a mirroring historical love interest. Modern Jacobite sympathizers and anyone who is interested in intelligent, original plotlines should enjoy Ms Kearsley's tale. The narrator is also a jewel, with a unique sound and delivery. Really enjoyed her performance. Wonderful range of dialects and accents lend interest to this Brit/Franco/Scots setting.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Howards End

  • By: E. M. Forster
  • Narrated by: Steven Crossley
  • Length: 11 hrs and 51 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 149
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 137
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 133

Howards End is a beautifully subtle tale of two very different families brought together by an unusual event. The Schlegels are intellectuals, devotees of art and literature. The Wilcoxes are practical and materialistic, leading lives of "telegrams and anger". When the elder Mrs. Wilcox dies and her family discovers she has left their country home - Howards End - to one of the Schlegel sisters, a crisis between the two families is precipitated that takes years to resolve.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Fantastic Narration in Delightful Story

  • By Wren on 05-05-18

Fantastic Narration in Delightful Story

Overall
5 out of 5 stars
Performance
5 out of 5 stars
Story
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 05-05-18

If you are a true fan of E M Forster or the Merchant Ivory dramatizations of his works, or the most recent Starz mini series, this book is for you. With great subtlety and the pace that pre-1930 novels enjoyed, Forster fleshes his characters' worlds artfully. This is one of those literary works that brings alive so perfectly the period in which it was written in a way that is relatable. The Schlegel family is the new artistic rather radically minded siblings that are at the heart of the story. The Wilcoxes represent the old guard with whom they have chance acquaintance.
Steven Crossley's distinguished performance perfectly relates all points of view with multiple intonations, dialects, and pacing essential to the setting. I listened carefully to samples of other readings and his was by far superior. Even with feminine main characters, his narration supplies full nuance.
Recommended.

7 of 7 people found this review helpful

  • The Stranger from the Sea

  • A Novel of Cornwall 1810-1811: Poldark, Book 8
  • By: Winston Graham
  • Narrated by: Oliver J. Hembrough
  • Length: 14 hrs and 43 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 501
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 462
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 458

The Stranger from the Sea is the eighth novel in Winston Graham's sweeping series of Cornwall, Poldark. Cornwall, 1810. The Poldark family awaits the return of Ross from his mission to Wellington's army in Portugal. But their ordered existence ends with Jeremy Poldark's dramatic rescue of the stranger from the sea. Stephen Carrington's arrival in the Poldark household changes all their lives.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Where are all the Poldark books

  • By Sharon on 12-11-16

Premium entertainment, writing, & performance

Overall
5 out of 5 stars
Performance
5 out of 5 stars
Story
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 02-26-18

Continued excellence from Oliver Hembrough reading the captivating tales of Winston Graham's Poldark family adventures.

  • Into the Wilderness

  • A Novel
  • By: Sara Donati
  • Narrated by: Kate Reading
  • Length: 30 hrs and 13 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 3,508
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2,985
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2,988

Weaving a vibrant tapestry of fact and fiction, Into the Wilderness sweeps us into another time and place...and into the heart of a forbidden, incandescent affair between a spinster Englishwoman and an American frontiersman. Here is an epic of romance and history that will captivate readers from the start.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Wonderful surprise

  • By I like to shop on 04-26-16

Wonderful Story & Great Performance

Overall
5 out of 5 stars
Performance
5 out of 5 stars
Story
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 09-12-17

A really good listen! I love nice long stories with involved plots and fleshed out characters. Very recommended. #Outlander fans will find a nice surprise in here!

  • A Matter of Grave Concern

  • By: Brenda Novak
  • Narrated by: Michael Page
  • Length: 10 hrs and 25 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 187
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 161
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 162

When Maximillian Wilder hides his noble identity and joins the notorious body snatchers known as the London Supply Company, the last thing on his mind is love. He’s worried about Madeline, his vanished half sister, who was last seen in the company of Jack Hurtsill, the gang’s conscienceless leader. Raiding graveyards, stealing corpses, and selling them to medical colleges as dissection material is dirty work, but Max knows he must gain Jack’s trust.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • EXCELLENT!!!

  • By Felicia Johnson on 04-12-16

Great Story and Interesting Setting

Overall
5 out of 5 stars
Performance
5 out of 5 stars
Story
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 08-25-17

Great Narration with interesting setting. Very nice romantic mystery. Recommended to those who enjoy historical mysteries and romance. Warning: Some rather explicit passages.

  • See What I Have Done

  • By: Sarah Schmidt
  • Narrated by: Jennifer Woodward, Erin Hunter, Garrick Hagon
  • Length: 9 hrs and 44 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    3.5 out of 5 stars 153
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 143
  • Story
    3.5 out of 5 stars 143

In this riveting debut novel, See What I Have Done, Sarah Schmidt recasts one of the most fascinating murder cases of all time into an intimate story of a volatile household and a family devoid of love. On the morning of August 4, 1892, Lizzie Borden calls out to her maid, "Someone's killed Father." The brutal ax murder of Andrew and Abby Borden in their home in Fall River, Massachusetts, leaves little evidence and many unanswered questions.

  • 2 out of 5 stars
  • Rambling saved by narrators.

  • By Allison Smith on 08-07-17

Very Weird Writing, Characters Too Similar

Overall
1 out of 5 stars
Performance
1 out of 5 stars
Story
1 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 08-23-17

Very weird prose. It seems more like a college exercise with odd repetitions and everyone putting macabre things in their mouth. Really hated this story. The acting so so. Not recommended at All.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Cherringham - A Cosy Crime Series Compilation

  • Cherringham 16-18
  • By: Matthew Costello, Neil Richards
  • Narrated by: Neil Dudgeon
  • Length: 7 hrs and 52 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,308
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 1,181
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,165

The Last Puzzle: When amiable old village eccentric Quentin Andrews dies, the good folk of Cherringham are astonished at the crowd that turns up to his funeral. But even more astonished are the beneficiaries of his will: Quentin has left a veritable fortune to whomever is the first who can solve an intricate 'Cherringham crossword'. That puzzle is only the first of many that Jack and Sarah will uncover as they follow the treasure hunt for clues and learn the truth about who Quentin Andrews really was.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Waiting for Episodes 19 - xx in English!

  • By MMinSouthernCA on 09-25-17

Absolutely Love This Series

Overall
5 out of 5 stars
Performance
5 out of 5 stars
Story
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 08-19-17

Another set of treats! The three mini mysteries in one volume with perfect narration by Neil Dudgeon will keep you listening. I really enjoy these cottage mysteries. Please keep them coming.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful