LISTENER

Jerri C

  • 70
  • reviews
  • 566
  • helpful votes
  • 440
  • ratings
  • The Christmas Hirelings

  • By: Mary Elizabeth Braddon
  • Narrated by: Richard Armitage
  • Length: 3 hrs and 53 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2,791
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2,584
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2,560

Sir John Penlyon is planning to spend Christmas at his estate with his niece and his friend Danby, the closest thing he has to family since disowning his daughter years ago. (She eloped with the parson, who was, of course, penniless.) Danby suggests that at Christmastime the estate needs the presence of small children, and offers to find some - the “hirelings” - despite Sir John’s skepticism. Three children duly arrive, and the youngest, precocious four year-old Moppet, quickly endears herself to Sir John. 

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Recommended Feel-good Christmas Short

  • By Zoe Gill on 12-11-18

1894 Christmas story

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

Reviewed: 12-12-18

Don't expect a modern tale, this novella length story was written in 1894. Some of the concepts seem strange to the modern listener, and by modern standards the pace is a bit slow. And for those who have watched many Christmas Holiday Specials, the surprise ending is easy to guess.

However, I enjoyed the nearly 4 hours I spent listening to this tale. It is a pleasant way to get into the holiday spirit, and Richard Armitage did a fine job of reading. I might have been disappointed if I had spent a credit to buy this, but am very happy with Audible's free Holiday gift this year.

Recommended.

  • Madam, Will You Talk?

  • By: Mary Stewart
  • Narrated by: Emilia Fox
  • Length: 9 hrs and 6 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 45
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 41
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 41

It sounds idyllic: a leisurely drive through the sun-drenched landscape of Provence. But Charity's dream holiday turns into a nightmare when she becomes embroiled in a sinister plot to kidnap a young boy. She soon finds herself in a deadly pursuit and must uncover whom to trust...and whom to fall for.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • At last

  • By Mary E. Haley on 11-03-18

Romantic Suspense in Provence

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

Reviewed: 11-02-18

This is the first novel by Mary Stewart, originally published in 1955. War widow Charity Selborne is having a holiday in the south of France with her friend Louise, escaping from the English climate and the still restrictive rationing of meat and other items in post WWII England. This gave readers at the time a chance to enjoy vicariously the pleasures of the table that had been limited for years. She encounters mysterious people, a small boy and his mongrel dog in danger, and must decide for herself what to do, which side to take and how to proceed. I don't want to discuss the plot in detail, as it would be almost impossible to avoid spoilers, and for first time listeners to know the outcome would damage the journey.

Mary Stewart could be said to have reinvented the modern romantic suspense novel. She went on to write over a dozen more before changing track and reinventing the Merlin/King Arthur fantasy suspense area starting with The Crystal Cave. Her novels are always a joy to read, well written and with some engaging characters and an eye for setting that transports the reader. I am so glad that Audible seems to be re-releasing audio versions of her classic romantic suspense novels.

And Emilia Fox, whose work I have enjoyed on a number of Agatha Christie's novels, does a very fine job of translating the adventure to audio.

I look forward to more Mary Stewart releases by Audible.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • The Incident at Fives Castle

  • By: Clara Benson
  • Narrated by: Elizabeth Klett
  • Length: 7 hrs and 48 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 29
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 25
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 25

It is Hogmanay, and Angela Marchmont is at Fives Castle, the Scottish seat of the Earl of Strathmerrick, to see in the start of 1928. But when she finds out that the Foreign Secretary, the American Ambassador, and the Head of British Intelligence are also among the guests, Angela begins to suspect that something momentous is afoot. Before long, they are all snowed in and a body is discovered, and Angela soon finds suspicion directed against herself.... 

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • A mystery that kept my interest

  • By Elaine on 09-23-18

Mystery in a Scottish Castle

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

Reviewed: 09-20-18

I very much enjoy the Angela Marchmont mystery series, of pseudo-golden age detective novels. This is the fifth in the series and author Clara Benson has her characters well in hand. If you wish that Agatha Christie had written more mystery novels, this may well be the book for you. And Elizabeth Klett does a first rate job of telling the tale. The characters are distinctive, and she manages this without making any of them annoying to listen to (which some narrators do, as they try to make each character sound different.) As this is a mystery story, I don't want to give away the plot, but I can promise you a mysterious scientist who may have developed a powerful secret weapon, several politicians, missing plans, spies, young people playing jokes, mixed up lovers and more. And, of course, Angela Marchmont, a lady who travels with her pistol and is not afraid to take some chances, all for the sake of the truth and the good of the British Empire (this book is set between WWI and WWII). AND, this book can be a good companion book to the third Freddy Pilkington-Somes mystery, A Case of Conspiracy in Clerkenwell, also available from Audible. Or, read the entire series. But I find the audiobooks to be a richer experience to just reading the novel. Hopefully the rest of both book series will be made available from Audible over time.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • The Four Graces

  • Miss Buncle, Book 4
  • By: D. E. Stevenson
  • Narrated by: Karen Cass
  • Length: 7 hrs and 15 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 20
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 18
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 17

The four Grace sisters love their quiet life in the country village of Chevis Green. To some, their insular world might seem dull, but the sisters never seem to run out of conversation, jokes, and pleasant ways to pass the time together. They truly are the happiest of families. That is, until Aunt Rona comes to town. Rona intends to stay with the Graces indefinitely, and her meddlesome attitude immediately sets the sisters' teeth on edge. Throw in another unexpected houseguest, some potential suitors and a case of mistaken intentions, and the members of the Grace family suddenly find themselves quite out of their element.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Just a glimpse of Buncle

  • By Jerri C on 09-02-18

Just a glimpse of Buncle

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

Reviewed: 09-02-18

I love this delightful slice of life during WWII by D. E. Stevenson. The four Graces are the four grown up daughters of Mr. Grace, the minister of a Church of England church. One is serving in the military, one working as a land girl, the other two keeping house and assisting their father with the parish. Visitors arrive and disrupt the pattern of their lives. And being a novel by D. E. Stevenson, eventually all settles down into a new, satisfactory pattern.

This is advertised as Miss Buncle Book 4. However, the name Buncle never appears in the novel. All we see of Miss Buncle, now Mrs. Abbott, is a glimpse of her in a pew at a wedding at the beginning of the book. A major character from Miss Buncle, Book 3 does have a significant role in this book, but on the whole The Four Graces is only slightly connected to the other Buncle Books. That doesn't make it a bad book, I love it. But if you are expecting to see a lot of Barbara Buncle Abbott, you may be disappointed. I feel that the delights of Sal and Tilly and Liz and Addy Grace and their father and friends make a delightful book of their own.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Bodies from the Library

  • Lost Classic Stories by Masters of the Golden Age
  • By: Tony Medawar, Agatha Christie, Georgette Heyer, and others
  • Narrated by: Philip Bretherton
  • Length: 8 hrs and 37 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 68
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 62
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 62

This anthology of rare stories of crime and suspense brings together a selection of rare tales by masters of the Golden Age of Detective Fiction for the first time in book form, including a newly discovered Agatha Christie crime story that has not been seen since 1922. At a time when crime and thriller writing has once again overtaken the sales of general and literary fiction, Bodies from the Library unearths lost stories from the Golden Age, that period between the World Wars when detective fiction captured the public’s imagination and saw the emergence of some of the world’s cleverest and most popular storytellers.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • two stories missing

  • By Jerri C on 08-29-18

two stories missing

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

Reviewed: 08-29-18

I have enjoyed the stories I have listened to in this audiobook. But, a warning: There are two stories missing from this audiobook that are present in the print or Kindle version:

Calling James Brithwaite by Nicholas Blake

AND

Blind Man's Bluff by Ernest Brauch

10 of 10 people found this review helpful

  • The Shell Seekers

  • By: Rosamunde Pilcher
  • Narrated by: Hayley Atwell
  • Length: 19 hrs and 26 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,221
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,138
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,135

At the end of a long and useful life, Penelope Keeling's prized possession is The Shell Seekers, painted by her father and symbolizing her unconventional life, from bohemian childhood to wartime romance. When her grown children learn their grandfather's work is now worth a fortune, each has an idea as to what Penelope should do. But as she recalls the passions, tragedies, and secrets of her life, she knows there is only one answer...and it lies in her heart.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Narrator Speed

  • By TB on 01-18-18

A delight

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

Reviewed: 08-06-18

I read The Shell Seekers some years ago for a book club and enjoyed it. I was delighted to see that Audible now has many of Rosamund Pilcher's novels in audiobook format now and purchased this one first. It was even more enjoyable to listen to than it had been to read. The slower pace gave me time to enjoy the descriptions and the beauty of the prose.

A complex tale of love and art and redemption. A delight.

0 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Murder in an English Village

  • By: Jessica Ellicott
  • Narrated by: Barbara Rosenblat
  • Length: 9 hrs and 26 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 1,873
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,728
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 1,719

The year is 1920: Flying in the face of convention, legendary American adventuress Beryl Helliwell never fails to surprise and shock. The last thing her adoring public would expect is that she craves some peace and quiet. The humdrum hamlet of Walmsley Parva in the English countryside seems just the ticket. And, honestly, until America comes to its senses and repeals Prohibition, Beryl has no intention of returning stateside and subjecting herself to bathtub gin.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Can't Wait For Next Book

  • By Sally W. Harris on 05-22-18

Cozy English Village equals murder

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

Reviewed: 08-06-18

This is a better than normal murder in an English Village just after the war mystery. The two old school chums, ladies now of a "certain age" who haven't seen each other for years, meet again more or less by chance and end up solving a mystery together play well against each other as fictional characters. One a brash American who has traveled the world and seen life, the other lived a more conservative life in the same village after returning from school, but working for the war effort. Add a lovable little dog, and what more can one want for the start of a series.

I won't give away the plot, but Land Girls, fast cars, movie theaters and more figure in the puzzle. The narration by Barbara Rosenblat worked well, and I will be looking forward to the next entry in the series, expected out soon.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • A Case of Conspiracy in Clerkenwell

  • A Freddy Pilkington-Soames Adventure, Book 3
  • By: Clara Benson
  • Narrated by: Gethyn Edwards
  • Length: 6 hrs and 41 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 29
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 28
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 28

The ladies of Clerkenwell Central Hall are none too pleased at having their temperance meetings disrupted by the rowdy communists next door, but for Miss Olive Stapleton in particular, the uneasy coexistence proves fatal when she is found stabbed through the heart with a paper knife. Enter Freddy Pilkington-Soames, who’s been recruited by British Intelligence to investigate a suspected communist plot to stir up a general strike. Freddy thinks there’s more to Miss Stapleton’s death than meets the eye, but as he delves more deeply into the mystery, it only becomes more puzzling. 

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Freddy rides again

  • By Jerri C on 06-01-18

Freddy rides again

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

Reviewed: 06-01-18

Another fun romp of detection for Freddy. If you haven't read Freddy's previous adventures, this book should still stand alone just fine. But if you have, you will be delighted to meet Freddy again. This book also has a direct link to the 5th Angela Marchbank mystery, The Incident at Fives Castle.

We have mysterious Communist activities, a group of women promoting non-drinking, several pretty young women and lots of silly and/or self important young men. Readers of P. G. Wodehouse will recognize the type shown in Freddy and his friends as they would have fit in perfectly at the Drones Club with Bertie Wooster and buddies. This between WWI and WWII English mystery novel is a fun listen. Gethyn Edwards does a fine job with the various characters and the spirit of the book.

Highly recommended.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • The Young Clementina

  • By: D. E. Stevenson
  • Narrated by: Karen Cass
  • Length: 10 hrs
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars 31
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 28
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars 26

Charlotte Dean enjoys nothing more than the solitude of her London flat and the monotonous days of her work at a travel bookshop. But when her younger sister unceremoniously bursts into her quiet life one afternoon, Charlotte's world turns topsy-turvy. Beloved author D. E. Stevenson captures the intricacies of post-World War I England with a light, comic touch that perfectly embodies the spirit of the time. Alternatively heartbreaking and witty, The Young Clementina is a touching tale of love, loss and redemption through friendship.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Miss Dean's Dilemma

  • By Jerri C on 05-02-18

Miss Dean's Dilemma

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

Reviewed: 05-02-18

The original US title of this novel was Miss Dean's Dilemma, which I feel fits the book better than The Young Clementina. It is one of the more challenging of D. E. Stevenson's novels, dealing with some complex issues, including Shell Shock (what World War I called what is now referred to as Traumatic Stress Syndrome or other names), divorce, etc.

But, all in all, it is the story of Charlotte Dean and her niece Clementina, two brave and honorable young women doing the best that they can to deal with some difficult situations.

And, as in all of D. E. Stevenson's novels, the result is a happy ending.

I had never before listened to anything read by Karen Cass, but I feel that she did a very outstanding job of giving a voice to this challenging and fulfilling novel.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Children of Chance

  • A Mountjoy Novel
  • By: Elizabeth Aston
  • Narrated by: Dawn Murphy
  • Length: 10 hrs and 36 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 32
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 26
  • Story
    3.5 out of 5 stars 27

Groom, best man, guests, even a bishop - but where is the bride? An orphan fresh out of convent school, Prue Pagan has no home and nowhere to go. Then a chance meeting with her worldly-wise friend Cleo lands her a summer job in the north of England at Mountjoy Castle, where generations of the Mountjoy family have loved, lusted, and scandalised their neighbours. Prue's innocence is no protection against the wickedness of the English upper classes.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Pru's life has dramatic changes

  • By Kindle Customer on 03-03-16

disappointment

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

Reviewed: 03-25-18

I had read all of this author's works under their other name (Elizabeth Edmondson) and enjoyed them, so was very much looking forward to her works using the Aston name, and the Mountjoy series seemed a good place to start. The novel started off well enough, but it went in a direction that I found distasteful. I will not be reading or listening to any more of the Mountjoy series. Dawn Murphy did an acceptable job of reading the story, but I disliked what she was given to read.

The main character, Prue, made some life choices that were both out of character as she was shown in the beginning of the novel and that were distasteful to me personally.

1 of 2 people found this review helpful