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  • The Downstairs Maid

  • By: Rosie Clarke
  • Narrated by: Penelope Freeman
  • Length: 15 hrs and 3 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 302
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 280
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 283

She is a servant girl... When her father becomes ill, Emily Carter finds herself sent into service at Priorsfield Manor in order to provide the family with an income. He will be the Lord of the Manor... Emily strikes up an unlikely friendship with the daughters of the house, as well as Nicolas, son of the Earl. But as the threat of war comes ever closer, she becomes even more aware of the vast differences between upstairs and downstairs, servant and master...If you like Downton Abbey you’ll love this!

  • 1 out of 5 stars
  • Some Good, Lots of Bad- Details too 'adult' for me

  • By Susan on 09-09-15

Some Good, Lots of Bad- Details too 'adult' for me

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

Reviewed: 09-09-15

Would you try another book from Rosie Clarke and/or Penelope Freeman?

From the narrator, certainly. From the author...probably not, which is such a shame because I love the general idea of the book and am always searching for books of this type. The author is clearly talented, but I can't get past the ick factor of parts of the story, and the way the book seemed to meander at midpoint. I absolutely hated all of the parts of the book that contained one particular, loathsome character. Writing villains and danger is one thing, writing long passages where the reader/listener is placed in the point of view or the villain is AWFUL in my opinion. I felt my skin crawl, as if I, myself was guilty of lusting after this innocent girl, and fooling around with another. Frankly, there was SO MUCH sexual undertone in the story that I ended up feel dirty by it, and rolling my eyes at the way the story started to dissolve and become one of endless desires with impossible obstacles.

Possibly the story redeemed itself by the end, but after listening to 2/3 of it I decided that it was not worth the icky, disturbing parts to see it through. I am about to return it. I hope this helps any of you who like a good romance but don't like things that are so explicit. Seriously, I still feel haunted and tainted by some of the villain's stream of consciousness. It was just awful. Indulgent on the part of the author to put us through it.

Has The Downstairs Maid turned you off from other books in this genre?

No, not at all. This is probably my favorite genre.

If you could play editor, what scene or scenes would you have cut from The Downstairs Maid?

All but a cursory bit of the main villain's first person point of view. And most containing him, for that matter. Too explicit, too long, to uncomfortable to listen to. The ugliness stays with you days after listening. Maybe months.

Any additional comments?

It would be wonderful if Audible gave some sense of what the listener can expect from a book in terms of explicitness, like they do for movies. That would be helpful, and it would have made me not look twice at this one.

19 of 20 people found this review helpful

  • Masquerade

  • By: Walter Satterthwait
  • Narrated by: Emily Gray
  • Length: 11 hrs and 32 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    3.5 out of 5 stars 14
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 8
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars 9

With this classy whodunit, packed with delicious wit and ironies, critically acclaimed author Walter Satterthwait transports you to the decadent world of early 1920s Paris. As you pass through gilded salons and smoke-filled saloons, you'll rub elbows with Hemingway, Picasso, Gertrude Stein, and other larger-than-life members of The Lost Generation.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Enjoyable mischief

  • By Hilary on 05-17-11

Not quite what I expected

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

Reviewed: 12-09-13

Would you try another book from Walter Satterthwait and/or Emily Gray?

I think not from Walter Satterthwait, but certainly would listen to more narration by Emily Gray. She did a great job.

How would you have changed the story to make it more enjoyable?

I enjoyed the viewpoint of the character, Jane Turner, but not really the viewpoint of her male counterpart, Phil Beaumont. I am still in shock that only one person narrated the book -- I would swear that there was a male and female narrator. I loved the female voices, but the male voice (though sounding authentically male), was jarring, in that here's a case of a British speaker putting on what they consider "the American accent." I don't know if it's a case of trying to sound like what Americans were believed to sound like in 1923, but at any rate it sounded very odd to me. Lots of emphasis on w's, r's and l's in a sort of up and down emphasis. Before I realized that there was only 1 narrator, I told my husband that I wished that they'd gotten someone different for the male parts! The story itself was just ok - and to be honest I thought that it became a bit raunchy to the point where I just stopped enjoying it and had to force myself to finish it up, and when I DID finish, I was disappointed. Be aware that there's a lot of talk about bisexualism, people having affairs, etc. and making light of it. Those characters were not very engaging, either, so you just felt like you were eavesdropping on raunchy gossip. I know that not everyone shares my dislike of bad language and/or sexual content, but in case there's someone reading this that shares my views and prefers books that are not quite as descriptive in those ways, I hope this helps. It could have definitely been MORE explicit -I don't mean to imply that it's trashy filth- it's just that I didn't expect the level that it DID have, and I thought it was too much.

What three words best describe Emily Gray’s performance?

IngeniousTalentedImpressive

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Howards End

  • By: E. M. Forster
  • Narrated by: Edward Petherbridge
  • Length: 11 hrs and 39 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 65
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 55
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 55

First published in 1910, Howards End is the novel that earned E. M. Forster recognition as a major writer. At its heart lie two families - the wealthy and business-minded Wilcoxes and the cultured and idealistic Schlegels. When the beautiful and independent Helen Schlegel begins an impetuous affair with the ardent Paul Wilcox, a series of events is sparked - some very funny, some very tragic - that results in a dispute over who will inherit Howards End, the Wilcoxes' charming country home.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Now I need a hard copy

  • By Susanne on 04-19-12

Good Story Made Great by Narrator

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

Reviewed: 06-11-13

What made the experience of listening to Howards End the most enjoyable?

I loved Edward Petherbridge's articulation and cadence. The story itself has beautiful descriptions and dialogue, but can be a bit long in places. The brilliant narration made those duller moments poetic where I think I would have skimmed them if I were reading from the page.

The story itself is a little depressing, but somehow it seemed less so when listening to it. It made a lasting impression on me.

Have you listened to any of Edward Petherbridge’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

I listened to "The Attenbury Emeralds" and have enjoyed E.P. in Masterpiece's Lord Peter Wimsey series. He is brilliant every time I listen to or watch him. This book was certainly enhanced by his excellent narration.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • A Red Herring Without Mustard

  • A Flavia de Luce Novel
  • By: Alan Bradley
  • Narrated by: Jayne Entwistle
  • Length: 10 hrs and 47 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,283
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 1,085
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,079

Award-winning author Alan Bradley returns with another beguiling novel starring the insidiously clever and unflappable 11-year-old sleuth Flavia de Luce. The precocious chemist with a passion for poisons uncovers a fresh slew of misdeeds in the hamlet of Bishop’s Lacey—mysteries involving a missing tot, a fortune-teller, and a corpse in Flavia’s own backyard.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • An excellent addition to the series!

  • By Kelli on 02-28-11

Another Great Flavia de Luce Mystery!

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

Reviewed: 06-11-13

What made the experience of listening to A Red Herring Without Mustard the most enjoyable?

I have enjoyed other books in this series, and this title was very good. I love the humor and the chemical descriptions (being a chemistry girl, myself) and I think that the character of Flavia is extremely original. This book has charm as well as drama and suspense. I especially love her descriptions of her bicycle, Gladys.

What did you like best about this story?

Charm, Humor, and the narrator is wonderful. Just the right amount of indignation and wit.

Which character – as performed by Jayne Entwistle – was your favorite?

Flavia, definitely.

Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

The end choked me up, and in a book that is mostly humorous that's not really expected. There are poignant moments that really add to the storyline.

Any additional comments?

Excited to "read" more in this series!

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • All Shall Be Well

  • By: Deborah Crombie
  • Narrated by: Michael Deehy
  • Length: 8 hrs and 30 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 409
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 346
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 347

Perhaps it is a blessing when Jasmine Dent dies in her sleep. At last an end has come to the suffering of a body horribly ravaged by disease. It may well have been suicide; she had certainly expressed her willingness to speed the inevitable. But small inconsistencies lead her neighbor, Superintendent Duncan Kincaid, to a startling conclusion: Dent was murdered. But if not for mercy, why would someone destroy a life already doomed?

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • UNIQUE MYSTERY

  • By Chalis on 05-08-13

Not my Favorite in this Series

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

Reviewed: 06-11-13

What did you like best about All Shall Be Well? What did you like least?

The narrator does a good job, and the book is well written, with good descriptions of people and places, but quite frankly I really disliked the story. There were parts that made me uncomfortable, and I didn't like the way it seemed that Kincaid was always noticing women's breasts, etc. It was thrown in often enough for it to be distracting, and he came off looking a little like a creep. I liked the first book in this series, and think I will try the next, but I should've listened to the reviews that said this title wasn't a winner.

What does Michael Deehy bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

He does a good job differentiating between the characters.

Was All Shall Be Well worth the listening time?

Honestly--no.

Any additional comments?

If you're a bit sensitive to racy material, this book will probably make you uncomfortable. It's not graphic, exactly, but it had a certain "ick" factor for me. I think it could have been handled in a better way than it was. Just my opinion, many would probably disagree but I can be a little squeamish.

6 of 7 people found this review helpful