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  • 35
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  • 17
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  • The English Novel

  • By: Timothy Spurgin, The Great Courses
  • Narrated by: Timothy Spurgin
  • Length: 12 hrs and 28 mins
  • Original Recording
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 85
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 76
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 75

Who can imagine life without novels? They have served not merely as diversions but as companions for so much of our lives, offering hours of pleasure and, at their best, insights few of us can ever quantify. But the simple joy of reading novels sometimes obscures our awareness of the deeper roles they play in our lives: honing our intellect, quenching our emotional thirsts, and shaping our sense of ourselves and of the world we live in.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Loved My First Course!

  • By Emily on 07-11-16

Informative and enjoyable!

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

Reviewed: 07-23-16

Have you listened to any of Professor Timothy Spurgin’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

I haven't listened, but enjoyed his lecture so much....has a pleasant voice. Will definitely search out other lectures by him.

Any additional comments?

Wish I could actually be in the classroom to ask questions! Had questions about these authors' other works, other authors of the period, etc., but the lecture has spurred me to do my own research and followup on topics that interest me. Expanded my "to read" list by many works, ha!

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Demelza

  • A Novel of Cornwall, 1788-1790
  • By: Winston Graham
  • Narrated by: Clare Corbett
  • Length: 14 hrs and 27 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,101
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 998
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 998

An impoverished miner's daughter, Demelza Carne is now married to Ross Poldark, who once rescued her from a fairground brawl. Her efforts to adapt to the ways of the gentry - and her husband - place her in hilarious and embarrassing situations, through which she becomes self-assured, mannered, and lovely, and the birth of her first child brings a joy she never experienced before.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • THE POLDARK SAGA...CONTINUED...

  • By Janna Wong Healy on 09-11-15

Very satisfying, well-told story

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

Reviewed: 11-02-15

What about Clare Corbett’s performance did you like?

Clare Corbett did a fabulous job. The voices she used for the different characters were wonderful. I'm an American, so can't comment on the accuracy of the different dialects, but characters were consistent within the story and she even did a great job with the male characters and the children, not distracting at all. Will seek our her as a narrator again.

  • Voyager

  • By: Diana Gabaldon
  • Narrated by: Davina Porter
  • Length: 43 hrs and 46 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 24,172
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 19,891
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 19,860

Set in the intriguing Scotland of 200 years ago, the third installment in the romantic adventures of Jamie and Claire is as compelling as the first. Now that Claire knows Jamie survived the slaughter at Culloden, she is faced with the most difficult decision of her life. She aches to travel back through time again to find the love of her life, but, in order to do that, she must leave their daughter behind.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • My favorite Gabaldon book

  • By Karen on 12-09-09

Love this narrator

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

Reviewed: 04-26-15

Any additional comments?

Davina Porter does such a good job with these books. Don't know if I would have "read" the Outlander books if not for their availability on Audible. The story is really fun, but occasionally the writing is a bit of a slog...I skimmed the first book in print. But Ms. Porter's narration, the accents and voices for the characters, the pace of her reading - just exceptional. Makes the books so much fun to listen to...sometimes when listening I just can't "put the book down!"

  • Madame Bovary

  • By: Gustave Flaubert
  • Narrated by: Juliet Stevenson
  • Length: 14 hrs and 14 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 384
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 348
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 346

In Madame Bovary, one of the great novels of 19th-century France, Flaubert draws a deeply felt and sympathetic portrait of a woman who, having married a country doctor and found herself unhappy with a rural, genteel existence, longs for love and excitement. However, her aspirations and her desires to escape only bring her further disappointment and eventually lead to unexpected, painful consequences. Flaubert’s critical portrait of bourgeois provincial life remains as powerful as ever

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • It's such a 19th century classic.

  • By inbar on 03-28-16

Excellent narrator, beautiful writing

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

Reviewed: 06-11-14

Would you listen to Madame Bovary again? Why?

Yes, parts.

Which character – as performed by Juliet Stevenson – was your favorite?

Juliet Stevenson is such an excellent narrator. Her readings are at a perfect pace and her character interpretations are always wonderful. Ms. Stevenson's understanding of the text and intelligence make listening a joy. I become so lost in the characters she portrays that I forget it is one person reading! Can't say Emma Bovary is a favorite character, but her self-centeredness and vacuousness come through in the dialogue as read by the narrator.

Any additional comments?

I can understand why this novel is so well known. The writing (and this translation) draw you in. But the characters are not sympathetic and I don't understand why Emma Bovary is so empty and why she expresses no remorse at the end of the novel. I feel for her clueless husband and especially for her daughter Berthe.

29 of 31 people found this review helpful

  • The Tenant of Wildfell Hall

  • By: Anne Brontë
  • Narrated by: Alex Jennings, Jenny Agutter
  • Length: 16 hrs and 21 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 261
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 192
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 194

The story of a woman's struggle for independence from an abusive husband. Helen 'Graham' has returned to Wildfell Hall in flight from a disastrous marriage and to protect her young son from the influence of his father. Exiled to the desolate moorland mansion, she adopts an assumed name and earns her living as a painter. Gilbert Markham, a local man intrigued by the beautiful young 'widow' offers his friendship but becomes distrustful when her reclusive behaviour sparks rumours and speculation.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • My favorite Bronte book

  • By Carole T. on 03-04-12

Another Bronte favorite

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

Reviewed: 05-22-14

Who was your favorite character and why?

Gilbert Markham, a very human hero, for his acceptance and support of Mrs. Graham and her young son in spite of the community's turning against her, and for his patience.

Which character – as performed by Alex Jennings and Jenny Agutter – was your favorite?

Alex Jennings as Gilbert Markham. Mr. Jennings was a wonderful narrator. Until The Tenant of Wildfell Hall, I had only listened to books with female narrators, and, I have to admit, I wasn't sure if I would like a male narrator speaking the female dialogue. But his voicing of the female roles, even Helen Graham, was subtle and well-done.

Jenny Agutter's narration of Helen Graham's letters in the middle of the book was just fine, but she didn't distinguish between the characters as much as Mr. Jennings, and sometimes her narration was just slightly clunky, thought still very fine once I got used to it and when I was immersed in the story. If just Mr. Jennings had narrated, I would have given the performance 5 stars.

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

No - too long for that!

Any additional comments?

I've read The Tenant of Wildfell Hall and the BBC adaptation is one of my favorites, so I looked forward to listening. I hadn't remembered the way the BBC series departed from the original story, and not having read the novel for a number of years, the audiobook was almost new to me in parts! This is another great audiobook - recommend it to fans of the Bronte's novels.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • North and South

  • By: Elizabeth Gaskell
  • Narrated by: Juliet Stevenson
  • Length: 18 hrs and 20 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2,853
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2,461
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2,477

Written at the request of Charles Dickens, North and South is a book about rebellion that poses fundamental questions about the nature of social authority and obedience. Gaskell expertly blends individual feeling with social concern and her heroine, Margaret Hale, is one of the most original creations of Victorian literature. When Margaret Hale's father leaves the Church in a crisis of conscience she is forced to leave her comfortable home in the tranquil countryside of Hampshire....

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Delightful

  • By Sally on 01-04-10

I've been spoiled by Juliet Stevenson's narration

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

Reviewed: 03-17-14

Where does North and South rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

Have only listened to a few audiobooks. This ranks second, after Middlemarch.

What did you like best about this story?

The setting of the story in an early industrial town. The friendships between different classes of people. The growth of the main characters. This novel seems a little more mannered than some of the others I've read dating to the period, but still soooo good.

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

Have also listened to MIddlemarch and Mansfield Park by Juliet Stevenson. I can't say enough good things about her narration. Her intelligence and understanding of the text shines through in her narration. Her phrasing actually helps me to understand any of the more challenging sections, things I might have missed if reading (I actually like to follow along in the book or on my ereader sometimes). Her voice is beautiful, her accents understandable (don't know how accurate they are), her pacing, character interpretations, etc., are just wonderful.

Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

Margaret's return to Helstone mirrored feelings I had when returning during my twenties to the place where I grew up.

Any additional comments?

Great story, will "read" more Elizabeth Gaskell.

1 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Middlemarch

  • By: George Eliot
  • Narrated by: Juliet Stevenson
  • Length: 35 hrs and 38 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 3,009
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2,754
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2,736

Dorothea Brooke is an ardent idealist who represses her vivacity and intelligence for the cold, theological pedant Casaubon. One man understands her true nature: the artist Will Ladislaw. But how can love triumph against her sense of duty and Casaubon’s mean spirit? Meanwhile, in the little world of Middlemarch, the broader world is mirrored: the world of politics, social change, and reforms, as well as betrayal, greed, blackmail, ambition, and disappointment.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Best Audible book ever

  • By Molly-o on 12-25-11

Excellent performance

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

Reviewed: 02-25-14

What made the experience of listening to Middlemarch the most enjoyable?

Juliet Stevenson is an excellent narrator. Her pace was just right and her portrayal of the various characters, male and female, was superb. Would search out other audiobooks just for her narration.

Which scene was your favorite?

Am about 3/4 of the way through, don't have a favorite scene yet.

Any additional comments?

Middlemarch has been on my "to read" list for a long time. Have also wanted to see the BBC adaptation, but wanted to wait and read the book first. Listening has been a great experience because of the story and the narrator. Wish I knew more about the history/politics of the setting, which I might have gotten through the notes when reading the book, but have understood enough to enjoy the story. Will go back and research later. Have been surprised at how funny some of George Eliot's dialogue is.

1 of 2 people found this review helpful