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Publisher's Summary

The Scarlet Letter, Nathaniel Hawthorne’s, magnum opus, tells the story of Hester Prynne, who gives birth two years after separation from her husband and is condemned to wear the scarlet letter A on her breast as punishment for her adultery. She resists all attempts of the 17th century Boston clergy to make her reveal the name of her child’s father while she struggles to create a new life of repentance and dignity.

(P)2011 Cherry Hill Publishing

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

Overall

  • 3.9 out of 5.0
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    195
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    140
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    109
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    29
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    24

Performance

  • 4.0 out of 5.0
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    130
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    86
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    25
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Story

  • 3.9 out of 5.0
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    103
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    87
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    36
  • 1 Stars
    26
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Trust Me-- Try It!

Where does The Scarlet Letter rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

This is the first audible I have listened to, and it is wonderful! The narration was great, and the plot was deep, but not beyond understanding.

What was one of the most memorable moments of The Scarlet Letter?

When the two lovers decide to leave the harsh world they face daily, and run away together.

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

I will be honest. This book would be a hard read. It is decently old, and the language can be difficult (although, as an 8th grader, I have read harder, so it isn't impossible). But, listening to it made it so that you could understand what was happening, even if you didn't understand the sentence.

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

No.

Any additional comments?

Be brave, and try it. This is my new favorite book! Even though it is old, it will have you on the edge of your seat one moment, and swept off your feet the next. It is romantic (and, in my opinion, romance is better with old English aka. Pride and Prejudice) and sometimes creepy.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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A joy to listen to

Where does The Scarlet Letter rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

This is among my top three.

What did you like best about this story?

I loved that that the story unfolds so beautifully. Although you know what is going to happen from the beginning it is very compelling and has lots of very lovely moments.

What about Ian Lynch’s performance did you like?

I think the narrator made this perfect. He uses appropriate tone, pronunciation and pacing of delivery for the period in which the novel is based. The different characters- male/female/child whilst easily differentiated are not made into an over the top performance. First class narrator.

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

Yes

Any additional comments?

There is good use of music for chapter/scene breaks.<br/>

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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  • Performance
  • Story
  • Nancy
  • Waterloo, ON, Canada
  • 11-22-12

Consider a different version

I think I would have enjoyed this audiobook more if I had purchased a different version. I wasn't very impressed with the narrator, whose voice was often inexpressive. The language was so beautiful and eloquent, but the narration seemed very amateurish. I would recommend at least listening to a sample of this version or trying to find a different version all together.

The story was a little bit hard to relate to since it takes place in a time with very different values and ideas about sin and punishment than today.

10 of 12 people found this review helpful

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  • Bryan
  • DEXTER, MO, United States
  • 09-24-12

Mediocre reading

The story itself drags on and could easily be condensed into a short story. The reader attempts to vary his pitch for various characters, but comes across grating.

6 of 7 people found this review helpful

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  • Performance
  • Story

Why do such strong women choose such weenies...

Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

Yes, because it is well done. The preformance was very good and the story was excellent. You really appreciate that we do not live in Puritan times and its double standard.

Who was your favorite character and why?

Hester She put up with a lot from a lot of very weak men and entire town of small minded people. I hate the end (spoiler alert) that she returns to the town. I feel bad that she lived her life this way when she could have had more. She certainly could have picked both a better husband and a more manly lover. The Reverand is so weak he is pathetic.

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

I have not, but I liked her work.

If you were to make a film of this book, what would be the tag line be?

Why you need to get the heck out of Puritan times.....

5 of 6 people found this review helpful

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  • Story

Fantastic reading!

Superbly read! The smooth voice of the reader, Ian, included voice changes for the characters that were not over done. His narrative style matched the historical time of this story. Just wonderful!

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Great Audiobook for Those Who Can't Stand Old English

I was required to read this book in high school but never did. I couldn't stand the way the story was written it was just so boring. So when I was required to read this for a college class, I decided to try and audiobook instead. Needless to say I was able to get to the story and I actually find it quite enjoyable. I was able to listen to it faster than I would've been able to read it. I would definitely recommend this audiobook to anyone who has to read the boring story of The Scarlet Letter.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • David
  • Concord, NC, United States
  • 09-24-12

Great book

Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

This is a great book. I recommend it and know all who read will enjoy.

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

It is very enjoyable listening.

3 of 4 people found this review helpful

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  • Performance
  • Story

Hawthorne is long winded

Would you consider the audio edition of The Scarlet Letter to be better than the print version?

Yes

Any additional comments?

Read the cliff notes to this book to fully appreciate the themes that feel like superfluous description

2 of 3 people found this review helpful

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A Classic Worth Hearing

Again Audible only offered 1-star for all three categories. I give this book 4-stars across the board i.e., Overall, Performance, and story.

There are a few of the classic fiction novels with which I was not impressed. This book is not one in which I am disappointed. It is a wonderful example of the author's masterfully skillful command of the English language and ability in writing a novel that flows effortlessly from idea to idea and from point to point from beginning to the end of the novel. I also cannot go without mentioning wonderful expansive vocabulary. His words were a treat to the ear. He describes a historically inspired story in profound details covering the era and the Puritans with full confidence in his knowledge of both. His explanation of his character's cognitive and emotive forces is wonderfully impeccable and in which I found at no time any cause for a fault on his part. I very much enjoyed the book and I am pleased I have allotted the time in my life for which to give it space to be heard.

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  • Julia
  • 05-30-17

Classic: Overly Descriptive with a Slow Plot

~It’s All Been Done Before: The difficulty in reviewing a book under the category of Classic is that it feels like everyone’s already said what needed to be said.

~The Use of Language: Nathaniel Hawthorne’s style of eloquent and descriptive language isn’t my style of writing, but the flowery language does suite the book’s style, my favourite descriptions are of the forest, the river and the brook, which take place over the couple of chapters that Pearl, Hester Prynne and Arthur Dimmesdale spend talking in the forest.

~The Lady Doth Protest Too Much: I know Pearl is supposed to come across as this creepy demon-child that only a mother could love, but I honestly didn’t think she was that weird, Pearl came across as a fairly normal child considering her upbringing (and time-period) of only spending time in the company of her mother and pretty much being scorned or ignored by everyone else. A lot of the comments of “she is such a strange child” came across as projection on Hester Prynne’s part.

~Female Protagonist Problems – Passive Character: By the research I’ve done on the book, I’m informed that Hester Prynne is considered not only a martyr but a literary heroine, but I suppose I have a very different idea of what the character arch of a feminine literary hero should be, although it could most certainly be argued that Hester Prynne is a Hero by the Greek Tragedy definition. I understand the concepts of Hester Prynne’s character that Nathaniel Hawthorne is trying to convey, that good lies in the everyday small deeds of kindness and that soft is not weak.

These are good ideas and concepts to put forward, these are things I agree with, but the problem is that Hester Prynne is never an active character, she is a passive character reacting to events occurring around her, and the moment she tries to actively steer the course of her fate, it’s all ends in tragedy. And yes, some of the reason for that is the position women like her have in society and the time period the novel is set in, but unfortunately this does make the novel pacing drag in places and it is the reason why the resolution of Hester’s character arch is so confusing, or at the least, confusing to me.

~A Product of It’s Time: I understand that, at the time this novel was written, the idea of presenting people who committed adultery as people with thoughts, feelings and that they deserved the chance to redeem themselves and to be happy, you know, humanizing them instead of demonizing them, was a radical idea. But nowadays, adultery isn’t that significant anymore, certainly not to the same extent in my experience and environment (naturally this is going to be different for different people). It serves as a time-capsule of what a select group of people in the USA used to be and how the practise of community scapegoating really doesn’t help society develop better into a more progressive community.