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Editorial Reviews

Charlotte Brontë's Villette follows protagonist Lucy Snowe as she bounces from one career to another. First a servant, then a teacher, the hapless Snowe is besotted by family tragedy and doomed romance. Eloquent performer Davina Porter imbues the hard-working Snowe with solemnity tinged by optimism. Indeed, as an unwed, working woman in 19th-century Europe, Snowe must struggle to define herself against the prevailing gender codes of her day. Porter, known for her painstaking attention to historical detail, captures the mannerisms and conventions of Brontë's characters, lending context and veracity to this striking case study of a Victorian woman’s prospects for love, happiness, and independence.

Publisher's Summary

Hailed as Charlotte Brontë’s “finest novel” by Virginia Woolf, Villette is the timeless semi-autobiographical tale of Lucy Snowe. Left with no family and no money, Lucy goes against her own timid nature and travels to the small city of Villette, France, where she becomes a school teacher in Madame Beck’s school for girls. During her stay, she falls in love—twice—and discovers an independent, inner strength rarely seen in women of her time.

Public Domain (P)2006 Recorded Books, LLC

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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Performance

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You need to be a Bronte fan to enjoy this story

Is there anything you would change about this book?

While I actually enjoyed this book, it is quite long. I also think you will have to be a Bronte fan to enjoy this story. There is quite a few conversations in French, and for those of us who do not speak the language that is quite a challenge.

Would you recommend Villette to your friends? Why or why not?

This is a book for audible listeners who enjoy long classical stories.

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

Davina Porter is a perfect narrator for this story. Without her excellent interpretation of the characters, it would be quite a challenge to get through the whole book.

5 of 6 people found this review helpful

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great narration !

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

She has fantastic french. She has specific voices for each character. She uses several different accents and pulls them off very well. She puts feeling and interest into her reading. I enjoyed Davina as a narrator.

8 of 10 people found this review helpful

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Too much french

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

This was a good book, however there's a lot of french in it. I can read french, but it was quite annoying to miss major plot points because they were read in french, Would have been useful, if not true to the book, to translate.

Who was your favorite character and why?

Clearly our main character- I like how she took her destiny in her own hands and went for what she wanted.

Who would you have cast as narrator instead of Davina Porter?

Noone- she's always great

7 of 9 people found this review helpful

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The Divine Ms. Porter delivers as always

A beautiful performance of Charlotte Bronte's highly under-appreciated (but best, in my opinion) work. Not just a reader who is good with dialects, Davina Porter is an *actress* who performs each book with passion, emotion, and full commitment.

4 of 5 people found this review helpful

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Wow said the male listener

I've read about six classics by women authors this year, all books that I'd managed to avoid during my formal education years. Villette is definitely my favorite. A woman without means ventures much on a trip to a destination unknown to her, without letters of introduction or even enough coin to support herself upon arrival, and makes a go of it. At least, as "a go of it" would be defined 170 years ago in England.

My only piece of advice: Probably better read, with a good French-English dictionary at your side, unless your command of spoken French is passingly adequate.

5 of 7 people found this review helpful

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I couldn't believe...

that I managed to finish this book. I couldn't believe it was finally over. I thought it would never end. It went on .. and on ... and ON ... with very little plot to boast of, and characterization alternatingly overly subtle, then hit-you-over-the-head-with-a-hammer. This book was a chore, and one I'm glad is done.

7 of 11 people found this review helpful

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Beautiful Narration, a bit long

At the 18 hour mark, I was wishing it would wrap up. I realize this is the age it was written.

2 of 3 people found this review helpful

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OK for the diehard Victorian novel enthusiast

This certainly was no Jane Austen novel. It's rather uneventful, and dreary but if you love language as I do, you may like just the sound of it and Divina Porter is the best

2 of 3 people found this review helpful

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  • Heather
  • marina del rey, CA, United States
  • 12-15-17

enjoyable relaxing story, fantastic narration

I enjoyed listening to this on my commute. A story about people nad their relationships and perceptions and growth. Simple without major drama, it was a perfect companion for driving in daily Los Angeles traffic for my commute. However the one thing that drove me nuts was that a large portion of it was spoken in FRENCH!!! I DON'T KNOW FRENCH, so I have no idea what took place in those scenes, other than a bit of inferred guessing. Why on EARTH would the book have significant plot points in a language the reader likely would not understand? WHY not translate it??????

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Charlotte Brontë's last novel

Lucy Snow possesses a Romantic temperament suspected by nobody, and she herself is its strongest critic. She has no obvious prospects or merits, save her strength and honesty. But like others, she has a heart to be wounded and affections to give. And she has intelligence that illuminates every page.

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  • Annie
  • 05-27-14

Delivery is all.

If you could sum up Villette in three words, what would they be?

This is a classic and worth reading for that alone. It also gives a social history.<br/><br/>For me it was spoilt by unenthusiastic reading and by not including a translation of some of the most important parts of the text which was, at times, in French. I have heard this done by footnote references and this would only be needed where the French is relevant to the plot etc.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful