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Publisher's Summary

It is Amory's photographer uncle, Greville, who gives her a camera and some rudimentary lessons in photography and unleashes a passion that will irrevocably shape her future.

Her search for life, love and artistic expression will take her to the demimonde of Berlin of the late '20s, to New York of the '30s, to the Blackshirt riots in London and to France in the Second World War, where she becomes one of the first women war photographers.

©2015 William Boyd (P)2015 W F Howes Ltd

Critic Reviews

"Serious, provocative, intelligent, Boyd's writing is endlessly open to ideas." (Daily Telegraph)
"His eccentric wit and restless intelligence exert a powerful appeal." (New York Times)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story
  • Louise
  • 10-22-15

I think it is the narrator....

Would you say that listening to this book was time well-spent? Why or why not?

Yes and No. I have a feeling that the story is good, and I am a great admirer of William Boyd. But the narration was about the most annoying performance I have ever experienced. I pushed on to the end, in respect to Mr Boyd, and hoping something would change. But no, every time I switched it on, SO wishing to enjoy it - I just cringed at the reading.

What was most disappointing about William Boyd’s story?

Without doubt, the horrible reading. She made the character of Amory so enormously annoying, shallow and unlikeable. She had this peculiar way of ending every sentence with this sort of 'cute' and usually completely inappropriate impression that she has a broad smile on her face and a stifled giggle. Most bizarre. It seemed also a very light story line - but again, it is so hard to separate it from the narrator who made it all sound so flippant.

Who might you have cast as narrator instead of Jilly Bond?

Possibly ANYONE else would have been better. But to be more helpful - I thought Barbara Flynn (who read an abridged version on BBC Radio 4) was very good - and it was hearing some of that broadcast that made me want to hear the whole book on Audible.

Was Sweet Caress worth the listening time?

No, I am sorry - I didn't think so. It may well be worth reading - but it is too late now for me to find out!

Any additional comments?

I think I've said plenty! - and I am aware that I may be in the minority as other reviews are so good! Therefore - to the person who is considering it - you may find it wonderful!

39 of 44 people found this review helpful

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  • Maddy
  • 12-12-15

Not the best Boyd

Having said as the title "Not the best Boyd", William Boyd can tell a pretty good story at his worst. However, I didn't feel that he had got inside Amory Clay and that despite all her adventures she remained a shallowly drawn character. But the reader for me ruined the book, and I find it interesting to read other reviewers who found the reading an attractive one. Beauty is in the ear of the listener. I finally realised that the reader made the heroine sound to me like Linda Snell out of the Archers (I'm not an Archers' fan) and that did it. Although she described herself at the beginning as being a touch sardonic, I think Amory Clay and the prose would have been better served by a lighter touch from the reader. The other characters (with the exception of the Australian) were well read, though.

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

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  • D. Cottam
  • 01-18-16

Irritating narration.

I read and enjoy everything by William Boyd and found "Any Human Heart" such a rewarding audiobook that I listened twice.
I feel rather unkind taking such a dislike to the voice of this narrator. Her reading is very animated and this seems appropriate in the beginning as the voice of a school girl.Although I find the story quite interesting, I keep stopping because Jilly Bond has the kind of voice that becomes very tiresome. It is a voice produced from a tight throat with an affected prissy quality. Every character she evokes seems stagey . The men don't convince and I find many female narrators excel at this. I think I can't go on. There are six hours of the book to go but despite the quality of the writing I have started to lose the desire to hear any more of Amory Clay. Perhaps William Boyd intended to create an unsympathetic central character but I think I would have felt differently if I had read the book. Audio books are wonderful until this happens. Maybe the narrator has captured Amory as Boyd intended but something in the story fails to engage and I am no longer interested in the outcome.

26 of 30 people found this review helpful

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  • susan
  • 09-25-16

Disappointing

Would you recommend this book to a friend? Why or why not?

Not really. I found it hard to follow at times. One minute you are in the twenties then in the seventies. I was waiting for the follow up of the story but it did not happen and it went on to something else.

Would you ever listen to anything by William Boyd again?

Not if it follows the same as before.

Did the narration match the pace of the story?

The narration was good as it goes.

Was Sweet Caress worth the listening time?

Not really. Got frustrated because of all the jumping about.

Any additional comments?

The writer would have been better off writing the story from the start and following it through to the present date in stead of jumping about!

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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  • Matthew McGee
  • 12-13-16

Thumping good story and Jilly Bond's reading great

Have been enjoying William Boyd in printed form and this is the first time I've had him read to me. Very enjoyable.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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  • C. Goodman
  • 10-18-16

Dreadful simpering narration spoils a good story

Why get such a chicken lit narrator read this sort of intelligent book? Spoils it all and gets no better through the book.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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  • K. Byrne
  • 08-29-16

Wonderful

What a great story and so well narrated I could trace periods of my own life whilst sharing a profession. Defiantly recommended!

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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  • Jane Freund
  • 08-05-16

Fantastic...

Loved the complexity of the life-story of Amery Clay. The reader manages to become a different character with such a subtle change of tone. A well spent 15 hours of my life 😊

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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  • Alicia
  • 07-31-16

Spirited, independent, forgiving, loving, sad

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

Yes, for the complexity of heart and mind.

Who was your favorite character and why?

Amory - because of that complexity.

Which scene did you most enjoy?

The early ones.

If you made a film of this book, what would be the tag line be?

A moment in time.

Any additional comments?

Jilly Bond is excellent.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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  • SunnyB
  • 05-27-16

Beautiful

I absolutely loved this. It is a beautifully written tale of complicated but very well-lived life.

I wasn't sure at first but it grew on me as the story progressed. I agree with other reviewers that I wasn't overly keen on the narrator in the beginning, but as the story developed I began to associate her voice with that of Amory - well-spoken, middle-class, confident etc. Highly recommended

3 of 3 people found this review helpful