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Wives and Daughters Audiobook

Wives and Daughters

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Publisher's Summary

Exclusively from Audible

Molly Gibson, the only daughter of a widowed doctor in the small provincial town of Hollingford, lost her mother when she was a child. Her father remarries wanting to give Molly the woman's presence he feels she lacks. To Molly, any stepmother would have been a shock, but the new Mrs. Gibson is a self-absorbed, petty widow, and Molly's unhappiness is compounded by the realisation that her father has come to regret his second marriage.

Although Molly resents her stepmother, she befriends her new step-sister, Cynthia, who is loveable, but worldly and troubling. The audiobook chronicles their maturation into womanhood within the confines of the gossiping and watchful society of Hollingford.

As Molly matures and falls in love she learns to judge people for what they are, not what they seem. Through Molly, the social values and changes of early 19th century England are brought to life in this timeless representation of human relationships. The audiobook is more than just a nostalgic story of village life, it offers an ironic critique of mid-Victorian society.

Known as her last, longest, and perhaps finest work, it was not quite complete when Gaskell died suddenly in 1865. The last section was written by Frederick Greenwood.

Narrator Biography

Prunella Scales is a classically trained stage actress but is best known for her role as Sybil Fawlty in the BBC comedy Fawlty Towers (1975-1979) and for her role as Queen Elizabeth II in A Question of Attribution (1991) for which she was nominated a BAFTA. Her film appearances have included Stiff Upper Lips (1997), Howard's End (1992) and Wolf (1994). She was awarded the CBE for her services to drama in 1992 and the Patricia Rothermere Award for her contributions to British Theatre in 2001. More recent appearances have included the mini-series The Shell Seekers (2006), a production of Carrie's War at the Apollo Theatre (2009), Horrid Henry: The Movie (2013) and a guest appearance in the popular BBC radio comedy Cabin Pressure (2013). Julian Barnes' The Lemon Table and Anne Fine's Charm School are among the many audiobooks Prunella Scales has narrated.

Public Domain ©2014 Audible, Inc.

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.6 (515 )
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Performance
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  •  
    sassysra 03-09-07
    sassysra 03-09-07 Member Since 2013
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Fantastic"

    I will definitely be listeningto another work of this author. I chose it because I enjoyed the BBC drama production of it so much. I was really put at first because that the book is unfinished (the author died before writing the last chapter), but the narrative summing up the book by a magazine editor of the time was wonderful and very appropriate. I would say a much read if you enjoy Victorian novels and even if you don't.

    5 of 6 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Kelley CA, United States 11-29-07
    Kelley CA, United States 11-29-07 Member Since 2012
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    "Endless hours"

    Prunella Scales is fabuous and brought additional charm to the work but I really think everyone should know that the author died before she could write the ending and after the 14th hour, that's a little frustrating.

    4 of 5 people found this review helpful
  •  
    lyl nashville, tn, United States 05-21-12
    lyl nashville, tn, United States 05-21-12 Member Since 2015
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    "Couldn't turn it off!"

    If you like Jane Austin you will love this book. The story is set in a small village in England and it centers around a doctor and his family and their neighbors. Gas kin uses this setup as a microcosm showing the nature of people and their reactions to each other and life in general. Although the book was written over 150 yrs ago, people are the same. I recognized more than one personalty! But you must like this type of book to enjoy it. Think Jane Austin! Also, the narrator is outstanding.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Amazon Customer Macksville, Australia 10-01-11
    Amazon Customer Macksville, Australia 10-01-11
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    "Enjoyable"
    Is there anything you would change about this book?

    I quite enjoyed this book. the heroine is very honourable but rather tearful which is rather off putting.. Perhaps she is a reflection of her age. Elizabeth Gaskell's characters do not have the sparkle of Jane Austen's but Jane Austen sets the bar rather high and Elizabeth Gaskell writes a very readable and enjoyable story. She puts quite a lot of "social conscience" stuff in her books.... I suppose it is because she was the daughter and wife of a minister. This does rather make the main character too good to be true. However, it all comes out in the end and I like the book well enough to buy more of Elizabeth Gaskell's titles as they become available on Audible.


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

    This is the first book I have bought in which Prunella Scales is the narrator.. She is excellent


    Was Wives and Daughters worth the listening time?

    Definitely. Overall I was sorry when it was finished.. The story doesn't have many highs and lows... It just trundles along. but it is an easy listen and you feel at the end of the book that you know and like the characters.


    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Naomi BRONX, NY, United States 08-11-17
    Naomi BRONX, NY, United States 08-11-17 Member Since 2017
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    "A treasure house of finely drawn characters"

    Mollie Gibson's life is upended when her father, a beloved and well-respected country doctor, remarries to a former governess. The new Mrs Gibson enters Mollie into the social scene with the hopes of snaring an appropriate (wealthy and well-connected) husband. More importantly, Mollie has a new best friend, her step-sister Cynthia. Cynthia is the kind of tall blonde beauty who turns heads when she walks into the room, but underneath the elegant poise and the winning ways, is an insecure girl, who wonders if she deserves the love and admiration that she receives. Mollie on the other hand is not afraid to be herself -- genuinely concerned about the people around her, as well as open and honest.

    This book is full of richly described characters; Mollie, Cynthia, Mr and Mrs Gibson are each unique individuals. Not only do you understand who they are, but how they became who they are. Also finely drawn are the people of the community: Squire Hamley and his sons, Osborn and Roger; and Mollie's friends in the village and the surrounding countryside. The interactions between Mr. and Mrs. Gibson and between Mr Gibson and the Squire are portrayed with wit and perception.

    Prunella Scales narrates this book perfectly, giving each character his or her individual voice.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Baker Family North Carolina 07-23-17
    Baker Family North Carolina 07-23-17 Member Since 2016
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    "Exquisite"

    Prunella does a marvelous job of narrating this exquisitely beautiful book. I enjoyed every minute of this tale, enraptured to the end. Gaskell was a masterful storyteller; she had a keen sense of human nature. Loved this book!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Sarah Buchanan 04-03-17
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    "PRETENTIOUS BUSY-BODIES WITH ONE LONE DIAMOND"
    If you could sum up Wives and Daughters in three words, what would they be?

    Mixed Feelings Galore....


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    Molly - She was constant in everything and everywhere with everyone regardless of the pretentious busy-body women and near-sighted men in her life. Her gentle nature made her think more positive of others and be kind-hearted to those who tried to belittle and oppress her.


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

    Her patience and accent. In the first 1/3 to 1/2 of the book I would have become impatient because the story seemed to be going no where but full of mundane descriptions of unimportant backdrops.


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

    I didn't cry. I did laugh, but I also had frustration with the Hyacinth. She was condescending to Molly, but she masked her condescension in the choice of her words. The narrator also helped mask the condescension by the tone of her voice while reading, which is probably a good thing because then I would have been really irritated. I DO NOT like when others are put down and stepped on. I appreciated that Molly could stand up for herself for the most part and speak up to her defense.


    Any additional comments?

    The fact that the story isn't completed by the author due to her untimely death left me wanting a definite end to the story, but it was nice to be left to the imagination also!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    oursisthefury UT USA 07-01-16
    oursisthefury UT USA 07-01-16
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    "good story & narration, poor audio"

    The audio mixers didn't do a great job leveling out the sound--the volume was uneven.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Sarah 06-03-16
    Sarah 06-03-16 Member Since 2015
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    "Most Excellent Performance"
    Would you consider the audio edition of Wives and Daughters to be better than the print version?

    The book and its author are great favorites of mine, but the performance was immensely more enjoyable.


    What did you like best about this story?

    Mrs. Gaskell's nuanced characterization is superb.


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

    Prunella Scales not only gives a very unique performance for each of the main characters, she adds her own sensitive interpretation of them as well.


    Who was the most memorable character of Wives and Daughters and why?

    It is difficult to choose... I loved Ms. scales' Dr. Gibson best I think. But the maturity of Molly's voice with the passage of time was also very well done and Mrs. Gibson was superb!


    Any additional comments?

    I have also purchased Prunella Scales' performance of Mrs. Gaskell's Cranford, but I wish she had covered all her major novels including North and South.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    K Rogers 06-03-16
    K Rogers 06-03-16 Member Since 2014
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    "Well Done!"

    The story seemed slow to start but then I really got engrossed in it. I really enjoyed the reading style and variety of voices. I appreciated the extra touches and effort put into the performance!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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  • Barbara Murray
    Ireland
    8/17/17
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Very enjoyable"

    I really enjoyed this book. The narration was excellent. I would very happily listen to Prunella Scales anytime again. The characters were very well developed and easily to like or dislike depending on who it is. Would very much recommend this book

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Anomalous Monist
    5/10/17
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    "Wonderful performance and wonderful book"

    Mrs Gaskell constantly surprises me. The characters are built up slowly and lovingly; the dialogue is incredibly modern; it's incredibly richly true to life; and it's regularly very, very funny, yet warm and kind throughout. A lovely book.

    Prunella Scales's reading is marvellous - she's amazing.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Lizzymint
    5/1/17
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    "Wives and Daughters"

    It is a great story. Well written and particularly well read delineating the characters clearly. A good listen.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Miss
    London, United Kingdom
    4/13/17
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Frustrating due to narrator"
    Is there anything you would change about this book?

    Yes, the narrator (and the author's unfortunate demise prior to finishing).

    Prunella Scales is obviously very talented and has the capacity to read this very well - one can hear so many different characterisations and the correct use of accents.

    However, she gabbles constantly, to the point of leaving out the ends of words as she rushes to the next one, particularly in the dialogue of the upper classes.

    I have finally given up and am going to try another narrator.


    What didn’t you like about Prunella Scales’s performance?

    She rushes it. Shame - could have been so good.


    If this book were a film would you go see it?

    It has already been made into a lovely TV series.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Kindle Customer
    Cheshire
    1/8/17
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "narrator"

    Prunella Scales was an inspired choice for this book. character voices consistent and every detail came alive through the intelligent, compassionate, beautiful voice of this narrator. Thank you Ms Scales xx

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Linn Eirin Nordheim
    11/7/16
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "lovely story and an engaging narrater"

    loved the story, too bad the author died before she finished the book. although well wrapped up by the publisher and narrater. they managed to make a plausible and satisfying end to the story.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Meldorf
    England
    10/26/16
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Outstanding"

    Prunella Scales is the most talented reader I have heard so far. Her characters from a middle-aged Scottish doctor to a two year old French child are so convincing that I forgot I was listening to one voice. If only there were more books read by her.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Janey
    Nottingham
    8/15/16
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Good story well read"

    This is a really good read. One immediately warms to Molly and the ups and downs of her young life. Many twists and turns and many well written characters.
    This book is brilliantly read by Prunella Scales. Proving what a very gifted actress she is. She was very well prepared and her voice characterisations were a delight.
    All in all a delight to listen to.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • missusmoo
    4/8/16
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Prunella scales is outstanding"

    A beautiful story brought to life by first class narration. I thoroughly recommend it for any fan of this genre

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • jenni olenski
    2/27/16
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "A world I am sad to leave!"
    Would you listen to Wives and Daughters again? Why?

    Oh yes! Firstly because I miss the characters; also because there is much detail which cannot be fully savoured in one visit. One is fully absorbed as part of the scene, as a guest at their tables. Surprises await around many corners; thoughts and emotions are so intelligently conveyed. The old squire and the doctor are my favourite men, their equals possibly lacking in modern society. I lived in their world, their joys and sorrows being felt more keenly than in the best films could provide. It was sad that Mrs Gaskell died before she could finish it but we all have our hopes for how it might end. Here is an experience to be remembered fondly, long after listening to or reading such a treasure.


    What did you like best about this story?

    The depth and complexities of the characters, the twists and turns of so many lives, the feeling of a very different society from ours, the sorrows of the so called privileged class, glimpses into the hearts and concerns of people who must conceal them and the vividness of the writing.


    Have you listened to any of Prunella Scales’s other performances? How does this one compare?

    Not on audio. She deals wonderfully with the vast assortment of characters. Somehow the men are truly masculine. Her varying accents and tones of voice make us feel we can see and hear these people speaking in all their diversity.


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

    Many! Especially the way in which the old Squire takes to the sudden arrival of his small French Grandson, of whose existence he was quite unaware. This, after the death of his beloved elder son, is beautifully and poignantly described.


    Any additional comments?

    Better value for £7.99 is hard to imagine.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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