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The Lark

By: E. Nesbit
Narrated by: Anne Hancock
Length: 9 hrs and 15 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (9 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

E. Nesbit (The Railway Children; Five Children and It) is best known for her children’s classics. In 1922, she published The Lark, a story for adults that writer Penelope Lively calls “[A] charming and brilliantly entertaining novel...shot through with the light-hearted Nesbit touch”.

Orphaned cousins Jane and Lucilla, both 19, receive the exciting news that their guardian is at last allowing them to leave boarding school. But their rosy future is thwarted when they find he has made some bad investments and fled, leaving them with a cottage in the English countryside and a modest bank account. 

Finding a way to earn their living is daunting, but Jane insists that instead of worrying, they must regard their new situation as a lark: “When did two girls of our age have such a chance as we’ve got - to have a lark entirely on our own? No chaperone, no rules, no...” “No present income or future prospects,” said Lucilla.   

The plucky girls begin by selling flowers, but when they deplete their own garden, they look for more opportunities. Good luck arrives along with a cast of characters who provide help and romantic possibilities, as well as new streams of income. But good fortune can’t last forever, and not all their new friends are as they seem....

Public Domain (P)2018 Anne Hancock

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It has that wonderful charm of the tales of old...

When I was a child I fell in love with E. Nesbit's "Five Children..." stories (as many kids probably did), but somehow I have never read anything by her meant for adults. Either the books were not published in my native Polish or I just didn't come across any of them. Now that I have listened to "The Lark" I definitely have to look for more.

As plots go, the tale woven in "The Lark" develops smoothly, at a steady pace, and is overall quite simple and even naive:) Every obstacle that comes into Jane and Lucilla's way solves almost on itself, with no interference or effort from the girls, every misfortune turns into fortune, bad guys turn out not to be so bad at all, and so on and so forth... until we finally get to the happy ending :) Naive and improbable? Yes, but also charming in that old-fashioned style of the tales of old, tales which allowed you to escape from the grim realities of everyday life - and which now let us slow down and take a break in our hectic, hurried existence...

The two main characters, Jane and Lucille, are young, warm-hearted and open-minded creatures that you really love from page one. You may think them quite gullible but then their openness, goodness and kindness win them the hearts of everyone they meet - even old croonies. There aren't real villains in the book - but that's not a fault at all, and it makes the reading much lighter and much more fun.

But what I love most about the book is the language. Nobody writes like this any more. Long, complex and yet beautiful sentences... detailed descriptions of not only places and people but also emotions... When you listen to the book it's like listening to a wonderful symphony of words:) I can't describe it better, really...

And the interpretation by Ms Hancock only adds another layer and gives so much depth to the whole story... She's perfect in voicing the two girls, she's as good at interpreting all the other characters - every "voice" matches the personality of the character it is given. A job really well done - definitely a narrator I'll look for more from.

DISCLAIMER: I was given this free review copy audiobook at my request and have voluntarily left this review.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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Classic Story

This is for those who love classic stories. It is written the same way not how anybody would write it today. But it suited the book and I did find it refreshing after lessoning and reading to modern style books.
The book is slow going and I did find the girls to be very naive at times and frustrating but they are teenagers of that time and that is how some of them acted. If they portrayed them like they are in the present they would not feel right, since teenagers are more wiser and know things even if they don't act it.
I absoulately loved it and I would highly recommend it. It is a clean read so it is suitable for all.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Classic story, well told

I was given this free review copy audiobook at my request and have voluntarily left this review.

This is a classic, light-hearted tale by Nesbit about young women inheriting a modest estate and attempting to make their way in the world together. Plenty of humor and whimsy as the story progresses.

It's beautifully told by the narrator, and made my commute a bit shorter. Definitely recommend this book.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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The lark

Fun story of sisters just trying to make a living in a mans world. Anne Hancock was an excellent narrator.
I was given this book by the narrator,author or publisher free for an honest review.

1 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • KD
  • Somewhere
  • 09-26-18

Coming of age

Two girls have a responsibility heft on them and they must deal with it

Characters are interesting and the story leads to along a brisk pace.

Could use some editing

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  • Kate
  • 01-30-19

A Golden Age

A wonderfully apt title for the adventures of Jane and Lucilla, upon leaving school and having to make their ways in the turbulent world of 1922. Light, full of mirth, evanescent and a sheer delight, this book had a lot of heart, even if the plot felt lacking in a little substance. Happy to report though that the book ended with something that was expected and a lot that was not.

The reader carried the lives and adventures of the young women well, capturing their excitement for life but also their insecurities for the future.