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Vera  By  cover art

Vera

By: Elizabeth Von Armin
Narrated by: Nicki Paull
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Publisher's Summary

Best-selling classic. In print since 1921.

Lucy Entwhistle's beloved father has just died; aged 22 she finds herself alone in the world. Leaning against her garden gate, dazed and unhappy, she is disturbed by the sudden appearance of the perspiring Mr Wemyss. This middle-aged man is also in mourning - for his wife Vera, who has died in mysterious circumstances. Before Lucy can collect herself, Mr Wemyss has taken charge: of the funeral arrangements, of her kind aunt Dot, but most of all of Lucy herself - body and soul.

Elizabeth von Arnim's masterpiece is a forceful study of the power of men in marriage, and the weakness of women when they love.

©2006 Elizabeth Von Arnim (P)2008 Bolinda Publishing

What listeners say about Vera

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

Not a book for kids of any age

For those who have read Elizabeth von Arnim books, this is not the "The Enchanted April" or "Elizabeth's German Garden". This is not a book for the faint of heart or mind. This is not a book for kids of any age. However, if you are tough enough, this book will take you by the throat and hurl you crashing against the last period of the last sentence. I think that it is one of Elizabeth von Arnim's most powerful and best books. I add that it is one that I least like. I read it much less often than "The Enchanted April".

For young women who fancy themselves in love, read this book then look again at your proposed husband. You might see Vera, the young, beautiful, first wife of Mr. Wemyss dead. Did she commit suicide? Or was she pushed? Was she driven to take her life? We wonder; we speculate; we have thoughts. What is the fate of Lucy, the young, lovely, soft, wonderful second wife? I do not wonder. I know. I know.

11 people found this helpful

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Strangely Immersive and Compelling

Fans of Von Armin's The Enchanted April, might be surprised by how dark this novel gets. Yes, it has plenty of the author's wit, charm, and humor, but it also has shades of Rebecca (it was published 17 years before du Maurier's novel) and suggestions of spousal abuse and the predatory leanings of a husband for his much much younger wife. He enjoys imagining that people will wonder if she's even of age, and he's repeatedly thrilled by a hairstyle that makes her look almost adolescent. In the end, it's an indictment of a controlling, rage-filled narcissist, a character based on Von Armin's second husband.

The novel is so tightly written and so tense, I found it hard to stop listening. Readers who demand punishment and redemption might be unsatisfied by the chillingly abrupt ending.

Nicki Paull has a rich, flexible voice, and reads the novel extremely well. With one exception. The voice she uses for the young, female lead's spoken dialogue is so chirpy, insipid, and annoying, it makes her sound like an idiot and renders her unsympathetic. I can't help but believe that Von Armin had different intentions. The character's inner thoughts and insights suggest she's intelligent but under the spell of her husband. It came close to ruining what was otherwise a crisp, nuanced reading.

3 people found this helpful

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  • Anonymous User
  • 11-05-22

Defeated by the narration

I tried hard to read this but honestly the narration was really poor and the 'voice' used for the central character was too grating to listen to.

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  • Kindle Customer
  • 11-04-22

This is a gripping book but be careful

This book is not a barel of laughs particularly when it comes to women's issues but it's use of language is great particularly when it comes to the moè humorous aspects of the humorous aspect of the book. It ìs very gothic in nature.

I feel like I have said this a lot in book review recently but I am mighty glad to be living in the time that I do as a woman

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  • Katharine Kirby
  • 10-18-22

Considered EvA’s best novel

The narration is easy and enjoyable although Lucy’s voice is comically child like and a cliché, a parody, which perhaps does truly suit her character. This is such a perfect book although written a hundred years or more ago in the days of dog carts, domestic service and male dominance. Everard Weemys is the most ghastly narcissist yet there is at first a creepy understanding of his appeal and somehow the decades of age gap between him and Lucy somehow surmountable. For me Aunt Dot is just perfect, a fine role model for a lady today even. I loved her.

Comedic value is there to be enjoyed alongside the gothic horror of Lucy’s predicament at The Willows, a precursor of Manderley many years later. Vera’s presence as the first Mrs Everard Weemys is as solid and recognisable as the first Mrs de Winter. A tremendously worthwhile listen although it does end rather abruptly. The introduction is best reheard after that as it will make more sense than it does before listening.

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  • Joanie
  • 09-16-22

Vera

This is a moving story, brilliantly narrated. The tension builds and the whole is quite gripping.

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  • HelenWh
  • 08-09-22

Good but…awful narration

The narrator of this was fine and possibly better than most until she attempted to personify each character with their own voice, at which point I internally cringed and this repeated reaction became utterly distracting before the plot had really developed. Lucy’s thin, reedy, upper-crust voice inspired no sympathy, at all and takes her character miles away from the author’s intentions, I suspect. I generally gobble EVA novels but, combined with utterly dreary music between chapters (completely unnecessary), this one was a struggle.