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Publisher's Summary

Brought to you by Penguin.   

This Penguin Classic is performed by Charlotte Ritchie, best known for her roles as Oregon in Channel 4's Fresh Meat, Hannah in the BBC Three comedy Siblings, and as Barbara Gilbert in BBC drama Call the Midwife.   

With neither friends nor family, Lucy Snowe, sets sail from England to find employment in a girls' boarding school in the small town of Villette. There she struggles to retain her self-possession in the face of unruly pupils, an initially suspicious headmaster and her own complex feelings, first for the school's English doctor and then for the dictatorial professor Paul Emmanuel. 

Drawing on her own deeply unhappy experiences as a governess in Brussels, Charlotte Brontë's last and most autobiographical novel is a powerfully moving study of isolation and the pain of unrequited love, narrated by a heroine determined to preserve an independent spirit in the face of adverse circumstances.

Public Domain (P)2019 Penguin Audio

Critic Reviews

"Listening to Call the Midwife actress Charlotte Richie read Charlotte Brontë's lesser-known novel Villette was a hugely enjoyable experience on my morning commute on trains so packed that I could not stretch out my arms to open a book." (i News)

  

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What listeners say about Villette

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Highly Recommended

The narrator is phenomenal. I love her voice and her inflection. She faithfully portrays each character's voice; how she manages to capture so many, varied tones is amazing.

I love this story. I loved it even more as I listened to it. When I read it, the French caused me to struggle with gaps that were held together more easily while listening.

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Lucy Snow’s inconsistency in consistently annoying

Perhaps it’s meant to be showing the complexity of the character but I found this character entirely unreal due to the inconsistency in her behavior from chapter to chapter and even sometimes scene to scene. Frustrating. The poor mans Jane Eyre.

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Boring

This book was boring. Very long tedious prose. 25% in the book and still nothing was happening.
Narration was not the best either. Every character had basically the same voice.

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I feel the richer for having read it thrice

Language can entertain no better than in this story, even if you can't understand French. A much lighter story than Jane Eyre or her sister's Agnes Grey. Joins Jane Eyre and works of JRRT and JKR on my list of the thrice-read. Once for the language, twice for the characters, thrice for the subtle weave that holds it all together.
I like the situational humor: a madame whose rule is founded on espionage. I like its frequent infusion of literary imagery from ages past. Its verbosity is not inflated prose of the word-processor age. I would that any modern writer wishing to employ first person narrative be required to read this book first.

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Pure poetry

The sheer love of words propelled me forward. What genius in the flowering of the English language. Enter herein to open your ears and heart. Listen well.



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  • Lucy T
  • 10-29-20

Great performance, story not so much!

Great narration but I dont know that I'd listen again - depressing and a bit odd. Charlotte did not convince me of her heros good points and her heroine is a prickly character. Dont invest too much in the story and you be fine!

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  • S McQuilliam
  • 05-14-20

Simply beautiful

This narration was beautiful, Charlotte didn't do the awful childlike voices I've heard other narrators mimic.

1 person found this helpful