This classic best-selling novel about a man who encounters a woman whose power to destroy is as strong as her power to love evokes Hemingway in its naturalistic portrayal of elemental forces in both nature and humanity. Ellen's beauty was radiant, and Harland had been so struck with her personality and the strength of her character that he knew he could never leave her. When he found that she returned his adoration, he could marry her with joy, bothered just momentarily by a strange premonition. It was only later, when the premonition became a horrifying reality that he realized the glowing loveliness of the woman he had married was the true face of evil.
©2007 Ben Ames Williams (P)2016 Chicago Review Press
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"rewarded with another excellent story"
My parents were both avid readers and often discussed their reading choices with me. This is probably why I have an appreciation for classic literature between the 1930s to the 1970s.
Leave Her to Heaven by Ben Ames William is one such classic, published in 1944. I had previously read two of his historical fiction novels and was excited to listen to an audiobook of one of his other works. I was rewarded with another excellent story.
Leave Her to Heaven does not actually have any dates in terms of specific years. I have tried to date it by the omission of any mention of war, the existence of airplanes, Warm Springs operating as a polio institution, and have come up with anywhere between the 1920s to the late 1930’s. I tried researching it to pin it down but was unable to.
The main character is Harland. He is a successful author, raised in privilege. Since the death of his parents, he now supports his younger brother Danny who is recovering from infantile paralysis, polio. Harland is in his thirties and Danny is thirteen. They have a very close relationship before Danny is sick and afterwards they become even closer. They keep each other strong as they struggle with Danny’s recovery.
Harland’s relationship with Danny lives at the heart of the book. He is not a person seeking fulfillment in a relationship. He tries to keep Danny as active as he can be and tries to find activities they can do together. When he and Danny are invited to a friend’s ranch in the west, Danny encourages Harland to go although he cannot accompany him. As Harland travels by train, he notices a beautiful woman reading his latest book. This beautiful woman, Ellen, is headed to the same ranch he is.
When they meet on the way out to the ranch, Harland is enchanted by her beauty. Ellen immediately sets her cap for him even though she is engaged to a lawyer in Maine. At the ranch, Ellen’s sister, Ruth and mother, watch as Ellen manipulates her way into marrying Harland before they leave the ranch. He is not truly in love with her but allows himself to be swept of his feet.
Ellen will stop at nothing to possess all of Harland. She is jealous of his brother, his writing, or anything that she is not wholly the focus of. It is a fascinating study of a woman whose possessiveness becomes deadly. While some characters realize there is something wrong with Ellen, others are easily manipulated to fulfill her plans. No one is safe while Ellen breathes. Or even after.
Mike Dennis does a wonderful job narrating the book. He does a great job with the male vs. female voices. The language in the book reflects the time period in which it was written. Mr. Dennis handles the dated language well. It flows and seems very natural. I would definitely listen to another book narrated by Mr. Dennis. The production quality was excellent.
Audiobook was provided for review by the narrator.
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"Hard to think about"
I had to pause several times during the book just to calm down. I was often outraged that Ellen could get away with so many of her wrongdoings. She was a completely selfish, horrible woman. I had a lot of anger for her. I really felt a connection to these characters and the story. There were so many beautiful words and scenes in this book. I think it captured so much of what I imagine that time period was like. I really enjoyed it.
The performance was great. I didn't love the voice he used for Ruth, who was my favorite character, but Ellen was done very well. He captured the men perfectly.
This audiobook was provided by the author, narrator, or publisher at no cost in exchange for an unbiased review courtesy of Audiobook Blast.
"Great novel finally brought to audio"
Chilling tale of a woman obsessed. Ellen Berent meets Richard Harland on a train and it's all downhill from there. Well-crafted tale of a bloodless woman who will stop at nothing to satisfy her desires. Narrator Mike Dennis brings this long novel to life with his no-nonsense style and sharp characterizations. Highly recommended.
"Five star Book a must read"
It is very rare for me to read a book and not be able to find any faults in it. This is one of those books that I could not find a flaw in. The narration is spot on perfect the writing is what you want when reading a book. It is engaging interesting captivating the characters are flawed but still yet lovable, at least most of them anyways. You will not go wrong if you buy this book, practically guarantee that you will not be able to put it down.
I Will definitely go back to this novel again and again. Received this book from the author narrator or publisher for a honest review at no cost to myself
"Indeed a rediscovered classic!"
I was a bit worried that this was a somewhat long listen. I'm happy to say I listened quite eagerly and loved it all. I can see how this would not be every mystery lover's cup o tea. It's not an action thriller although it has some. I think I would class it in a psychological thriller in the same vein as Dial M for Murder. If you can appreciate old movies and better yet, love them then my bet it that you would like this very much! Great 'full-bodied' characters and insights into their thinking are some of the pluses. I couldn't wait to get back to listening to it. The narration was very well done although the Bostonian accent was grinding to my ears.
I was gifted this book in exchange for an honest review which, in a nutshell, is a great listen!
"Leave Her to Heaven"
Yes, but only certain ones. With how slow it all started with the man going back home not all my friends would have the ability to stay with it.
Ellen was my favorite only because she made me really mad and disgusted that there really are people like her out there.
I actually really enjoyed the beginning with him going back home and just the imagery of what he was seeing to what he remembered the last time he saw it.
I loved that Ruth was there waiting for him at the end, although really surprised he was welcoming to seeing her. to me it would be even more of a reminder of what happened, but so would returning home i guess.
"This audiobook was provided by the author, narrator, or publisher at no cost in exchange for an unbiased review courtesy of Audiobook Blast."
"Leave Her To Heaven by Ben Ames Williams"
Haven't read the book but the audiobook was well done.
The slow realization that Ellen is more than she initially appears in importance of the storyline.
I haven't yet, but I will look for more books narrated by him
This is a classic as such it evokes the gambit of reactions.
Not sure if the written work would keep my interest. However, the Audible version did so. Mike Dennis is talented and, for me anyway, read at a comfortable pace, with good inflection and voices.
Thank you for making this available. I enjoyed it.
This audiobook was provided by the author, narrator, or publisher at no cost in exchange for an unbiased review courtesy of AudiobookBlast dot com.
"Worth the Wait"
I almost gave up on this listen...something I RARELY do. Call me stubborn, but I will plow through something I start just because I don't want to be a quitter, even to myself.
I was so frustrated with Harland and Ellen before they even got married. And then their first year of marriage and the destruction it caused almost made me quit. But my sheer stubbornness made me keep going. The last quarter to a third of this book paid me back for my stubbornness.
I can't really go into why I wanted to stop the book and what parts made me so ready to quit on it or even why the last part of the book made up for it without spoilers. Just know that you will be caught up once you get to this point. You know that Ellen is going to be a monster but the reactions and choices of Harland are so much worse because he is an intelligent, sensitive, non-sociopathic person.
The narration was very good and I enjoyed it immensely, with one exception: Ruth. The boston accent used just made her sound ugly and I couldn't get past this. But the rest was excellent.
I received this audiobook for free from Audiobook Boom! in exchange for an honest review.
"Kept me glued to my seat....."
The portrayal of the characters and their uniqueness which fit tightly into this great story.
The plot and the characters.
Yes, in fact I abandoned my other tasks to see how the story would play out.
"This audiobook was provided by the author, narrator, or publisher at no cost in exchange for an unbiased review courtesy of AudiobookBlast dot com."
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