E. F. Benson, best known for his irresistible Mapp and Lucia novels set in the fictional town of Tilling, England, was a prolific and beloved novelist. Though the Mapp and Lucia books remain popular to this day, this kindred book will be back in print for the first time since its initial publication.
The son of E. W. Benson, archbishop of Canterbury from 1883 to 1896, the young E. F. Benson was educated at Marlborough School and at King's College, Cambridge. After graduation he worked in Athens for the British School of Archaeology from 1892 to 1895, and later in Egypt for the Society for the Promotion of Hellenic Studies. In 1893 he published Dodo, a novel that attracted wide attention. It was followed by a number of other successful novels, including his hugely popular Mapp and Lucia series. In 1938 he was made an honorary fellow of Magdalene College, Cambridge. He died in February 1940.
Public Domain (P)2013 Audible, Inc.
"An extraordinary study in comedy and quite the best thing artistically that Mr. Benson has done." (New York Times)
A truly abysmal narration. Is the narrator American, trying to sound British, or British, trying to sound American? Either way, it's like nails on a blackboard. Add to that some dreadful mispronunciations - coti-yon instead of cotillion, clar-ay instead of claret - and the book is ruined.
I listen whilst I paint, I enjoy Sci Fi, Horror & Biogs but am happy to try most other things except for stories about shoes and handbags...
I had not come across this particular EF Benson previously so was really looking forwards to it as a special treat, it feels slightly as though it was the blue print for Dodo and Mapp & Lucia, but I was happy to accept that and go with it. However I found the narrators telling quite odd, with awful voices for characters, quite often using the same voice for different characters so I did end up getting a bit muddled at times, quite distracting and disappointing.
"If you like the comedy of manners"
Not for everyone, but if you like P.G. Wodehouse, period pieces, low key but sharp humor, give this a try. The performance is excellent.
"Jane Austin fans will love this"
I prefer audio.
Mrs Ames was intriguing because she was the opinion leader yet not the prettiest nor the richest woman in town. She obviously had charisma, dared to be different and to bring new interest to the village. People wanted to see what she does next. Her lack of interest in gossip and the fact that she was impervious to nasty criticsm made her a bit of a heroin to me.
I knew who each character was and she doesn't speed through the story needlessly as some readers will do.
No, but I was surprised at how she handled the situation with her husband when she became the effect of one of her social experiments.
There was some complexity to the characters and especially Mrs Ames when she dares to stand up for women's rights at one point. I liked the twist that she suffered from one of her own creations and I especially loved how she handled it. She definitely knew who she was and didn't rely on good looks or riches to maintain her status.
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