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The Mysteries of Udolpho | [Ann Ward Radcliffe]

The Mysteries of Udolpho

This was the most popular novel of Radcliffe's time; Radcliffe's portrayal of her heroine's inner life raised the Gothic romance to a new level. The atmosphere of fear and the gripping plot continue to thrill today. This is the story of the orphaned Emily St Aubert, who finds herself separated from the man she loves and confined within the Castle of Udolpho by her aunt's new husband Montoni. Here she must cope with an unwanted suitor, Montoni's threats, and the wild imaginings and terrors which threaten to overwhelm her.
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Audible Editor Reviews

Ann Radcliffe's most popular novel, The Mysteries of Udolpho, with its titular enigmatic castle, vivid landscapes, supernatural portents, and brooding characters is considered by many to be the standard by which all Gothic novels are judged. When her father dies, Emily is forced to live at the castle of her aunt's new husband, the malevolent Count Montoni. The drama unfolds as Emily is treated cruelly by Montoni and alarming events constantly trouble her. Alison Larkin performs the grotesque and the sumptuous elements of the audiobook with equal dexterity, excelling at the villainous men who inhabit the story. If you're ready to escape into a romantic and chilling world, you won't want to stop listening to this classic tale.

Publisher's Summary

This was the most popular novel of Radcliffe's time; Radcliffe's portrayal of her heroine's inner life raised the Gothic romance to a new level. The atmosphere of fear and the gripping plot continue to thrill today.

This is the story of the orphaned Emily St Aubert, who finds herself separated from the man she loves and confined within the Castle of Udolpho by her aunt's new husband Montoni. Here she must cope with an unwanted suitor, Montoni's threats, and the wild imaginings and terrors which threaten to overwhelm her.

Public Domain (P)2012 Audible, Inc.

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    Miss Saffron Walden, United Kingdom 05/04/2014
    Miss Saffron Walden, United Kingdom 05/04/2014
    HELPFUL VOTES
    24
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    41
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    5
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    "Luscious indulgent listen"

    You have to like gothic fiction to tolerate this book. Luckily I love it, so really enjoyed this reading of a book I already knew. Alison Larkin reads the sections of poetry really nicely, I often don't 'get' poetry but this made the passages enjoyable, rather than a struggle which I normally skip over to return to the narrative.

    The characters are French and Italian in this book, but to differentiate between different persons, Ms Larkin uses Scottish, West Country and Yorkshire accents! This however does not spoil the story and makes it easy to tell who is speaking. The heroine Emily St Aubert is a little insipid for modern tastes perhaps, always with unsupportable spirits and fainting away, but remember what kind of novel this is and enjoy the luscious description of the landscape and, once about a quarter of the way in, a really gripping tale of mysteries.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
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  • Joyce
    Monterey, MA, United States
    21/07/12
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Thank You, Audible"
    Any additional comments?

    I have been waiting for this English classic to come out on audio for years. A brilliant performance by the narrator ranging from upper class English to serving maids, from lords to thieving brigands all rendered with exactness and enthusiasm that carries us through the narrative like a Harry Potter story. I'll have to reread my Jane Austen collection now that I can fully understand all her "Udolpho" references. One more benefit of this audio.

    13 of 13 people found this review helpful
  • Diane
    ROSENDALE, NY, United States
    04/02/13
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Loved it!"

    So great to have the privilege of listening to this on audio by award winning Alison Larkin who is in dazzling form here. She should win an award for her portrayal of the villainous Montoni who very much reminds me of Scar in The Lion King. 

    Any serious fan of classic literature will recognize Ann Radcliffe as the grandmother of gothic fiction and the vampire craze we have to day owes much to her writing. This novel I believe was the first "best seller" and after listening one can understand why. 

    What separates a great book like this from the popular Twilight and Sookie Stackhouse novels is the obvious well rounded education of Ms Radcliffe. For example at the heart of the novel's mystery are the rogue italian militias that roamed the Apenines and Ms Radcliffe makes glorious use of the dark history. Where else would we learn about that? In addition the sentence structure and descriptive details are some of the best in literature and Ms Larkin renders them like Horowitz playing Chopin.

    I've listened to it twice and look forward to at least a few more.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • Michael
    BRONXVILLE, NEW YORK, United States
    30/01/13
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Only Alison Larkin Could have Narrated This Story"
    If you could sum up The Mysteries of Udolpho in three words, what would they be?

    Love.
    Loss.
    Surprise.


    What was one of the most memorable moments of The Mysteries of Udolpho?

    One of the most memorable moments was the heroine was reunited with her lover.


    What does Alison Larkin bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

    This book has sentences that seem to go on like arias in an opera. Only Alison Larkin could give the listener every subtle sense of meaning behind every word. Alison Larkin helped carry me along an experience that was like riding a great wave of powerful prose. I could only ride the wave because she gave me the support--through her clear evocation of every emotion and through every description--that we were moving towards an exciting shore.

    I have never heard a story with such deep descriptions of every mental, and emotional experience. Only Alison Larkin has the range of tone and wit and sympathetic and sometimes passionate delivery to have made such a story a great and moving work of art.


    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    This book and Alison Larkin's brilliant interpretation of every line was much too grand an experience to try to absorb in one sitting.

    I decided early on to let this remarkable experience--like listening to the greatest symphony of life and loves--continue over time. I would listen to it in the evenings.

    All day I would look forward to hearing Alison Larkin's melodic voice give powerful meaning to a story that seemed to have almost every possible emotion in it.


    Any additional comments?

    I am grateful that Alison Larkin narrated this story for us. Without her remarkably sensitive and powerful reading of this material it might not have come alive in such a dramatic way.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • Margaux
    Winslow, AR
    24/12/12
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "A Classic, but not my style"
    What disappointed you about The Mysteries of Udolpho?

    Though this book is one of the greatest classics of all time, and I hear it's never been out of print, I can't say I found it a compelling listen. I struggle a little with 18th and 19th century period pieces anyway, but this one seemed to be more than usually drawn out, and though there is a great deal of drama and high suspense, I found it all rather contrived. However, several of my friends, more in tune with the Gothic style, really enjoyed it.


    Would you ever listen to anything by Ann Ward Radcliffe again?

    This, I beleive, was Radcliffe's first book. I might try some of her later work.


    What about Alison Larkin’s performance did you like?

    The reader performs well, she's comfortable with Radcliffe's high style, and has a pleasant voice.


    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • Johanna
    CHICAGO, IL, United States
    01/03/14
    Overall
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    "Delightful book!"

    I've been wanting to read this book ever since I read Northanger Abbey by Jane Austen, which is probably the reason why most people read it today. What a fun listen! Admittedly, this book is somewhat shallow; it's kind of like the late 1700s equivalent of the Twilight series, but without the vampires. I think it would have appealed to the same audience of teenage girls. Anyway, it's a delightful book if taken in context, and the performance is good.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Jessica
    ROMA, Australia
    13/07/13
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "WOW"

    "Wordy" takes on a whole meaning. I think there can only be ONE reason that this book has made it through the ages, and that is because Jane Austin refers to it in her works.
    There was almost NO dialogue in the first 5 chapters. There were a lot of indirect speeches. I think this annoyed me more than the descriptions and poetry. I could tune out for them but the lack of dialogue really threw me off.

    1 of 3 people found this review helpful
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