"Affirms the power of storytelling"
Unlike some listeners who found the first third of the book a little slow I enjoyed it from the beginning ? with its witty observations and asides on people, animals and religion. The tale of survival had me enthralled ? it is insightful, lyrical and descriptive though perhaps it drags a little toward the end and becomes rather too fanciful. The ending cleverly draws all the elements together and makes you think about the role and importance of storytelling long after the book is finished. The excellent choice of narrator enhances the enjoyment of the novel.
"Great concept but ..."
I admired the concept of this book - making history more accessible and helping the reader appreciate the more human elements of medieval day to day life. It is well written and easy to understand but I still struggled at times to absorb the information. Perhaps my style of listening ? intermittent short bursts while walking/catching the train is not suited to this type of book which requires more concentration than some. Still worth a read and it certainly improved my knowledge of medieval England.
"A good summer read"
Picked up this book as part of Audible?s recommended Summer Reads and pleased to say it lived up to expectations. As an Australian living in London what appealed most was the evocative depiction of the two different worlds of William Thornhill and his family ? moving from his early days as a boatman on the Thames to carving a new life in New South Wales. Both worlds come alive in this book that is both a flowing narrative and a deeper examination of cultural conflict and human struggle. Bill Wallis? rich voice makes listening far better than reading.
"Let down by the ending"
I thoroughly enjoyed this book ? except for the ending. I wasn?t expecting that everything should be resolved or the final pages would be electrifying but I did expect there to be some sort of conclusion. Instead the story seemed to just fizzle out. I had been absorbed by the portrayal of London during the blitz. The male/female narration was refreshing. I looked forward to listening to each instalment ? and then suddenly the story just stopped. A potentially 5 star novel ends up as a 3 in the space of a few pages.
"Sneaks up on you"
Reading the reviews on this page after finishing the book I found I had the same experience as another reader. The book was a very slow starter. It held my interest enough but I didn?t really warm to its message until about three quarters of the way through. I was totally surprised then to find myself overwhelmed by tears as I listened to the last few pages. Thankfully I don?t think my fellow train passengers noticed but a clear testament to the power of this book. And Allan Corduner?s deathly narration is marvellous
"Delight in family disfunction"
While this doesn?t have the brilliance of ?The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night time? it is still a cracking read/listen. It?s full of witty and acute observations ? with some excellent one liners. The characters are so well drawn that I found myself picturing them in my head. An easy and entertaining listen.
"Too many cuts"
I always prefer unabridged books and this abridged version confirmed that view. I had read this book many years ago and wanted to refresh my memory before reading the sequel ?World Without End?. I loved the book when I first read it, the images it conjured up and the emotion it stirred in me. I was so disappointed in this rather butchered substitute. A colourful epic novel has been turned into a short sharp narrative that almost seems to want to get the story over too quickly. There?s no time for real character development or to understand feelings and relationships. I was looking forward to listening to ?World Without End? ? but not unless there is an unabridged version.
"An interesting menagerie of characters"
I initially thought I?d made the wrong choice with this book as the story didn?t really grab me at first and it took time to come to grips with the many characters. Perseverance paid off though and I became absorbed in the often touching stories spanning several generations. There?s a great mix of characters, with an emphasis on women, in particular Ruby the narrator. Men take a back seat. The footnotes took a bit of getting used to but eventually won me over as a clever and effective means of weaving in detail without getting bogged down by a structured sequential narrative. Susan Jameson?s reading brings the book to life ? especially the humour.
"Original, entertaining and insightful"
What a great audiobook! And the dramatisation makes it come to life ? much better than just reading. The main character and narrator Christopher is a delightful creation and the supporting characters are all really well drawn. The book provides an absorbing and believable insight into the mind of a child with Asperger?s and helped me to understand a little more of the challenges of living with this condition and how family members cope. It is simultaneously heart-warming, witty and sad.
"An inviting dip into the past"
A strong flowing narrative which captured and held my attention. Each day I found myself looking forward to an enjoyable and colourful escape to the past and the events before, during and after the great war. The links between past and present work well as the elderly Grace slowly reveals her story. The ending is perhaps a little predictable but doesn?t detract from a satisfying tale. And this Australian thought the Australian narrator was clear and easy to listen to.
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