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  • Frankenstein | Mary Shelley

    Frankenstein

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 7 mins)
    • By Mary Shelley
    • Narrated By Derek Jacobi
    Overall
    (55)
    Performance
    (51)
    Story
    (50)

    The tale of Dr. Frankenstein and the horrendous monster he unleashes on the world when he tinkers with the laws of nature had almost as strange a birth as the monster itself. It was the product of one of the most famous ghost story telling sessions in history. Lord Byron, Percy Bysshe Shelley and several others were stranded on the shores of Lake Geneva during a particularly sodden summer.

  • Wuthering Heights | Emily Bronte

    Wuthering Heights

    • UNABRIDGED (13 hrs and 23 mins)
    • By Emily Bronte
    • Narrated By Juliet Stevenson
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (55)
    Performance
    (55)
    Story
    (53)

    The wild and passionate tale of Cathy and Heathcliff's impossible love for each other and its phenomenal setting on the blasted Yorkshire moors has to be one of the best-known love affairs in literature.

  • Persuasion | Jane Austen

    Persuasion

    • UNABRIDGED (7 hrs and 45 mins)
    • By Jane Austen
    • Narrated By Olivia Williams
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (7)
    Performance
    (7)
    Story
    (7)

    Persuasion tells the story of one of the most popular of literary heroines, the glorious Anne Eliot. Persuaded out of marrying the man she loves due to his not being a good enough match, Anne calmly and wittily takes us through her journey from her life as the middle daughter of a spendthrift and vain baronet through a sojourn in the marriage market that the City of Bath became in the 19th century to a final and merry resolution of the long search for the ideal match.

  • Treasure Island | Robert Louis Stevenson

    Treasure Island

    • UNABRIDGED (6 hrs and 57 mins)
    • By Robert Louis Stevenson
    • Narrated By Timothy West
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (50)
    Performance
    (47)
    Story
    (47)

    First conceived during a rainy summer holiday in the Highlands of Scotland in an attempt to amuse his stepson, Treasure Island began with the map. Young Lloyd Osbourne had drawn a crude version of an island, and Stevenson, looking over the boy's shoulder, began to elaborate, christening various curves and smudges the famed names of Skeleton Island and Spyglass Hill and finally adding the three red crosses marking the buried treasure.

  • Perfect Brilliant Stillness | David Carse

    Perfect Brilliant Stillness

    • UNABRIDGED (12 hrs and 1 min)
    • By David Carse
    • Narrated By Terence Stamp
    Overall
    (6)
    Performance
    (6)
    Story
    (6)

    The legendary British actor Terence Stamp reads the book that he says 'changed his life'. This is an exploration of our existence and a journey towards enlightenment. In what the author calls 'the fine print' at the start of the book, David Carse wrote: 'There are many books out there that will help you to live a better life, become a better person, and evolve and grow to realise your potential as a spiritual being. This is not one of them....'

  • The Mill on the Floss | George Eliot

    The Mill on the Floss

    • UNABRIDGED (20 hrs and 56 mins)
    • By George Eliot
    • Narrated By Fiona Shaw
    Overall
    (10)
    Performance
    (10)
    Story
    (9)

    The Mill on the Floss is one of the great works of English literature. It is perhaps the most autobiographical of all Eliot's novels. The relationship between its heroine, Maggie Tulliver, and her brother, Tom, closely resembles that of George Eliot and her own brother, Isaac. The subject of sibling affection was clearly a deeply poignant one for George Eliot - she also wrote a series of beautiful and evocative sonnets entitled 'Brother and Sister'.

  • The Secret Garden | Frances Hodgson Burnett

    The Secret Garden

    • UNABRIDGED (7 hrs and 58 mins)
    • By Frances Hodgson Burnett
    • Narrated By Virginia McKenna
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (16)
    Performance
    (15)
    Story
    (15)

    What the Narnia books did for wardrobes, The Secret Garden did for the walled garden. Few readers can fail to share with Mary Lennox that inexplicable thrill of anticipation at the notion of an enclosed and secret world, bursting with potential life and beauty but remaining hidden from view. As Mary herself observes, 'Here was another locked door, added to the hundred in the strange house'.

  • Plain Tales from the Hills | Rudyard Kipling

    Plain Tales from the Hills

    • UNABRIDGED (7 hrs and 2 mins)
    • By Rudyard Kipling
    • Narrated By Tim Piggott-Smith
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (14)
    Performance
    (14)
    Story
    (14)

    Rudyard Kipling's short stories of life in the British Raj began in 1888 as journalistic snippets written to supplement his more serious factual output when he was employed as the assistant editor, at the meagre age of 20, of the Lahori-based Civil and Military Gazette.

  • Lady Chatterley's Lover | D H Lawrence

    Lady Chatterley's Lover

    • UNABRIDGED (13 hrs and 5 mins)
    • By D H Lawrence
    • Narrated By Samantha Bond
    Overall
    (16)
    Performance
    (14)
    Story
    (13)

    The story of Lady Chatterley and her love for her husband's gamekeeper outraged the sensibilities of Edwardian England. Lawrence had already been dismissed as a purveyor of the obscene for the attitudes to sex that he had shown in The Rainbow, which had been fiercely suppressed on its publication in 1915. Chatterley, written in several versions around 1928 in Italy in the final part of Lawrence's life, was a deliberate choice on the author's part to address sex head on.

  • A Tale of Two Cities | Charles Dickens

    A Tale of Two Cities

    • UNABRIDGED (14 hrs and 17 mins)
    • By Charles Dickens
    • Narrated By Andrew Sachs
    Overall
    (16)
    Performance
    (13)
    Story
    (13)

    "It is a far, far better thing that I do, than I have ever done...." With these words and a superb act of bravery and sacrifice, one of the most badly behaved heroes of all time ends Charles Dickens' great tale of the French Revolution. This is a firework display of a book, a crackling picture of the ravages and excesses of starving, furious men and the astonishing acts of heroism that usually accompany them.

  • Evelina | Frances Burney

    Evelina

    • UNABRIDGED (16 hrs and 27 mins)
    • By Frances Burney
    • Narrated By Judi Dench, Finty Williams, Geoffrey Palmer
    Overall
    (15)
    Performance
    (15)
    Story
    (15)

    Fanny Burney's wickedly funny satire follows the trials and romantic adventures of the young and beautiful Evelina as she tries to make her way through 18th-century Britain handicapped by her three great problems: being poor, being illegitimate - and being a girl. Evelina was a raging best seller when it was first published in 1778 and is widely credited with being the first of the great British domestic novels. Burney was a direct influence on her immediate follower, Jane Austen.

  • Heart of Darkness | Joseph Conrad

    Heart of Darkness

    • UNABRIDGED (4 hrs and 28 mins)
    • By Joseph Conrad
    • Narrated By Toby Stephens
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (5)
    Performance
    (5)
    Story
    (5)

    Joseph Conrad's Heart of Darkness is an exploration of the nature of evil and how far a man can go towards it when released from the constraints of what can be called civilisation. Before beginning his life as a writer at the age of 36, Conrad spent 16 years as a merchant seaman. In 1889 he became captain of a steamboat in the Congo Free State, and the atrocities he witnessed there, perpetrated by the representatives of the Belgian colonial powers, led him to write what he called his Congo Diary.

  • My Lady Ludlow | Elizabeth Gaskell

    My Lady Ludlow

    • UNABRIDGED (7 hrs and 54 mins)
    • By Elizabeth Gaskell
    • Narrated By Susannah York
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1)
    Performance
    (1)
    Story
    (1)

    Lady Ludlow's appalling snobbery, prejudice and bred-in-the-bone conviction as to the superiority of the English aristocracy and their feudal way of life are deliciously tested, and found wanting, in this gently radical tale of the collapse of a social system. Elizabeth Gaskell's My Lady Ludlow is a brilliant picture of the shift in power in a rural northern village, from the velvety feudal Ludlows to the glitter of the new money rattling through the system courtesy of the brazen baker from Birmingham.

  • Washington Square | Henry James

    Washington Square

    • UNABRIDGED (6 hrs and 57 mins)
    • By Henry James
    • Narrated By Jennifer Ehle
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (6)
    Performance
    (5)
    Story
    (5)

    The battle between a father and a daughter is usually portrayed in literature as a struggle between a headstrong but feisty girl and a tradition-bound lead weight of a father. Henry James, of course, had to do it somewhat differently. He tells a story of an intelligent man riding the turn of the tide in mid-19th-century New York and watching what he sees as his numbingly dull and conventional daughter making the mistake of her life in her choice of husband.

  • A Study in Scarlet | Arthur Conan Doyle

    A Study in Scarlet

    • UNABRIDGED (4 hrs and 31 mins)
    • By Arthur Conan Doyle
    • Narrated By Richard E. Grant
    Overall
    (4)
    Performance
    (3)
    Story
    (3)

    In 1886 Arthur Conan Doyle, whilst struggling to make a success of a failing medical practice in Portsmouth, set about writing a novel in order to boost his income. He began a story about a fiercely intelligent sleuth called Sheridan Hope. A year later A Study in Scarlet was published, and one of the most successful of literary characters began to take hold of the public's affections.

  • The Picture of Dorian Gray | Oscar Wilde

    The Picture of Dorian Gray

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 20 mins)
    • By Oscar Wilde
    • Narrated By Crispin Bonham-Carter
    Overall
    (2)
    Performance
    (2)
    Story
    (2)

    The most personal of Oscar Wilde's works, The Picture of Dorian Grey was also one of the earliest. It was published in 1891 and caused immediate controversy and great notoriety for its writer. The story of an immensely beautiful and hedonistic boy whose conscience becomes separate from his body and housed in a portrait which slowly and hideously ages and decays in keeping with his increasing depravity whilst the boy himself remains untouched plays with all of Oscar Wilde's theories of art and life.

  • The Just So Stories | Rudyard Kipling

    The Just So Stories

    • UNABRIDGED (3 hrs and 20 mins)
    • By Rudyard Kipling
    • Narrated By Art Malik
    Overall
    (1)
    Performance
    (1)
    Story
    (1)

    'In the high and far off times...' begins Rudyard Kipling's 'How the Elephant Got His Trunk', and off we are taken by one of the most supreme storytellers into a world where children's questions are turned neatly on their heads, and questions are provided which, far from stopping the stream of enquiries, only serve to make it gush faster.

  • Joseph Andrews: The History of the Adventures of Joseph Andrews and His Friend Mr. Abraham Adams | Henry Fielding

    Joseph Andrews: The History of the Adventures of Joseph Andrews and His Friend Mr. Abraham Adams

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 54 mins)
    • By Henry Fielding
    • Narrated By Rufus Sewell
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (3)
    Performance
    (3)
    Story
    (3)

    Riotous, sexy and groundbreaking, Henry Fielding's Joseph Andrews: The History of the Adventures of Joseph Andrews and His Friend Mr. Abraham Adams, published in 1742, was one of the first English novels. Fielding was melding and parodying the two major forces battling for control of the fiction market at the time - the mock heroic, neoclassical tradition as practiced by Pope and Swift and the popular and populist fiction of the new novelists such as Defoe and Richardson.

  • Ivanhoe | Walter Scott

    Ivanhoe

    • UNABRIDGED (19 hrs and 53 mins)
    • By Walter Scott
    • Narrated By James Cosmo
    Overall
    (5)
    Performance
    (4)
    Story
    (4)

    This is one of Sir Walter Scott's greatest adventures, set amongst the roaring battles of the struggle between the Normans and the Saxons for control of medieval England. It deals with the rivalry between King Richard the Lion-Heart and his brother, John. We follow the adventures, skirmishes and romances of the hero, Ivanhoe, a Saxon knight loyal to King Richard, as he attempts to survive the England of King John alongside the disguised Richard and, of course, Robin Hood.

  • The Warden | Anthony Trollope

    The Warden

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 42 mins)
    • By Anthony Trollope
    • Narrated By Edward Fox
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (3)
    Performance
    (2)
    Story
    (2)

    Anthony Trollope's The Warden was the first of Trollope's hugely successful Barchester Chronicles, appearing in 1855 and reversing the rather unfortunate sales of his previous three novels. It concerns the story of Mr. Septimus Harding, Warden of Hiram's Hospital almshouses and Precentor of Barchester Cathedral.

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