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  • 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'.

    Ms. H. C. Sutton says: "Beautifully read"
  • Silas Marner | George Eliot

    Silas Marner

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 8 mins)
    • By George Eliot
    • Narrated By Sian Phillips
    Overall
    (1)
    Performance
    (1)
    Story
    (1)

    Framed for a theft he didn't commit and expelled from the church which has been his life, Silas Marner, the weaver, exiles himself to the remote rural village of Raveloe to bury himself in making money with his loom. The arrival of a golden-haired orphan toddler at his door, however, drags the recluse back into the world and away from his obsession with his hoard.

    Alphaville says: "A welcome return to George Eliot"
  • Love Among the Haystacks and Other Stories | D H Lawrence

    Love Among the Haystacks and Other Stories

    • UNABRIDGED (5 hrs and 26 mins)
    • By D H Lawrence
    • Narrated By Geraldine James
    Overall
    (0)
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    (0)
    Story
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    This is a selection of D. H. Lawrence's short stories, mostly about women. Although much wider known for his novels and in particular for his forthright attitude to sex and its description in literature, it is for his short stories that Lawrence has most commonly gained critical acclaim. He was a beautiful creator of this most difficult of forms, giving us glimpses into the lives he describes in his stories, which often tell us more than full-length novels written by lesser hands.

  • 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.

  • Father and Son | Edmund Gosse

    Father and Son

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 19 mins)
    • By Edmund Gosse
    • Narrated By Geoffrey Palmer
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (2)
    Performance
    (2)
    Story
    (2)

    Everyone has a swipe at their parents and the way they were brought up at some point in their lives. Very few of us exact revenge to the extent that Edmund Gosse did upon his father in this superbly funny, agonising account of a very strange childhood. The subtitle of the book is A Study of Two Temperaments, and these were temperaments not destined to get on. Gosse, Sr. was an eminent naturalist and zoologist and a keen follower of the Plymouth Brethren.

    B. says: "Wonderful reading of a tender and funny memoir"
  • The Card | Arnold Bennett

    The Card

    • UNABRIDGED (7 hrs and 42 mins)
    • By Arnold Bennett
    • Narrated By Stephen Thompkinson
    Overall
    (0)
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    (0)
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    Written in 1911, The Card is the story of Edward Henry (Denry) Machin, who rises from washerwoman's son to the Mayor of Bursley (Burslem in the Potteries town of Stoke-on-Trent) via a mixture of gentle deceit and personal hype. He is literally a trickster of confidence. His rise to fame is begun at an exclusive ball to which he has got himself invited, where he has the audacity to claim a dance with the glamourous but imposing Countess of Chell.

  • The Warden | Anthony Trollope

    The Warden

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

  • Beowulf | Julian Glover

    Beowulf

    • ABRIDGED (1 hr and 14 mins)
    • By Julian Glover
    • Narrated By Julian Glover
    Overall
    (5)
    Performance
    (5)
    Story
    (5)

    The epic story of this hero's battle against dragons, monsters, and their mothers is particularly suited to being recorded as an audiobook given that for the first 300 years of its existence it was only ever spoken. The first known (and indeed the only surviving manuscript) of the poem was written in AD 1,000. It survived Henry VIII's attempts to destroy it (as a religious artifact) and a catastrophic fire that destroyed many other historical British documents.

    aaa says: "Beowulf"
  • The Man of Property | John Galsworthy

    The Man of Property

    • UNABRIDGED (12 hrs and 17 mins)
    • By John Galsworthy
    • Narrated By Michael Cochrane
    Overall
    (3)
    Performance
    (3)
    Story
    (3)

    The Man of Property, the first in the long series of novels written by John Galsworthy known as the Forsyte Saga, was written in 1906. It was the second novel that Galsworthy had published under his own name, the four novels previous to this being published privately under the pseudonym John Sinjohn. And, unlike its predecessors, it was a great success. It examined and dissected the habits, manners, snobberies and increasingly suffocating moral code of the upper-middle classes to which he belonged.

  • Washington Square | Henry James

    Washington Square

    • UNABRIDGED (6 hrs and 57 mins)
    • By Henry James
    • Narrated By Jennifer Ehle
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (5)
    Performance
    (4)
    Story
    (4)

    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.

  • In the Bleak Midwinter, Goblin Market and Other Poems | Christina Rosetti

    In the Bleak Midwinter, Goblin Market and Other Poems

    • UNABRIDGED (1 hr and 55 mins)
    • By Christina Rosetti
    • Narrated By Natascha McElhone
    Overall
    (1)
    Performance
    (0)
    Story
    (0)

    A collection of Rosetti's most well known and loved poetry. Alongside the famous beauty of Rosetti's 'In the Bleak Midwinter', 'Goblin Market' is a deceptively simple poem. The story of two sisters and their temptation, punishment and redemption, written in Christina Rosetti's characteristically songlike poetry, is easily passed over as a fable or fairy story. But there are several layers more to discover in this most intriguing of poems.

  • Robinson Crusoe | Daniel Defoe

    Robinson Crusoe

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 41 mins)
    • By Daniel Defoe
    • Narrated By David Warner
    Overall
    (3)
    Performance
    (2)
    Story
    (2)

    Robinson Crusoe is considered by many to be the first novel in the English language. The term 'Robinsonade' has even been coined to describe the various spin-offs of Robinson Crusoe. It is astonishing how much of the book has become part of the language; the very term 'Robinson Crusoe' has become synonymous with the concept of a castaway.

  • The Chronicles of Clovis | H. H. Munro - Saki

    The Chronicles of Clovis

    • UNABRIDGED (6 hrs and 15 mins)
    • By H. H. Munro - Saki
    • Narrated By Ian Richardson
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (6)
    Performance
    (5)
    Story
    (5)

    The Chronicles of Clovis, published in 1911, was the third in Saki (H. H. Munro)'s series of very funny and very vicious stories. As an insider, Saki was ideally poised to eviscerate the Edwardian middle class way of life, and his pitiless and magnetic sense of humour - teamed with an ability to wield that sharpest of writer's tools, the (very) short story - makes these some of the funniest and most quotable of tales. All of the running themes in Saki's work are here.

    Hawfinch says: "The Joy of Saki"
  • The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde | Robert Louis Stevenson

    The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde

    • UNABRIDGED (3 hrs and 6 mins)
    • By Robert Louis Stevenson
    • Narrated By Alan Howard
    Overall
    (1)
    Performance
    (1)
    Story
    (1)

    It was a nightmare from which he was furious to have been woken which triggered Robert Louis Stevenson's most successful and famous work. Having been stirred from what he termed 'a fine bogey tale', Stevenson set about putting his nightmare onto paper. It reputedly took him only three days to write, but the story of a split personality warring with itself between righteousness and immorality is as much a part of modern thought as it became in 1885.

  • The Railway Children | Edith Nesbit

    The Railway Children

    • UNABRIDGED (5 hrs and 57 mins)
    • By Edith Nesbit
    • Narrated By Margaret Tyzak
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (0)
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    (0)
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    (0)

    'My Daddy! My Daddy!' has become one of the most famous tearjerking lines. Bobby's cry as her father's figure appears through the mist of the steam train in this story of a family's stalwart struggle to keep calm and carry on when forced by the wrongful arrest of their father on spying charges to move from their idyllic life to a rundown cottage by a railway line has jerked the tears of generations of readers (and, in latter years, filmgoers and theatre audiences).

  • The Aspern Papers | Henry James

    The Aspern Papers

    • UNABRIDGED (3 hrs and 53 mins)
    • By Henry James
    • Narrated By Jeremy Northam
    Overall
    (2)
    Performance
    (2)
    Story
    (2)

    One of the wittiest and most scathing of Henry James' novellas, The Aspern Papers chronicles the attempt to extract the valuable letters of the famous and recently deceased poet Jeffrey Aspern from the hands of his past lover and formidable adversary in the battle Juliana Bordereau. The plot was reputedly suggested to James by a story he heard of an illicit attempt to get hold of several of Lord Byron's letters.

  • A Christmas Carol | Charles Dickens

    A Christmas Carol

    • UNABRIDGED (2 hrs and 53 mins)
    • By Charles Dickens
    • Narrated By George Cole
    Overall
    (3)
    Performance
    (2)
    Story
    (2)

    Christmas wouldn't be Christmas without A Christmas Carol. At the time Dickens was writing it, many of the time-honoured customs linked with Christmas were beginning to disappear. It is largely due to this book that we carry with us much of the imagery that is now associated with the traditional celebration and spirit of Christmas.

  • 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 Water Babies | Charles Kingsley

    The Water Babies

    • UNABRIDGED (7 hrs and 55 mins)
    • By Charles Kingsley
    • Narrated By Nicola McAuliffe
    Overall
    (0)
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    (0)
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    (0)

    There are very few children's stories that have raised as much outrage in grown-up politics as The Water Babies did when it first appeared in 1863. It was written by Charles Kingsley for his own little boy and shortly after he had been made tutor to the Prince of Wales.

  • 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.

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