• 9
  • reviews
  • 79
  • helpful votes
  • 13
  • ratings
  • Under a Pole Star

  • By: Stef Penney
  • Narrated by: Cathleen McCarron, Thomas Judd
  • Length: 20 hrs and 8 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 86
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 81
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 83

Follow the path to the freezing north. Follow your ambition. Follow your heart. Flora Mackie first crossed the Arctic Circle at the age of 12. Years later, in 1892, determination and chance lead her back to northern Greenland as a scientist at the head of a British expedition, defying the expectations of those who believe a woman has no place in that harsh world. Geologist Jakob de Beyn was raised in Manhattan. Yearning for wider horizons, he joins a rival expedition.

  • 3 out of 5 stars
  • Too long winded

  • By fieldfare on 15-10-17

Excessively long and numerous passages of sex spoil an entertaining story well told

3 out of 5 stars
5 out of 5 stars
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 12-01-17

Such a shame! Lovely evocative passages describing the polar landscape, fascinating insights into Inuit culture, unexplained deaths and a love story running through it all. So many elements that could have made a wonderful novel. But I have never read a book with so much, such prolonged and such explicit sex. Of course it's a powerful component of the lovers' story, but a substantial edit of all of their sexual encounters wouldn't affect the reader's sympathy for or understanding of their story and would have made the novel a considerably better read for me.

I nearly gave up on this book four or five times. Certainly not recommended for younger readers...

2 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • The Finkler Question

  • By: Howard Jacobson
  • Narrated by: Steven Crossley
  • Length: 12 hrs and 33 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars 128
  • Performance
    3.5 out of 5 stars 43
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars 45

Julian Treslove and Sam Finkler are old school friends. Despite a prickly relationship and very different lives, they've never quite lost touch with each other - or with their former teacher, Libor Sevick. Now all three are recently widowed, in their own way, and spend sweetly painful evenings together reminiscing. Until an unexpected violent attack brings everything they thought they knew into question.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Brilliant, dark, funny and a complete pleasure

  • By Deborah on 14-01-11

Why on earth did this win a Booker?!

2 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 09-01-11

I agree with the previous reviewer. Characters not particularly likeable or sympathetic, plot non-existent, too many and not very interesting or clever jewish jokes. This could have been illuminating and entertaining, but it was neither. I don't even think that it is particularly well-written. A rare disappointment from audible and from the Booker judges.

2 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • I Capture the Castle

  • By: Dodie Smith
  • Narrated by: Jenny Agutter
  • Length: 12 hrs and 18 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 679
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 546
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 538

"I write this sitting at the kitchen sink" is the first line of a novel about love, sibling rivalry, and a bohemian existence in a crumbling castle in the middle of nowhere. Cassandra Mortmin's journal records her fadingly glamorous stepmother, her beautiful, wistful older sister, and the man to whom they owe both their isolation and poverty: Father. The author of one experimental novel, and a minor cause celebre, he has since suffered from writer's block and is determined to drag his family down with him.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • funny and well written

  • By Patricia on 22-05-06

A breath of fresh air.

5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 09-09-09

Delightful story, charmingly told by Cassandra, young, inexperienced, introspective and as wonderfully candid about her own flaws and feelings as she is about those around her. The book is full of colourful characters, most of whom are extremely likeable. You find yourself willing the down-at-heel Mortmain family well, and yet you are constantly aware that their well-being hangs by the flimsiest thread. The story rewards virtue and as such was a great introduction to 'proper' literature to my 12 year old, who LOVES this, and has listened to it six times and read it as well. Highly recommended.

9 of 9 people found this review helpful

  • Vanity Fair

  • By: William Makepeace Thackeray
  • Narrated by: John Castle
  • Length: 31 hrs and 1 min
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 464
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 380
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 374

Set during the time of the Napoleonic Wars, this classic gives a satirical picture of a worldly society. The novel revolves around the exploits of the impoverished but beautiful and devious Becky Sharp who craves wealth and a position in society. Calculating and determined to succeed, she charms, deceives and manipulates everyone she meets. A novel of early 19th-century English society, it takes its title from the place designated as the centre of human corruption in John Bunyan's 17th-century allegory.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • A glorious romp of a novel!

  • By Clare on 24-08-09

A glorious romp of a novel!

5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 24-08-09

This may be an alarmingly big book, but this audio version is read with consummate skill, lashings of irony and knowing narratorial commentary delivered beautifully by the reader, and it flies by like a novel a fifth of its size.

Peopled with historical characters and situations, such as the battle of Waterloo, Thackeray almost fools his reader into believing this novel to be biography. But then his narrator is unable to resist clever asides and witty commentary, reminding us of the author's skill as a novelist and his presence. The narrator is unwilling to forgive any vanity or flaw however slight, and although Thackeray's subtitle announces that there is no hero, the colour and life breathed into his characters and the balance with which he portrays them makes it hard not to relate to them, and to love or loathe them with as great enthusiasm as if they were known to us in our own lives. Tubby Joss with his ridiculous waistcoats, the vile Osborne Snr, kind and loyal Dobbin and indomitable Becky and all of the other characters become part of your life for the few glorious hours in which you inhabit their crazy world.

Tremendously entertaining and easy to listen to, I heartily recommend this audio book to anyone who enjoys a good story well told.

47 of 49 people found this review helpful

  • Barchester Towers

  • By: Anthony Trollope
  • Narrated by: Timothy West
  • Length: 19 hrs and 6 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 331
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 257
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 258

Barchester Towers is the second of six in the series known as Chronicles of Barsetshire. Narrator Timothy West brings life to the story, begun in The Warden, of Mr. Harding and his daughter Eleanor. It chronicles the struggle for control of the English diocese of Barchester after one Bishop dies and a new one is selected. The rather incompetent new Bishop, Dr. Proudie, led by his formidable wife, and ambitious chaplain, Mr. Slope, begin to create turmoil with their desire to shake up the church establishment.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • West is best

  • By Francis on 28-10-08

What a joy!

5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 07-04-09

I cannot recommend this book highly enough. The reader's characterisations are brilliant, from the Bishop with his thin, weedy voice, to the conniving Mr Slope. I had forgotten what a great book this was, it is so much more entertaining than its predecessor, The Warden. The dry wit of Trollope and the social observation are glorious, he is recognisably the same author as that of The Warden, but he seems to have gained considerable confidence and really enjoys exploring the possibilities that various combinations of characters and situations provide him with. The novel is peopled with such wonderful characters, and so much incident that I defy anyone not to be entertained. And if you can get through this book without laughing out loud then I'll eat my hat!

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • Cloud Atlas

  • By: David Mitchell
  • Narrated by: Tim Pigott-Smith, Charles Collingwood, Jane Collingwood
  • Length: 7 hrs and 17 mins
  • Abridged
  • Overall
    3.5 out of 5 stars 124
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 41
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 40

A reluctant voyager crossing the Pacific in 1850; a disinherited composer blagging a precarious livelihood in between-the-wars Belgium; a high-minded journalist in Governor Reagan's California; a vanity publisher fleeing his gangland creditors; a genetically modified 'dinery server' on death-row; and Zachry, a young Pacific Islander witnessing the nightfall of science and civilisation....

  • 2 out of 5 stars
  • Miscast. Hacked the book to pieces. Read in full.

  • By Ross on 12-01-13

What a great read!

5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 27-08-08

I loved this book. Its structure is interesting with its interconnecting narratives, and the use of different actors really helps to delineate these clearly. It's so great to read a book that really demonstrates a breadth of imagination and style way beyond anything that I could come up with myself. Luisa Rey a compelling story, Robert Frobisher the most wonderfully flawed cad, Timothy Cavendish's desperate plight hilarious. Sloosha (apologies for spelling, know it must be wrong!) the only one that bemused me, I'll revisit it - certainly easier to grasp in audio than written version.
Anyway, if you like short stories this is a must, as it develops the genre further and tells them in ways which make you think about them long after you have finished reading. Always entertaining, by turns witty, alarming, uplifting, shocking, moving - a great read!

8 of 11 people found this review helpful

  • Heart of Darkness

  • By: Joseph Conrad
  • Narrated by: Ralph Cosham
  • Length: 3 hrs and 40 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 13
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 7
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 8

The story of the enigmatic Kurtz and his outpost in deepest Congo is superbly narrated by the gifted Ralph Cosham. Also included is The Lagoon, a story of courage and love in the South Pacific.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Deeply thought-provoking and beautifully read

  • By Clare on 28-07-08

Deeply thought-provoking and beautifully read

5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 28-07-08

This is a wonderful book, having recently read it I was amazed to discover how much hearing it added to the sense of mystery and of horror experienced. Highly recommended (but not if what you are after is light entertainment!)

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

Jane Eyre, Volume 1



        Charlotte Bronte

        Narrated by:



        Amanda Root

    Length: 10 hrs and 31 mins
    9 ratings
    Overall 4.8
  • Jane Eyre, Volume 1

  • By: Charlotte Bronte
  • Narrated by: Amanda Root
  • Length: 10 hrs and 31 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars 9
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars 2

One of the greatest love stories ever written, Jane Eyre is the tale of a young woman entangled with the powerful Mr. Rochester. What lurks in the attic at Thornfield, the ancestral home of the surly Mr. Rochester? Will the governess Jane Eyre discover his secret, and having discovered it, live to regret that knowledge? Battling inside Jane are passion and prudence; she struggles to survive the turmoil they cause.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Glorious book, wonderfully read.

  • By Clare on 08-06-08

Glorious book, wonderfully read.

5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 08-06-08

I LOVE this book! I have read it four or five times, but having it read to me was a real treat. The reader read with great understanding and added considerable depth to Jane's sufferings and triumphs.

This is a glorious book, romantic, suspenseful, tear-jerking and scream-out-loud frustrating at different times.

It has got to be on the top ten must-read books of all time.

  • The Woman in White

  • By: Wilkie Collins
  • Narrated by: various
  • Length: 25 hrs and 18 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 17
  • Performance
    2.5 out of 5 stars 3
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 3

When Walter Hartright encounters the "solitary figure of a woman, dressed from head to foot in white garments" on a lonely road, he is haunted by her. He falls in love with his employer's niece, Laura, because she resembles the mysterious woman. Laura, however, is betrothed to the evil Sir Percival, who wishes to marry her for her money. The woman in white, it turns out, is Anne Catherick, who was confined in an asylum by the evil Sir Percival because she knew a devastating secret about him.

  • 1 out of 5 stars
  • Terrible version!

  • By Clare on 11-03-08

Terrible version!

1 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 11-03-08

Novel is great fun, but don't be fooled by the brief audio snippet provided on the website into thinking that this is an English version, it is American - and how! Some of the readers are OK, but their 'English' accents are terribly mannered and weak at times. Two hideous examples of mispronunciation as well - 'Torquay' being the most memorable. Truly dire attempts at cockney and other regional accents as well. High point was a hilarious rendition of the effeminate hypochondriac Frederick Fairlie - extremely well-observed by actor.

Liked idea that there were different voices for each individual's 'testimony', it's just a shame that they were Americans making a largely feeble attempt at 'doing' English accents, accents which frequently slipped into their native American ones. (I haven't checked, but I imagine that this version is quite an old one. I don't think that this would pass rigorous standards set for modern versions.)

If you're not keen on American accents and have never read the book before steer clear - I don't think that this version would add anything to your enjoyment.

6 of 6 people found this review helpful