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Jenny

  • 5
  • reviews
  • 17
  • helpful votes
  • 45
  • ratings
  • A History of Britain in 21 Women

  • By: Jenni Murray
  • Narrated by: Jenni Murray
  • Length: 8 hrs and 28 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 706
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 646
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 635

Britain has been defined by its conflicts, its conquests, its men and its monarchs. To say that it's high time it was defined by its women is a severe understatement. Jenni Murray draws together the lives of 21 women to shed light upon a variety of social, political, religious and cultural aspects of British history. In lively prose Murray reinvigorates the stories behind the names we all know and reveals the fascinating tales behind those less familiar.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Very enjoyable and interesting

  • By Mrs C.J D'Elia on 12-10-16

An enlightening and interesting book.

Overall
5 out of 5 stars
Performance
5 out of 5 stars
Story
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 18-05-18

I don’t necessarily agree with everything Jenni Murray has written, but I respect her point of view and her choices. I was interested to learn about significant women of whom I had never heard as well as learning more about women I was already aware of.
This was an interesting and enlightening listen, well read by the author and I have already recommended it to friends.

Life of Pi
    
    
        By:
        












    





    





    
        
            
            
                
            
        
        Yann Martel
    
    


    
    
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        Jeff Woodman
    
    


    
    Length: 11 hrs and 41 mins
    969 ratings
    Overall 4.3
  • Life of Pi

  • By: Yann Martel
  • Narrated by: Jeff Woodman
  • Length: 11 hrs and 41 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 969
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 588
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 591

Pi Patel has been raised in a zoo in India. When his father decides to move the family to Canada and sell the animals to American zoos, everyone boards a Japanese cargo ship. The ship sinks, and 16-year-old Pi finds himself alone on a lifeboat with a hyena, an orangutan, a zebra with a broken leg, and a 450-pound Bengal tiger.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Nice as Pi

  • By Sandra on 17-12-06

Unbelievable but very satisfying

Overall
5 out of 5 stars
Performance
4 out of 5 stars
Story
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 05-05-15

Loved listening to this story (despite minor elements of pronunciations which grated - e.g. buoy). Particularly enjoyed discussions on religion in the early chapters and the verbal sparring with the Japanese investigators.
Well constructed narrative of an unbelievable story and a brief tale of a more believable but far less satisfying version later on.

The Spy Who Loved
    
    
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        Clare Mulley
    
    


    
    
        Narrated by:
        












    





    





    
        
            
            
                
            
        
        Maggie Mash
    
    


    
    Length: 16 hrs and 49 mins
    68 ratings
    Overall 3.9
  • The Spy Who Loved

  • By: Clare Mulley
  • Narrated by: Maggie Mash
  • Length: 16 hrs and 49 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 68
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 62
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 62

In June 1952, a woman was murdered by an obsessive colleague in a hotel in South Kensington. Her name was Christine Granville. That she died young was perhaps unsurprising, but that she had survived the Second World War was remarkable. She was one of Britain’s most daring and highly decorated secret agents, and the intelligence she gathered was a significant contribution to the Allied war effort.

  • 3 out of 5 stars
  • Marred by the narration

  • By iris on 27-04-14

A tedious narration of an enthralling tale

Overall
3 out of 5 stars
Performance
3 out of 5 stars
Story
3 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 28-01-15

Did the narration match the pace of the story?

The narration became rather annoying and hard to follow due to Maggie Mash's insistence of using accents for reported speech from eye witnesses. Had she simply continued to read in her own voice, without the pauses that came before and after each 'voice', the story would have flowed much better.

Any additional comments?

Christine Granville, born Countess Kyrstyna Skarbek, was a Polish agent of the Special Operations Executive during World War II, and reportedly, "Churchill's favourite spy". A woman of extraordinary dedication, bravery and resourcefulness, she is a true heroine of the period, even if she may have been, ultimately, a little unbalanced.


I almost put this book down unfinished, but I am so glad that I didn't. I must have been about half way through before I finally engaged with her story and found myself really interested in what would happen next. The author seems to have had a rather academic approach to this book and, for me, there was too much background and heavy detail which made it seem as though Mulley was determined to ensure all of her careful and thorough research was included, at the expense of pace and suspense. On many occasions I became confused with the names of the many people involved in Christine's life and found myself jumping backwards and forwards trying put everything straight in my mind.

Christine poses in the wreckage of a bridge she and the French resistance had just blown up in southern France. © Imperial War Museum

It wasn't until I reached Christine's work as an SOE agent in occupied France, that the story came alive for me. Her work with the Maquis is the stuff of legend and this is where I found myself becoming engrossed, unwilling to put the book down, wanting to know what would happen next. The risks that she took on behalf of others are astounding and show how fiercely determined and addicted to danger she was. That she achieved what she did as a woman in what was most definitely a man's world is almost unbelievable and there are many, many men who owed their lives to her tenacity and her actions.


Members of the Maquis and British officers in the Queyras Valley. Left to right: Gilbert Galletti, Captain Patrick O'Regan, Captain John Roper, Christine Granville (Countess Krystyna Skarbek) and Captain Leonard Hamilton (Blanchaert). © Imperial War Museum


I found it unthinkably sad that after all her efforts during the war, Christine Granville was effectively cast aside by both the British government and indeed the very country she had worked for when the war came to an end. The bureaucracy that she had to content with in order to gain her certificate of naturalisation and subsequently her British Citizenship was appalling. The difficulties she had finding employment in post-war England due to her nationality and gender were unforgivable.

Christine came across at times as a spoilt child who always wanted, and indeed expected, to get her own way. She was a ferociously driven and independent individual. She was admired by men, who saw her grace and beauty, but less so by women who saw her as 'nothing special'. Indeed, many men felt more than simple admiration for Christine and it would appear that she was never lacking a romantic liaison or a bedfellow when she felt the need for one. And I suppose this is where the title for her biography came from. "The Spy Who Loved" is an unfortunate label for this remarkable woman. It sensationalises one element of her obviously very complex character - her promiscuousness. For a woman who was willing to sacrifice everything for the war effort, to support the allies and ultimately to see her country free, it seems grossly unfair that it is this element that has been showcased, presumably in order to sell the book telling her amazing story.

It is tragic that her death, almost innevitably at the hands of a reportedly jilted lover, in a hotel lobby in 1952 meant that she did not live to see her beloved homeland, Poland, become a free country.


  • Endurance

  • Shackleton's Incredible Voyage
  • By: Alfred Lansing
  • Narrated by: Simon Prebble
  • Length: 10 hrs and 20 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars 1,777
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 1,624
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars 1,623

In August of 1914, the British ship Endurance set sail for the South Atlantic. In October, 1915, still half a continent away from its intended base, the ship was trapped, then crushed in the ice. For five months, Sir Ernest Shackleton and his men, drifting on ice packs, were castaways in one of the most savage regions of the world.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Enthralling

  • By penobscott on 10-07-17

A suspenseful and sensitive account.

Overall
5 out of 5 stars
Performance
5 out of 5 stars
Story
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 05-01-15

It is utterly amazing to me, someone used entirely to creature comforts and the modern world, that these men were even willing to set out on their expedition. What they had to endure in order to survive and the decisions they had to make seem unimaginable as I sit here on my sofa listening.

Endurance is a very well written account of these men's adventures. Filled with suspense and pace I listened to the whole 10 hour book in just two sittings and was riveted throughout.

The narrator, Simon Prebble, is perfect! I would definitely listen to another book narrated by him.

6 of 9 people found this review helpful

  • Burial Rites

  • By: Hannah Kent
  • Narrated by: Morven Christie
  • Length: 11 hrs and 58 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 861
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 798
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 804

In northern Iceland, 1829, Agnes Magnúsdóttir is condemned to death for her part in the brutal murder of her lover. Agnes is sent to wait out her final months on the farm of district office Jón Jónsson, his wife and their two daughters. Horrified to have a convicted murderer in their midst, the family avoid contact with Agnes. Only Tóti, the young assistant priest appointed Agnes’ spiritual guardian, is compelled to try to understand her. As the year progresses and the hardships of rural life force the household to work side by side, Agnes’ story begins to emerge and with it the family’s terrible realization that all is not as they had assumed.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Agnes - understanding the human being

  • By Kaggy on 27-06-14

A moving and well-woven story

Overall
4 out of 5 stars
Performance
4 out of 5 stars
Story
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 28-10-13

Any additional comments?

Burial Rites is a beautifully and sensitively written and told story based in historical fact. The author has woven a magical atmosphere that allows the listener to completely immerse themselves in the lives of the characters and the settings in which they experience their difficult lives.

Agnes' character is carefully and sympathetically crafted and unfolds gradually as the story progresses, always leading the listener further and further into her tale. Alongside this, there is the simple, loyal and honest Steiner who I would like to get know better, and her sister Leica who doesn't seem to me to be the beauty that she is described as.

Morven Christie's narration is a tad too slow for my liking, but her softly spoken manner matches the nature of the narrative perfectly. This is the first of her narrations that I have had the pleasure of listening to and I found her voice to be soothing despite the sometimes difficult material - a combination of narrator and story which together create an almost daydream like experience.

11 of 11 people found this review helpful