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Judith

Ashby de la Zouch, United Kingdom
  • 5
  • reviews
  • 18
  • helpful votes
  • 8
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  • Julian Fellowes's Belgravia

  • By: Julian Fellowes
  • Narrated by: Juliet Stevenson
  • Length: 15 hrs and 47 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,611
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,484
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,483

Julian Fellowes's Belgravia is the story of a secret. A secret that unravels behind the porticoed doors of London's grandest postcode. Set in the 1840s, when the upper echelons of society began to rub shoulders with the emerging industrial nouveau riche, Belgravia is peopled by a rich cast of characters. But the story begins on the eve of the Battle of Waterloo in 1815. At the Duchess of Richmond's now legendary ball, one family's life will change forever.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Reminiscent of Georgette Heyer

  • By Lorna on 17-07-16

Great narration, poor novel.

Overall
2 out of 5 stars
Performance
5 out of 5 stars
Story
1 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 25-09-16

Juliet Stephenson did a fantastic job narrating this. But the story, set in early-to-mid 19th century, was full of 2-dimensional characters, a plot where the overall outcome could be predicted very early on and the quality of the prose made Jeffrey Archer look accomplished. I won't bother with any more of Fellowes' novels, though am sure this could be made into an excellent TV dramatisation, complete with wonderful costumes.

6 of 7 people found this review helpful

  • Post Captain

  • Aubrey-Maturin Series, Book 2
  • By: Patrick O'Brian
  • Narrated by: Ric Jerrom
  • Length: 18 hrs and 36 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 613
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 533
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 532

This tale begins with Jack Aubrey arriving home from his exploits in the Mediterranean to find England at peace following the Treaty of Amiens. He and his friend Stephen Maturin, surgeon and secret agent, begin to live the lives of country gentlemen, hunting, entertaining, and enjoying amorous adventures. Their comfortable existence, however, is cut short when Jack is overnight reduced to a pauper with enough debts to keep him in prison for life. He flees to the continent to seek refuge.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Post Captain

  • By John on 27-06-12

And most of the series still to come!

Overall
4 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 03-03-15

Thoroughly enjoyable. Rather slow to get going but pace quickened up towards the end. Dialogue is wonderful. Reading is superb.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Set in Darkness

  • By: Ian Rankin
  • Narrated by: James Macpherson
  • Length: 14 hrs and 16 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 297
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 238
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 237

Edinburgh is about to become the home of the first Scottish parliament in 300 years. As political passions run high, DI John Rebus is charged with liaison, thanks to the new parliament being resident in Queensbury House, bang in the middle of his patch. But Queensbury House has its own, dark past. Legend has it that a young man was roasted there on a spit by a madman. When the fireplace where the youth died is uncovered another more recent murder victim is found.

  • 3 out of 5 stars
  • Far too much 'rare-lish' from the reader

  • By Evolutionary Artefact on 23-08-12

Good story, shame about the reading.

Overall
3 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 10-11-12

This audio-book made me realise just how much difference the reader makes to what one thinks of a book. This narrator was the wrong choice. If he is Scottish, I am surprised, as his accent[s] were never convincing and I have to say that I was stunned at how many inhabitants of Edinburgh had accents from various parts of England. There were also too many areas where the narrator tripped up over where to stress a sentence and it was a struggle to make sense of what he was saying.

I don't know how much this influenced my appreciation of the book. I always enjoy Rebus, but am not sure that this was one of the best I have listened to. The Grieve family did not altogether convince me and I felt that there were unexplored back-stories [maybe they come together in a future book ...]. I also struggle with Cafferty - he didn't come across as sufficiently menacing and I don't know how much that was down to the way the book was read, or how Ian Rankin wrote it. But, in either case, whatever possessed Rebus to continually make himself vulnerable to him? I also thought that the process of identifying the murderer didn't quite work.

I like the setting in real time, the discussions around the birth of the Scottish Parliament and the harking back to previous periods in Scottish politics. Also the development of Siobhan. But I wasn't sure how convinced I was by the character of fellow-cop Linford. There is a good cast of supporting characters and, as ever, the city has a part all of its own.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

The Blackhouse cover art
  • The Blackhouse

  • By: Peter May
  • Narrated by: Steve Worsley
  • Length: 11 hrs and 24 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2,168
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,780
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,780

The Isle of Lewis is the most desolate and harshly beautiful place in Scotland. When a bloody murder on the island bears the hallmarks of a similar slaying in Edinburgh, police detective Fin Macleod is dispatched north to investigate. Since Fin himself was raised on the island, the investigation represents not only a journey home but a voyage into his past. Each year twelve island men sail out to a remote and treacherous rock called An Sgeir on a perilous quest to slaughter nesting seabirds.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • I loved this book

  • By Flint on 09-04-16

A good story, evocative setting.

Overall
3 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 01-07-12

I've not been sure how to rate this. On the one hand I was gripped by the story, kept wondering where it was going to go next and what was going to happen to the characters. On the other, I felt that it was poorly written, full of clichés and that there were aspects to the book that should have been firmly dealt with by editors.

So, starting with the weaknesses first: [this isn't really a spoiler as it happens at the beginning of the book] there was no necessity at all to inflict the death of a child on Fin. But, even more so, for that death to have occurred only a month before the beginning of the story was utterly unconvincing. One never had a sense of grief in Fin and the attitude of his boss in telling him he should be over it so soon was totally unrealistic. I also felt that the way he portrayed the young Fin, Artair and Marsali didn't work. Not in terms of their flirting or the way they wandered around the island on their own, which has been mentioned in other reviews, but their vocabulary and the content of their thoughts. He was much more convincing once the characters got to their teens. And I did think that there was rather a surfeit of tragedy in Fin's life. Perhaps the author felt that some of it was necessary so that other things that happened to Fin would be convincing because there was no one he could tell about what had happened to him.

On the plus side - I really enjoyed the evocation of life on Lewis. I chose to download this audio book because of my experience of holidays on the Outer Hebrides, and there was a real authentic tone to the book. I have no idea whether the author had ever been involved himself with guga hunting, but if he had not, I am sure he must have spoken at length to someone who had. I also wanted to know what happened to the main characters. The movement between past and present worked better than in many books and the change between first and third person narration worked well.

5 of 9 people found this review helpful

  • Middlemarch

  • By: George Eliot
  • Narrated by: Juliet Stevenson
  • Length: 35 hrs and 38 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,296
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 1,049
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,045

Dorothea Brooke is an ardent idealist who represses her vivacity and intelligence for the cold, theological pedant Casaubon. One man understands her true nature: the artist Will Ladislaw. But how can love triumph against her sense of duty and Casaubon’s mean spirit? Meanwhile, in the little world of Middlemarch, the broader world is mirrored: the world of politics, social change, and reforms, as well as betrayal, greed, blackmail, ambition, and disappointment.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • All consuming

  • By Caro on 27-04-11

The Archers as literature ...

Overall
4 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 28-04-12

Title a bit tongue in cheek, though there were parts of the book that were very slow and did not seem to advance either the characters or the plot/plots. What got me through the first half of the book, which really is too long, was Juliet Stevenson's utterly brilliant narration and ability to give life and individuality to so many characters. I have put an extensive review of my impressions on Goodreads. If you like everyday tales of country folk and enjoy Austen, Trollope or Hardy and have plenty of time for listening, you should give this a go. If you don't have much time, seek out an abridged version. And if the classics mentioned are not to your taste, you will hate this!

3 of 3 people found this review helpful