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Janice

Sunderland, Tyne & Wear, United Kingdom
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The Pale Horseman
    Saxon Chronicles, Book 2
    
        By:
        












    





    





    
        
            
            
                
            
        
        Bernard Cornwell
    
    


    
    
        Narrated by:
        












    





    





    
        
            
            
                
            
        
        Tom Sellwood
    
    


    
    Length: 14 hrs and 31 mins
    162 ratings
    Overall 4.5
  • The Pale Horseman

  • Saxon Chronicles, Book 2
  • By: Bernard Cornwell
  • Narrated by: Tom Sellwood
  • Length: 14 hrs and 31 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 162
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 53
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 51

Uhtred, Northumbrian born, raised a Viking and married to a Saxon, is a formidable warrior, and he, together with the thoughtful and pious Alfred, Alfred's family, and a few of Uhtred's companions, are apparently all that remain of the Wessex leadership after a disastrous truce. Uhtred still thinks of rejoining his Danish foster brother and the victorious Vikings, but he finds a growing respect for the stubborn leadership of Alfred.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Superb second in a series.

  • By Andrew on 04-01-07

No pale imitation - this is as good as it gets

Overall
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 01-11-10

Want to know what it was like living in Saxon England, when all was in turmoil and the Danes were busy colonising the land? Want to understand how a young Northumbrian boy, taken in a Viking Raid, can become a warrior, grow to a man and be able to fight for both sides? Want to hear as if it was direct from his own lips? Then this fabulous audio recording is for you! It brings to life Uttrehd, an Earl's son, with all his strengths and weaknesses- his utter determination to get back to Bamborough and re-claim his land; his allegiances and loyalty to those Danes who raised him - yet his willingness to fight for King Alfred, whilst having utter contempt for the power and the pious ways of the King and of the priests who rule Alfred's life. There's double dealing all round and a whole cocktail of characters with their own agendas.

Yes, there's blood and gore, as Uttrehd's trusty sword 'Serpent Breath'does its work, but there's brilliant flashes of humour and irony too, to leaven the mix.

Tom Sellwood's narration is superb, as he carries us forward with the second book chronicling Uttrehd's life as a warrior, his marriage, his friendship with Leofric. The text is salty, it's stimulating, it's vibrant, its breathtaking in portraying the utter disregard for women, (or at least most of them) yet it is utterly captivating when the characters are so ably brought to life by Tom Sellwood. I loved the first book, and this one was a worthy successor. I've listened to it through twice in succession, so sorry was I that it had finished. Given the reviews I've read about the change of narrator for the following books, I am almost loath to try them... but I would encourage everyone to try these first two in the series - they're up there amongst the top 5 of the 100 audiobooks I've downloaded so far.

  • Evening Class

  • By: Maeve Binchy
  • Narrated by: Kate Binchy
  • Length: 14 hrs and 54 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 190
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 147
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 147

The Italian evening class at Mountainview School is like hundreds of others starting up all over the city. But this class has its own special quality - as the focus for the varied hopes and dreams of teacher and pupils alike. Aidan Dunne needs his new evening class project to succeed almost as much as his pupils do. They too are looking for something more: Bill to find a way to keep spendthrift Lizzie at his side and Fran to make sure that young Kathy finds her way out from behind the kitchen sink.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • A great way to spend your evening(s)

  • By Janice on 19-09-10

A great way to spend your evening(s)

Overall
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 19-09-10

This has to be my favourite of all Maeve Binchy's books, both the written and audio versions. A medley of characters, portrayed with generosity and sympathy, all embarking on the class for different reasons. I loved the way the back stories of the characters are melded together and how, the group moves forward together, to plan and then embark on their trip to Italy - which visit is the scene of some surprises for more than a few of them.

The marvellous 'Signora' - Nora - tugs at your heart with her heart warming simplicity and honesty and how good to have a love story where the key characters are not young, trendy, aspirational and career oriented 'thirty somethings' but instead are gently middle-aged with disappointments and disillusion behind them. Other individuals and couples in the story, similarly chime true and with the bonus of picking up some handy Italian phrases on the way, this novel is worth curling up with any evening, several times - it is always pleasant to revisit Mountain View - both in Italy and Ireland, to meet up again with these old friends. Hats off, again, to Kate Binchy, for her flawless and characterful narration.

8 of 8 people found this review helpful

  • Echoes

  • By: Maeve Binchy
  • Narrated by: Kate Binchy
  • Length: 18 hrs and 53 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 149
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 96
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 96

This is the story of two very different children growing up in a small Irish seaside town in the 50s and 60s. Shouting their hearts' desires into the echo cave, praying that their destiny will lead them far away from the town in which they live. Castlebay, in winter empty and grey with wind and sea spray, becomes all bustle and colour in the gaudy days of summer. The paths of these two characters are destined to criss-cross in a quite unforeseen way, and eventually both roads will lead back to Castlebay.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Binchy echoes strongly with real life

  • By Janice on 19-09-10

Binchy echoes strongly with real life

Overall
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 19-09-10

Another satisfying Maeve Binchy offering, dealing with class prejudice, education, aspirations, growing up and moral dilemmas seen from the viewpoint of the realistically drawn characters who populate Castlebay. Whilst involving some 'heavy' issues, dealing with traumas such as as post- natal depression, loss of religious vocation the story is leavened, as is usual with Binchy's novels, with light heartedness and humour which make the whole an intelligent and thought provoking read, with memorable and believable characters. As ever, Kate Binchy's narration of the book is a joy and adds pleasure to the whole experience.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • Charles Paris: The Dead Side of the Mic

  • A BBC Radio 4 full-cast dramatisation
  • By: Simon Brett, Jeremy Front
  • Narrated by: Bill Nighy, Suzanne Burden, Charlotte Green, and others
  • Length: 1 hr and 52 mins
  • Original Recording
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 194
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 142
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 139

Actor and reluctant sleuth Charles Paris is facing chaos on the domestic front. He’s lodging with his ex-wife Frances, and now their pregnant daughter has moved in as well. It’s all a bit much.... So he is over the moon when he lands a job on the BBC Radio Rep - but the ink is barely dry on his contract when a murder takes place in Broadcasting House. A young female studio manager is found dead in an editing suite, and Charles steps in to investigate....

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Great fun

  • By Helen on 07-10-11

Bill Nighy definitely on the right side of the mic

Overall
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 19-09-10

Never having read or listened to any of Simon Brett's work, I took a chance on this based on someone else's positive review. I am very glad that I did so. It introduced me to a new amateur 'sleuth', Charles Paris, splendidly portrayed by Bill Nighy. Enjoyed the whole experience and have to say, I've since treated myself to several early nights, with the naughty but sublimely sexy voice of Bill Nighy, (sorry, Charles Paris) murmuring in my ear!

1 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Emma

  • By: Jane Austen
  • Narrated by: full cast
  • Length: 5 hrs and 16 mins
  • Original Recording
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 57
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 37
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 37

Jane Austen's engaging and infuriating heroine sparkles in this superb full-cast BBC Radio 4 dramatisation, which stars Angharad Rees as Emma.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Appreciating Austen through an Engaging Emma

  • By Janice on 04-08-10

Appreciating Austen through an Engaging Emma

Overall
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 04-08-10

This one is easy to review - totally loved it!
Characterisation and period brought to life - a good story which didn't lose much (as is inevitable) in the editing to achieve the dramatisation.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • Room with a View (Dramatised)

  • By: E. M. Forster
  • Narrated by: Cathy Sara, Shiela Hancock
  • Length: 3 hrs and 41 mins
  • Original Recording
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 22
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 13
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 12

Lucy Honeychurch is an innocent abroad. Under the care of her well-meaning but infuriating chaperon, Cousin Charlotte, she is completing the final part of a conventional well-bred English upbringing: the Grand Tour. But the sensual atmosphere of the Florentine countryside exercises a strange power over Lucy's half-formed and untested character, as do her fellow guests at the Pension Bertolini.

  • 3 out of 5 stars
  • Room for improvement

  • By Janice on 04-08-10

Room for improvement

Overall
3 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 04-08-10

I was looking forward to this dramatisation but found myself somewhat disappointed and distracted by the 'overacting' by certain characters, if you can apply that term to radio dramatisation. Whilst the core story stands the test of time, for some reason many of the characters came across as too 'modern' for the period the story was portraying. Still worth a first listen though I won't put it amongst my favourites to listen to again (and again!).

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • And Then There Were None

  • By: Agatha Christie
  • Narrated by: Hugh Fraser
  • Length: 5 hrs and 36 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 377
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 288
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 287

Ten strangers, apparently with little in common, are lured to an island mansion off the coast of Devon by the mysterious U.N. Owen. Over dinner, a record begins to play, and the voice of an unseen host accuses each person of hiding a guilty secret. That evening, former reckless driver Tony Marston is found murdered by a deadly dose of cyanide. The tension escalates as the survivors realise the killer is not only among them but is preparing to strike again...and again.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • "Creepy" Christie. Brilliant !

  • By Susan Mansell on 28-01-16

Classic Christie keeps you guessing

Overall
4 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 04-08-10

This is one of the Christie's I first read as a teenager in the 60s (when it had a less politically correct name). None of which detracts from the craft Christie employs to bring together a group of diverse characters, each with their own secrets from the past, to an isolated island, where they are 'bumped off' one by one. The mechanism to get them there is a little contrived, but that is forgotten as the sense of menace and suspicion which imbues what follows builds up and increasingly affects the party and their actions. The lack of sympathy for the 'serving classes' struck me, but this is probably representative of Christie's time and background. It doesn't stop the book being a 'cracking good who dunnit?' though and the characters come through the narrators voice as being distinct and believable. The perpetrator and his/her motives are somewhat a surprise... or at least they were to me!

5 of 6 people found this review helpful

  • Bless This House

  • By: Norah Lofts
  • Narrated by: Michael Tudor Barnes, Nicolette McKenzie
  • Length: 15 hrs and 23 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 27
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 14
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 14

The house was built in the Old Queen's time: built for an Elizabethan pirate who was knighted for the plunder he brought home. It survived many eras, many reigns: it saw the passing of Cromwell and the Civil War. It became rich with an Indian Nabob and poor with a 20th century innkeeper. It saw wars, and lovers, and death. Children were born there, both heirs and bastards. It had ghosts and legends and a history that grew stranger with every generation.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Old favourite stands the test of time

  • By Janice on 04-08-10

Old favourite stands the test of time

Overall
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 04-08-10

first read this in the early 1960s and have re-read it periodically since then, though not for 10 years or so, so I was very encouraged to see Norah Lofts' work on audio. Her books don't appear in the local library and I haven't seen them offered in either chain or local bookshops. 'Bless this House' is typical of much of Norah Lofts 'historical'fiction - taking you on a journey through the lifetime of a particular house and the people who inhabit it. It was an engrossing listen with vivid characters brought to life by the narration and provided the backdrop and sense of atmosphere for the times each character lived through and the social mores and economic circumstances, which constrained their behaviour. I could see the house itself, 'Merravay', in my mind and felt for its gradual deterioration and its need to be loved and cherished by owners who appreciated it. A good introduction to listeners not familiar with Norah Lofts historical fiction. I am hoping an audio version of the' House at Old Vine' will be made at some time in the near future.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • Circle of Friends

  • By: Maeve Binchy
  • Narrated by: Kate Binchy
  • Length: 16 hrs and 34 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 239
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 187
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 186

In the small Irish town of Knockglen, best friends Bernadette ('Benny') and Eve are inseparable. Benny is an adored only child, and Eve, a poor, birdlike orphan brought up by nuns. On their first day at University College, Dublin, a fatal road accident brings the pair together with fellow students Nan Mahon and Jack Foley, and new friendships are quickly struck. Jack and Nan introduce Eve and Benny to a life of excitement and sophistication.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Brilliant!!!!

  • By Kate on 13-02-11

Complete Circle - Binchy satisfies on all counts

Overall
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 03-08-10

Maeve Binchy has done it again, this is one of her better books and the audio version helps bring to life those characters who spring off the page - cosseted and somewhat suffocated Benny, in love with the faithless handsome Jack; Eve her best friend,ever staunch and reliable; naughty Nan - whose beauty captures the eye but not the heart. You can almost imagine the awful Sean, wringing his hands in 'Uriah Heep' fashion, such is Kate Binchy's excellent narration which brings this circle of friends (and foes) to life. A feelgood tale which yet portrays some of the trials and tribulations of young people growing up in less permissive times,with a satisfying and somewhat surprising conclusion.

5 of 6 people found this review helpful

  • Tara Road

  • By: Maeve Binchy
  • Narrated by: Kate Binchy
  • Length: 5 hrs and 55 mins
  • Abridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 19
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 7
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars 6

When Danny Lynch tells his wife Ria that he has a young pregnant mistress, Ria thinks that her world has ended. Little does she know that within weeks a telephone call from America will open up a whole new world for her. Marilyn Vine, escaping from her own private demons, wants to exchange her house in Westville, New England, for a house in Dublin during a few summer weeks. Ria Lynch's big Victorian house in Tara Road is perfect.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • great listen

  • By grace cassar on 12-04-08

Maeve Binchy at her Best

Overall
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 03-08-10

Another pleasing tale from Maeve Binchy ... gentle yet dealing with sometimes painful subjects such as infidelity, domestic violence, bereavement and their impact. Great characterisation - I especially loved the hapless young Brian - saying out loud those things which made his families cringe. Also well drawn are the cool and false friend Rosemary; Ria's bustling mother 'Holly' forever 'only staying for a minute'; the charming philandering husband, Danny and the visiting American, Marilyn, dropped into this perplexing whirlpool of Irish friends and family knowing each other's business and being intimately involved in each other's lives. As ever, narrator Kate Binchy rises to the challenge of bringing this diverse range of characters to life. I felt that I could fly to Dublin, find then wander down Tara Road and meet these characters for real,on that well portrayed street.