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Fran Brady

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  • The Sealwoman's Gift

  • By: Sally Magnusson
  • Narrated by: Katherine Manners
  • Length: 9 hrs and 51 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 195
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 177
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 175

In 1627 Barbary pirates raided the coast of Iceland and abducted some 400 of its people, including 250 from a tiny island off the mainland. Among the captives sold into slavery in Algiers were the island pastor, his wife and their three children. Although the raid itself is well documented, little is known about what happened to the women and children afterwards. It was a time when women everywhere were largely silent.  

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Best death scene written yet.

  • By cat on 10-06-18

spellbinding read

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

Reviewed: 09-03-18

What did you like most about The Sealwoman's Gift?

Such an unusual setting and era - opened a door on a part of history that we know so little about. Explored the unimaginable: what it would be like to be captured and sold into slavery. Went beyond the horror of that idea and told an absorbing tale of change, loss, hope and ultimate faithfulness.

What other book might you compare The Sealwoman's Gift to, and why?

Daughter of Fire and Ice

Similar part of the world. Unusual. A peep into a moment in history.

Which character – as performed by Katherine Manners – was your favourite?

Asta

If you made a film of this book, what would be the tag line be?

a life beyond the unimaginable: sold into slavery

Any additional comments?

Beautifully written; excellent pace; wonderful characters, sympathetically created and developed.

9 of 10 people found this review helpful

  • The Heart Goes Last

  • By: Margaret Atwood
  • Narrated by: Cassandra Campbell, Mark Deakins
  • Length: 12 hrs and 13 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 574
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 529
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 531

Margaret Atwood puts the human heart to the ultimate test in an utterly brilliant new novel that is as visionary as The Handmaid's Tale and as richly imagined as The Blind Assassin. Stan and Charmaine are a married couple trying to stay afloat in the midst of an economic and social collapse. Job loss has forced them to live in their car, leaving them vulnerable to roving gangs. They desperately need to turn their situation around - and fast.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Good but Atwood has done better

  • By Reena Kumar on 22-04-16

Engrossing Dystopia

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

Reviewed: 09-07-17

If you could sum up The Heart Goes Last in three words, what would they be?

fascinating, horrifying, satisfying

Who was your favorite character and why?

I didn't warm to any of them. They all had distasteful and/or wearisome attributes. But, even though I did not like any of the characters, this didn't spoil my enjoyment of a good story, expertly crafted.

What three words best describe Cassandra Campbell and Mark Deakins ’s voice?

Clever, wearing, appropriate - Cassandra
Humorous, illuminating, characterful - Mark

If you made a film of this book, what would be the tag line be?

An ingenious answer to the mass unemployment problem - or is it just a cover for something more sinister?

Any additional comments?

Consummate storyteller and inventive plot-spinner. A week in an MD book is always time well spent.

  • Lila: A Novel

  • By: Marilynne Robinson
  • Narrated by: Maggie Hoffman
  • Length: 8 hrs and 57 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 80
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 75
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 76

Lila, homeless and alone after years of roaming the countryside, steps inside a small-town Iowa church - the only available shelter from the rain - and ignites a romance and a debate that will reshape her life. She becomes the wife of a minister, John Ames, and begins a new existence while trying to make sense of the life that preceded her newfound security. Neglected as a toddler, Lila was rescued by Doll, a canny young drifter, and brought up by her in a hardscrabble childhood.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Brilliant

  • By Eileen Scholes on 19-11-17

Robinson ever disappoints

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

Reviewed: 24-08-15

Where does Lila: A Novel rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

Among the best

What did you like best about this story?

The gentleness of the text belies the strength and depth of the storyline and characters. Wonderful language, superb writing

What about Maggie Hoffman’s performance did you like?

She made me believe she WAS Lila! I never grew impatient despite the sometimes slow pace of the novel - that can be a problem with some novels as audios.

Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

Whenever the 'old man' spoke to Lila, especially when he confessed his own doubts about religious matters / biblical dicta. He is such a humble, lovable character. I want to meet him!

Any additional comments?

Please can this become a (well-made) film?

  • I Let You Go

  • By: Clare Mackintosh
  • Narrated by: David Thorpe, Julia Barrie
  • Length: 13 hrs and 16 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 3,349
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 3,088
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 3,071

A tragic accident. It all happened so quickly. She couldn't have prevented it. Could she? In a split second, Jenna Gray's world descends into a nightmare. Her only hope of moving on is to walk away from everything she knows to start afresh. Desperate to escape, Jenna moves to a remote cottage on the Welsh coast, but she is haunted by her fears, her grief, and her memories of a cruel November night that changed her life forever. Slowly Jenna begins to glimpse the potential for happiness in her future.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Fabulous debut!

  • By Ann D on 09-05-15

Perfect Plot-twister

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

Reviewed: 10-08-15

If you could sum up I Let You Go in three words, what would they be?

absorbing - astounding - angst-ridden!

What was one of the most memorable moments of I Let You Go?

When I realised that the woman who ran away was NOT the boy's mother but - it seemed, for a while, anyway - the hit-and-run driver. I exclaimed out loud - and frightened other dog-walkers!

What about David Thorpe and Julie Barrie ’s performance did you like?

Thought they were both very believable in character. JB was quite flat for someone in such a predicament but that was probably intentional to convey someone who has had all the spirit beaten out of her.
DT read Ian's part particularly well. I so hated him!

If you made a film of this book, what would be the tag line be?

She can run and run but he will always find her . . .

Any additional comments?

Intuitive writing. Knows when to describe and when to leave to reader's imagination. Creates a sympathetic character - but then pulls the rug out from under her - only to put it back in place just in time for a nail-biting ending. Clever!
If I had any dissatisfaction, it was with the last-minute rescue which was a bit of a cliché.

0 of 1 people found this review helpful