LISTENER

Campesque

  • 10
  • reviews
  • 5
  • helpful votes
  • 11
  • ratings
  • Heretics and Believers

  • A History of the English Reformation
  • By: Peter Marshall
  • Narrated by: Napoleon Ryan
  • Length: 35 hrs and 38 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 6
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 6
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars 6

Centuries on, what the Reformation was and what it accomplished remain deeply contentious. Peter Marshall's sweeping new history argues that 16th-century England was a society neither desperate for nor allergic to change, but one open to ideas of "reform" in various competing guises. This engaging history reveals what was really at stake in the overthrow of Catholic culture and the reshaping of the English Church. 

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • The best book on the subject I have read.

  • By Campesque on 30-07-18

The best book on the subject I have read.

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

Reviewed: 30-07-18

I have read several books on the subject of the Reformation, and this one is by far the best. The author presents the facts, and the characters involved, in a completely impartial light - very unusual when it comes to this particular subject matter. The story is told with wry humour, perfect in the context of our very particularly English Reformation. I didn't want this thought provoking book to end. The parallels with our modern post-EU Referendum society are striking. Napoleon Ryan's narration is perfect and makes very easy listening.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • Paris

  • By: Edward Rutherfurd
  • Narrated by: Jane Wymark, Jonathan Keeble
  • Length: 31 hrs and 10 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 205
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 186
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 188

Inspired by the haunting, passionate story of the city of lights, this epic novel weaves a gripping tale of four families across the centuries: from the lies that spawn the noble line of de Cygne to the revolutionary Le Sourds who seek their destruction; from the Blanchards whose bourgeois respectability offers scant protection against scandal to the hard-working Gascons and their soaring ambitions. Over hundreds of years, these four families are bound by forbidden loves and marriages of convenience; dogged by vengeance and murderous secrets , and brought together by the tumultuous history of their city.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • A great book - hard to follow in Audible format

  • By Penny on 29-11-13

Another brilliant read from Edward Rutherford.

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

Reviewed: 18-06-18

A gripping story from beginning to end, following several Parisian families from the Belle Epoch of the 1880s through to 1969, with flashbacks from the medieval period onward. The families concerned, from the aristocrats to the workers, cross paths over the centuries and affect each other's lives.

Very enjoyable narration by Jane Wymark (of Midsomer Murders fame) and Jonathan Keeble.

  • The Viceroy's Daughters

  • By: Anne de Courcy
  • Narrated by: Sara Coward
  • Length: 16 hrs and 54 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 70
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 48
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 48

The sisters saw British fascism from behind the scenes and had an equally intimate view of the arrival of Wallis Simpson and the marriage and life of the Windsors. Based on unpublished letters and diaries, this is a wonderfully revealing portrait of British upper-class life during the first half of the 20th century.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Part of the British Aristocracy Network

  • By Alison on 16-08-16

An excellent bedtime audio book

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

Reviewed: 31-03-18

A fascinating story of three sisters who led amazing lives in an important period in English history. Their friends included royalty, politicians of diverse and opposing views and representatives of the arts.
This story provides an insight into the main characters who held influence and helped to shape the course of history. The selfishness of some of the characters is truly amazing, especially the Windsors and suspect that many people in England realised that Wallis Simpson in many ways did our country a favour because I fear that as a king her husband would have been a disaster.

  • The Time Traveller's Guide to Restoration Britain

  • By: Ian Mortimer
  • Narrated by: Greg Wagland
  • Length: 19 hrs and 15 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 381
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 346
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 349

If you could travel back in time, the period from 1660 to 1700 would make one of the most exciting destinations in history. It's the age of Samuel Pepys and the Great Fire of London, bawdy comedy and the libertine court of Charles II, Christopher Wren in architecture, Henry Purcell in music and Isaac Newton in science. In The Time Traveller's Guide to Restoration Britain, Ian Mortimer answers the crucial questions that a prospective traveller to 17th-century Britain would ask.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Informative, interesting and entertaining history

  • By Kirstine on 21-09-17

Simply wonderful.

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

Reviewed: 28-02-18

I love my history, and the 17th century is a favourite period. I have devoured Samuel Pepys's diary in it's entirety, and numerous other books from the period and, apart from the diary, this has been my absolute favourite. I really enjoyed my travels in Restoration Britain, experiencing every aspect of daily life to the full.

I listened to the audiobook and the narrator was a very pleasant companion. I didn't want the book to end and will be journeying back to Mediaeval England with the same author next!

  • The Private Lives of the Tudors

  • Uncovering the Secrets of Britain's Greatest Dynasty
  • By: Tracy Borman
  • Narrated by: Jonathan Keeble, Sandra Duncan
  • Length: 15 hrs and 17 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 324
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 295
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 298

The Tudor monarchs were constantly surrounded by an army of attendants, courtiers and ministers. Even in their most private moments, they were accompanied by a servant specifically appointed for the task. A groom of the stool would stand patiently by as Henry VIII performed his daily purges, and when Elizabeth I retired for the evening, one of her female servants would sleep at the end of her bed. These attendants knew the truth behind the glamorous exterior.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Utterly absorbing!

  • By Gabrielle Harvey-Jones on 19-06-16

A fast paced, interesting book.

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

Reviewed: 18-02-18

A nice insight into the history we don't often hear - the nitty-gritty aspects of royal life in Tudor England, which we can all relate to. What they ate and drank, what they wore, how often they had a bath, how they coped with childbirth and other women's health issues, as well as the history of the times. I have read a lot about the Tudors, but this book was different and I really enjoyed it.

The performance of the main narrator was excellent, but the voice delivering the quotes was absolutely awful.

  • The Six Wives of Henry VIII

  • By: Alison Weir
  • Narrated by: Simon Prebble
  • Length: 22 hrs and 26 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 288
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 260
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 254

This acclaimed best seller from popular historian Alison Weir is a fascinating look at the Tudor family dynasty and its most infamous ruler. The Six Wives of Henry VIII brings to life England’s oft-married monarch and the six wildly different but equally fascinating women who married him. Gripping from the first sentence to the last and loaded with fascinating details, Weir’s rich history is a perfect blend of scholarship and entertainment.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Nothing short of excellent

  • By mollymoon1 on 31-08-13

The best book I've listened to in ages.

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

Reviewed: 08-02-18

Too often the wives of Henry VIII are recorded by history as mere appendages of the man himself. This book addresses this imbalance and gives insight, not only of the characters of the women themselves, but also of what it meant to be a high-born woman in these times.

The story is fast paced and I had a few very late nights, as I couldn't bear to stop listening! I have read other books on the subject, but this is the only one that really looks at the events from the woman's point of view and treats them without pre-conceived judgement.

The narrator was very pleasant to listen to, which always helps. If you are interested in the Tudor period, and the role of women in society and the political sphere, I cannot recommend this book highly enough.

  • The Fall of the House of Wilde

  • Oscar Wilde and His Family
  • By: Emer O'Sullivan
  • Narrated by: John Telfer
  • Length: 18 hrs and 43 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 21
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 21
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 21

The Fall of the House of Wilde for the first time places Oscar Wilde as a member of one of the most dazzling Anglo-Irish families of Victorian times and in the broader social, political and religious context. A remarkable and perceptive account, this is a major repositioning of our first modern celebrity, a man whose own fall from grace in a trial as public as his father's marked the end of fin de siècle decadence.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Intelligent and thought provoking.

  • By Campesque on 29-01-18

Intelligent and thought provoking.

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

Reviewed: 29-01-18

Oscar Wilde is a name familiar to most of us. It immediately calls to mind his clever, satirical drawing room comedies, holding a mirror up to the pretentions and hypocrisies of late Victorian society. Most of us are also aware of his homosexuality, in an age when this kind of love was seen in the eyes of the law as almost equivalent to the taking of another human life.

I knew absolutely nothing about where Oscar came from, or the family that shaped him. This book tells the story of Oscar and the family he was born into. His clever father, a doctor, antiquarian, and amateur archaeologist; his intellectual, free-thinking, devoted mother; and his sometimes-charming alcoholic brother.

This book tells the story of their lives and the ultimate self-destructive impulse that coloured the lives of Oscar and his brother. The true hero of the tale is Oscar's mother. An independent minded, inspirational woman of her time.

The author also provides intelligent interpretations and critiques of Oscar's work.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • The Mistresses of Cliveden

  • By: Natalie Livingstone
  • Narrated by: Carole Boyd
  • Length: 15 hrs and 35 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 48
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 43
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 43

From its dawn in the 1660s to its twilight in the 1960s, Cliveden was an emblem of elite misbehaviour and intrigue. Conceived by the Duke of Buckingham as a retreat for his scandalous affair with Anna-Maria, Countess of Shrewsbury, the house later served as the backdrop for the Profumo affair. In the 300 years between, the house was occupied by a dynasty of remarkable women each of whom left their mark on this great house.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Much More Than A Book About A House

  • By Alison on 28-02-17

Gripping good story.

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

Reviewed: 17-01-18

A fascinating insight into the life of a stately home, and the mistresses of the house, from the 17th to 20th centuries. This book covers two centuries of royal connections with the house, and a century of the political and personal intrigues of the Astor family. The story is fast paced and highly entertaining. The only criticism I have is that I found the narrator rather irritating, but this is probably a matter of personal taste.

  • Charles Dickens

  • A Life
  • By: Claire Tomalin
  • Narrated by: Alex Jennings
  • Length: 16 hrs and 30 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 387
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 245
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 244

The unabridged, downloadable audiobook edition of Charles Dickens: A Life, the major new biography from the highly acclaimed Claire Tomalin, published for the 200th anniversary of his birth. Read by the actor Alex Jennings.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • As lively a story as a good novel

  • By Kirstine on 27-01-12

Fast-paced riveting read from beginning to end.

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

Reviewed: 29-11-17

A subject like Dickens must be a biographer's dream, and Claire Tomalin has certainly done her subject proud. Dickens was a flawed genius, and the shadow side of his character is brought into the light along with his gifts to the world. This book is a fascinating insight into a very complex character. I REALLY enjoyed listening to it.

  • Black Diamonds

  • The Rise and Fall of an English Dynasty
  • By: Catherine Bailey
  • Narrated by: Gareth Armstrong
  • Length: 15 hrs and 12 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 635
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 436
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 435

Wentworth is today a crumbling and forgotten palace in Yorkshire. Yet just 100 years ago it was the ancestral pile of the Fitzwilliams' - an aristocratic clan whose home and life were fuelled by coal mining. This is the story of their spectacular decline: of inheritance fights; rumours of a changeling and of lunacy; philandering earls; illicit love; war heroism: a tragic connection to the Kennedys'; violent deaths: mining poverty and squalor; and a class war that literally ripped apart the local landscape.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Brilliant!

  • By Colin on 19-02-09

Fascinating riproaring read.

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

Reviewed: 17-11-17

This book has it all - searing social history and family intrigue among Britain's ruling classes. The moneyed ruling classes, the exploited workforce, and a century of social change is the backdrop to this gripping read. The cast list is a veritable who's who of 20th century high society - including US new money, the Kennedy family. I particularly liked the narrators character voices. They give the book some very amusing moments.