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GlosterLass

Forest of Dean, UK
  • 12
  • reviews
  • 36
  • helpful votes
  • 80
  • ratings
  • Dear Mrs Bird

  • By: AJ Pearce
  • Narrated by: Anna Popplewell
  • Length: 9 hrs and 49 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 714
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 657
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 659

London, 1940. Emmeline Lake and her best friend, Bunty, are trying to stay cheerful despite the Luftwaffe making life thoroughly annoying for everyone. Emmy dreams of becoming a Lady War Correspondent, and when she spots a job advertisement in the newspaper she seizes her chance - but after a rather unfortunate misunderstanding, she finds herself typing letters for the formidable Henrietta Bird, the renowned agony aunt of Woman's Friend magazine.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Wartime tale of writing, bravery & soldiering on

  • By K. J. Noyes on 12-04-18

Jolly good show!

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

Reviewed: 22-07-18

I loved this gently funny and sad book - set in the 2nd WW in London, during the Blitz. It’s a story of a determinedly wannabe career-girl, who takes her dream job as a reporter only to discover she’s accidentally landed a job working as a lackey for the Agony Aunt in a women’s magazine. Not only that, but she is assigned the task of weeding through the letters that come in and discarding any that have the faintest whiff of scandal - women seeking solace from their loneliness, girls falling for ‘not one of ours’, and so on. And before long she takes pity on these readers and starts replying to them.
I loved the characters and how the narrator brought them to life. The plot was a little predictable but somehow that made it all the more sweet. The language used was perfect for the era.
This is a novel about friendship, about small delights, about bullying, and about understanding that everyone has a battle to fight.
For the women (and men) left behind, this novel illustrates perfectly the paradox of the attitude of ‘keep smiling through’; in itself a burden and added strain, it also kept them going, through tragic and terrifying times.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Memento Mori

  • Roman Empire Series, Book 8
  • By: Ruth Downie
  • Narrated by: Simon Vance
  • Length: 10 hrs and 40 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 57
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 52
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 52

A scandal is threatening to engulf the popular spa town of Aquae Sulis (modern-day Bath). The wife of Ruso's best friend, Valens, has been found dead in the sacred hot spring, stabbed through the heart. Fearing the wrath of the goddess and the ruin of the tourist trade, the temple officials are keen to cover up what's happened. But the dead woman's father is demanding justice, and he's accusing Valens of murder. If Valens turns up to face trial, he will risk execution. If he doesn't, he'll lose his children.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • The odd couple in Bath

  • By Mary Carnegie on 14-04-18

The best yet! But weird accent for Albany’s?

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

Reviewed: 12-04-18

Loved this latest Roman murder-mystery from Ruth Downie - why this author is not more widely known I can’t understand, she should regularly be in the bestsellers list in my opinion.
This one is based in Aqua Sulis (Bath) and I found it fascinating, having recently visited here. I could envisage things so clearly and, as ever, history really came to life under Ruth Downie’s story-telling skills. Ruso’s best friend is accused of murdering his wife - so of course he must go to help investigate, taking his family with him, and meeting up with well-known characters Albanus and Varina when he arrives.
I love how the narrator voices Ruso but always had a question mark over why his wife Tilla (who hails from ‘north of the wall’) is given an Irish accent . . But now Albanus, Ruso’s one time earnest clerk and now school-teacher, has suddenly developed the oddest accent which he didn’t have in the other books . . Trying to pin this down, it could be Scottish, could be Italian, or a strange mix of European accents? I’m not sure even the narrator knew. It’s very uncomfortable and jarring. Albanus had the perfect voice before, gently English, intelligent yet deferential; why was it changed?
So (sadly), I had to mark the performance down, but everything else about this book is brilliant.
Loved it!
Keep ‘em coming, Ms Downie!

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Persona Non Grata

  • A Novel of the Roman Empire
  • By: Ruth Downie
  • Narrated by: Simon Vance
  • Length: 10 hrs and 16 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 91
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 83
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 82

At long last, Gaius Petreius Ruso and his companion, Tilla, are headed home - to Gaul. Having received a note consisting only of the words "COME HOME!" Ruso has (reluctantly, of course) pulled up stakes and brought Tilla to meet his family. But the reception there is not what Ruso has hoped for: no one will admit to sending for him, and his brother Lucius is hoping he'll leave.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Festina lente

  • By Rogayah on 03-12-16

Another wonderfully researched Roman Whodunit

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

Reviewed: 19-09-17

The third book in the Ruso series. It's every bit as good as the first two! This time Ruso and Tilla travel to Italy, summoned by a note from his home. He arrives to discover his family on the brink of bankruptcy and flatly denying they sent for him. His brother in law has been killed and his sister is demanding her dowry. Within days, Tilla is being treated as a slave, and their creditor (who happens to be married to Ruso's ex-wife) has dropped dead in Ruso's study. Then things really start to go downhill . .
As ever, Ruso's eye-rolling 'not again' attitude and Tilla's practical nature are great fun as they struggle through an adventure with many twists and turns.
I loved every minute of it and can't wait for the next one.

  • Medicus

  • A Novel of the Roman Empire
  • By: Ruth Downie
  • Narrated by: Simon Vance
  • Length: 11 hrs and 50 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 208
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 191
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 188

Gaius Petrius Ruso is a divorced and down-on-his-luck army doctor who has made the rash decision to seek his fortune in an inclement outpost of the Roman Empire, namely Britannia. After a 36-hour shift at the army hospital, he succumbs to a moment of weakness and rescues an injured slave girl, Tilla, from the hands of her abusive owner. And before he knows it, Ruso is caught in the middle of an investigation into the deaths of prostitutes working out of the local bar.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • I'm hoping a successor to Falco!

  • By Mary Carnegie on 18-10-16

A brilliant 'whodunnit' set in Roman Britain

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

Reviewed: 01-06-17

As a lover of historical fiction and murder-mysteries, I was delighted to discover 'Medicus' set in Roman Britain. It's beautifully written with very believable characters and the plot twists and turns, keeping you guessing. I was slightly irritated by the narrator giving the British 'Tilla' an Irish accent, I couldn't fathom the reason for that, especially as members of her tribe were given accents that sounded more Northern, and why Roman doormen were given harsh South London accents. But this was the only gripe - the rest of the narration was excellent, a pleasant voice to listen to.

  • Peggy and Me

  • By: Miranda Hart
  • Narrated by: Miranda Hart
  • Length: 7 hrs and 58 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 788
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 709
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 705

The hilarious and heartwarming account of Miranda and her life changing dog, the inimitable and most lovable Peggy. Hello dear audiobook browser and welcome to Peggy and Me. The story of my life since getting a beautiful Shih-Tzu Bichon Frise cross puppy (I call the breed a Shitty Frise - fun) in the form of Peggy.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Loved this book so much

  • By Jemma on 13-10-16

Lovely for the dog-mad!

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

Reviewed: 06-02-17

Lovely book, looking at the relationship Miranda has with her dog Peggy. As I'm just as mad about my own dog (and almost as accident prone) as Miranda, I found this book hilarious in parts (waking my husband by giggling out loud when listening at night), and deeply moving in others. Miranda shares insights into her struggles with insecurity and depression as she goes from unknown figure to household name, and Peggy with her all the way. Peggy is clearly in the recording studio and puts in a few words of her own! You need to enjoy Miranda's "jolly hockey-sticks" brand of humour however - if you don't like her shows , or you aren't a dog-lover, you probably won't enjoy this as much as I did. Miranda - you're lovely! And Peggy - what a super-star!

  • A Thread of Grace

  • A Novel
  • By: Mary Doria Russell
  • Narrated by: Cassandra Campbell
  • Length: 19 hrs and 52 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars 24
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 14
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 14

It is September 8, 1943, and Claudette Blum is learning Italian with a suitcase in her hand. She and her father are among the thousands of Jewish refugees scrambling over the Alps toward Italy, where they hope to be safe at last, now that the Italians have broken with Germany and made a separate peace with the Allies. The Blums will soon discover that Italy is anything but peaceful, as it becomes, overnight, an open battleground.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Lovin it!

  • By Mrs. on 10-04-13

Haunting, shocking, stays with you.

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

Reviewed: 03-10-16

The story of Jews and Italian partisan fighters in rural Italy during WW2, this was always going to be gritty, but I was amazed at how deeply moved I was, by the story and by the characters, their astonishing bravery and unselfishness, and their ability to remain human in a world that had lost its grip on 'humanity'. Wonderful, insightful and deeply moving - beautiful. The narrator struggles to differentiate between different accents and it's not always easy to tell which character is speaking, but as some characters were pretending to have different nationalities she can perhaps be forgiven for this.
Thoroughly recommend this book although you may find it harrowing at times.

  • All Creatures Great and Small

  • The Classic Memoirs of a Yorkshire Country Vet
  • By: James Herriot
  • Narrated by: Christopher Timothy
  • Length: 15 hrs and 41 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars 400
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 353
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars 354

The inspiration for the BBC series of the same name. Fresh out of Glasgow Veterinary College, to the young James Herriot 1930s Yorkshire seems to offer an idyllic pocket of rural life in a rapidly changing world. But from his erratic new colleagues, brothers Siegfried and Tristan Farnon, to incomprehensible farmers, herds of semiferal cattle, a pig called Nugent and an overweight Pekingese called Tricki Woo, James find he is on a learning curve as steep as the hills around him.

  • 3 out of 5 stars
  • Great story and narrator - terrible sound quality

  • By Culvers on 15-07-16

Classic, perfect narrator - terrible editing

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

Reviewed: 14-08-16

I have read the books and watched the films and TV series over and over, so was delighted to see Christopher Timothy as the narrator chosen for the Audible book.

The stories were wonderful as ever, the narrator perfect, bringing them to life in the voice of 'James' from the TV series - the editing was not.

Oddly timed interjections of music jarred rather than helped the mood, and the recording frequently stalled, jerked, stuttered, and therefore missed out chunks of the narrative. I felt this was not just annoying, but surely insulting to Mr Timothy who had worked so hard to give a super performance, each character brought beautifully to life.

I was so disappointed with this one - bad editing ruined what could have been a five-star audiobook.

19 of 20 people found this review helpful

  • Virgins

  • An Outlander Short
  • By: Diana Gabaldon
  • Narrated by: Allan Scott-Douglas
  • Length: 3 hrs and 3 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 95
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 83
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 82

Mourning the death of his father and gravely injured at the hands of the English, Jamie Fraser finds himself running with a band of mercenaries in the French countryside, where he reconnects with his old friend, Ian Murray. Both are nursing wounds, both have good reason to stay out of Scotland, and both are still virgins despite several opportunities to remedy that deplorable situation with ladies of easy virtue.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • A good short for Gabaldon fans

  • By GlosterLass on 04-05-16

A good short for Gabaldon fans

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

Reviewed: 04-05-16

I liked the narrator's Scots accent, which fitted the characters well. If you love Diana Gabaldon's other books, this will not disappoint, but if you haven't read them, this may be confusing to some.

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

  • A Second Chance

  • The Chronicles of St Mary's, Book 3
  • By: Jodi Taylor
  • Narrated by: Zara Ramm
  • Length: 9 hrs and 14 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,575
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 1,446
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,435

St Mary’s is back and nothing is going right for Max. Once again, it’s just one damned thing after another. The action jumps from an encounter with a mirror-stealing Isaac Newton to the bloody battlefield at Agincourt. Discover how a simple fact-finding assignment to witness the ancient and murderous cheese-rolling ceremony in Gloucester can result in CBC - concussion by cheese.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Great balance between fun and fear

  • By Mike on 18-11-15

Fun, fast-paced, but confusing

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

Reviewed: 08-03-16

The third in the series, I enjoyed this more than the previous book. Characters become more rounded and events in history better presented. However, still that bland 'the world went white' to indicate a leap in time, to the point it began sounding like school-children droning "Good Morning Mrs . ." at morning assembly.
The latter half of the book moved far too fast and wasn't given enough explanation, so I was left saying, "yes, but how? What? Why?" on more than one occasion.
The narrator fits the tone of the book well but does sometimes put the emphasis on the wrong part of the sentence and mispronounces some classic Greek names, which I found irritating.
On the whole it was a fun romp, a light, easy listen all ages and sexes would enjoy - just don't try to take it seriously.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Winter Siege

  • By: Ariana Franklin, Samantha Norman
  • Narrated by: Peter Wickham
  • Length: 11 hrs and 7 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 52
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 48
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 49

Run, run, girl. In the name of God, run.It's 1141 and freezing cold. Gwil, a battle-hardened mercenary, watches in horror as a little girl with red hair is dragged away by his own men. Caught in the middle of the fight for England she is just one more victim in a winter of atrocities.But a strange twist of fate brings them together again. Gwil finds the girl close to death, clutching a sliver of parchment - and he knows what he must do. He will bring her back to life.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Beware ! Of the Monk..

  • By Jinty on 17-03-15

Hugely enjoyable

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

Reviewed: 26-02-16

Loved this story - just not sure about the narrator's squeaky girl's voice! I have read all Ariana Franklin's novels and was delighted to see her daughter had finished and published this. It did not disappoint