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Margaret Clare Stoll

  • 7
  • reviews
  • 25
  • helpful votes
  • 8
  • ratings
  • A Wayside Tavern

  • By: Norah Lofts
  • Narrated by: Jonathan Keeble
  • Length: 15 hrs and 35 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 13
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 9
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 9

A Wayside Tavern tells the story of a Suffolk drinking place from the end of the Roman occupation of Britain, until the present day. The Roman veteran, crippled and left behind, worshipped Mithras, so the place became known as the One Bull and down through the centuries it became a clearing house for contraband, a miniature Hell Fire Club, a fashionable hotel, a mere pub. Across the yard, was the church of St Cerdic, king and martyr, who fought the Danes and was famous for the miracles performed at his shrine.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Very gloomy. Not a hint of any happy endings.

  • By Margaret Clare Stoll on 18-12-18

Very gloomy. Not a hint of any happy endings.

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

Reviewed: 18-12-18

Misery, misery, misery. Every one of the characters either dies before their time, is killed in some way, or ends up having an extremely unhappy life. One sentence that rings out at me: 'A man must be master in his own house'. So he proceeds to be a tyrant and is hated by all around him.

  • Churchill's Secret Warriors

  • The Explosive True Story of the Special Forces Desperadoes of WWII
  • By: Damien Lewis
  • Narrated by: Nigel Carrington
  • Length: 10 hrs and 35 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 633
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 590
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 590

In the bleak moments after defeat on mainland Europe in winter 1939, Winston Churchill knew that Britain had to strike back hard. So Britain's wartime leader called for the lightning development of a completely new kind of warfare, recruiting a band of eccentric free-thinking warriors to become the first 'deniable' secret operatives to strike behind enemy lines, offering these volunteers nothing but the potential for glory and all-but-certain death.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Well, who'd have thunk it!

  • By Mark on 19-05-15

Waste of time

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

Reviewed: 10-07-16

What disappointed you about Churchill's Secret Warriors?

The recording is awful. It sounds as if it's being recorded under water. Fuzzy, echoing. I couldn't bear to listen to it so I can't comment on the story or the content.

Would you ever listen to anything by Damien Lewis again?

If read by someone else, maybe.

How did the narrator detract from the book?

Ruined it! And the actual recording.

  • Covenant with Death

  • By: John Harris
  • Narrated by: Mike Rogers
  • Length: 14 hrs and 55 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 47
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 44
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 43

They joined for their country. They fought for each other. When war breaks out in 1914, Mark Fenner and his Sheffield friends immediately flock to Kitchener's call. Amid waving flags and boozy celebration, the three men - Fen, his best friend Locky and self-assured Frank, rival for the woman Fen loves - enlist as volunteers to take on the Germans and win glory.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Factual entertainment

  • By Malcolm on 04-09-14

Excellent

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

Reviewed: 24-09-14

Where does Covenant with Death rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

This is the story of something unique - the 'Pals' battalions in the British Army in World War One. They were a completely new idea - a volunteer citizen army, not professional soldiers and not reservists. They learned to be soldiers completely from scratch. Morale, comradeship, courage were of the highest. Tragically, they didn't last long. Most went into battle on the 1st July, the first day of the battle of the Somme, what was called the 'Big Push'. Most never even fired a shot in anger. They were shredded on that first day. Literally shredded. This novel tells the story of one such 'Pals' battalion from one northern city. Only one professional soldier in the whole lot, a Regimental Sergeant Major from a Guards regiment plus one retired veteran, and they had the job of turning all these civilian men into soldiers.

What did you like best about this story?

It was intensely moving, funny in places, very realistic, you could almost imagine you were there. The author pulls no punches at all.

Have you listened to any of Mike Rogers’s other performances? How does this one compare?

I haven't, but I like his voice. Would be happy to hear another book read by him.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

The Black Tower cover art
  • The Black Tower

  • Inspector Adam Dalgliesh Series, Book 5
  • By: P.D. James
  • Narrated by: Michael Jayston
  • Length: 10 hrs and 3 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 48
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 19
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 20

Adam Dalgliesh, newly promoted to the rank of commander, is facing a crisis in his career. Dissatisfied with his work, restless and vulnerable, he thinks of resigning from the Force. However, an invitation to visit an old family friend in Dorset appeals to Dalgliesh. But when he arrives at Toynton Grange, a private home for the disabled, he discovers that his host has died suddenly.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • A stunner.

  • By Demuynck on 05-09-06

Details

Overall
4 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 03-05-10

Although P D James is meticulous about the smallest details, she made 2 errors:

1. The sister's headgear, a triangular veil, as worn in the forces nursing services (used to be!) - was worn in the QARANC, which was the army nursing service. In the text it is wrongly named - what P D James calls it would have been the naval nursing service, which is not what she's describing here.

2. 'Specializing' a patient i.e. one-to-one care by a named nurse to one patient - no, it was called 'specialling' not 'specializing'. A patient was described as 'being specialled by nurse.....'

1 of 7 people found this review helpful

  • The Time Traveller's Guide to Medieval England

  • A Handbook for Visitors to the Fourteenth Century
  • By: Ian Mortimer
  • Narrated by: Jonathan Keeble
  • Length: 11 hrs and 45 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,601
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,145
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,134

Imagine you could travel back to the 14th century. What would you see? What would you smell? More to the point, where are you going to stay? And what are you going to eat? Ian Mortimer shows us that the past is not just something to be studied; it is also something to be lived. He sets out to explain what life was like in the most immediate way, through taking you to the Middle Ages. The result is the most astonishing social history book you are ever likely to read: evolutionary in its concept, informative and entertaining in its detail.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Very, very interesting - highly recommended

  • By anthonyunionjackson on 06-05-09

Very enjoyable

Overall
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 07-07-09

I'm enjoying this enormously. Once I'd left school I always enjoyed historical fiction more than the history I'd been taught at grammar school for 'O' levels (oops, showing my age!) because I was much more interested in 'bringing the past to life' than in bare facts and figures.

The 14th century, which this book focuses on rather than any of the other 'medieval' centuries, was one of fundamental change, radical new ideas, tumultuous events - the Black Death, the Peasants' Revolt - and yet a lot of things stayed basically the same.

I was fascinated by the way fashions changed, and yet the people could be doing exactly the same jobs, dressed differently, from their grandparents. The prosperous villein driving his plough-team of oxen is dressed differently from his grandfather earlier in the century, but he's still driving a team of oxen, scowling at the man guiding the plough! People's jobs did not change. The sumptuary laws meant that you had to dress according to your 'station in life', not just whether you could afford better, or not. It reminded me of that hymn that goes 'The rich man in his castle, the poor man at his gate. God made them high or lowly, and ordered their estate'.

Those earlier times are where that thinking came from. It has lasted until quite recent times.

This book really does go into the basic minutiae of life and brings it all vividly into focus. More please, other centuries!

21 of 22 people found this review helpful

  • Icon

  • By: Frederick Forsyth
  • Narrated by: Stephen Lang
  • Length: 6 hrs and 7 mins
  • Abridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 8
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 3
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 3

It is summer 1999 in Russia, a country on the threshold of anarchy. An interim president sits powerless in Moscow as his nation is wracked by famine and inflation, crime and corruption, and seething hordes of the unemployed roam the streets. For Igor Komarov, one-time army sergeant who has risen to leadership of the right-wing UPF party, the chaos is made to order.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Forsyth at his very very best.....

  • By David on 17-01-09

I didn't like this

Overall
1 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 10-11-08

I didn't like this and I didn't listen to more than the first few pages. It was a big disappointment because I enjoy Frederick Forsyth's books, his style of writing etc, and I had enjoyed listening to 'The Afghan'.

As Forsyth is such an English writer, I was surprised and disappointed that the reader is American. I hadn't realised that. I find it very difficult to listen to American readers - I've found that with other audiobooks.

0 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • The Woman in White

  • By: Wilkie Collins
  • Narrated by: various
  • Length: 25 hrs and 18 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 17
  • Performance
    2.5 out of 5 stars 3
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 3

When Walter Hartright encounters the "solitary figure of a woman, dressed from head to foot in white garments" on a lonely road, he is haunted by her. He falls in love with his employer's niece, Laura, because she resembles the mysterious woman. Laura, however, is betrothed to the evil Sir Percival, who wishes to marry her for her money. The woman in white, it turns out, is Anne Catherick, who was confined in an asylum by the evil Sir Percival because she knew a devastating secret about him.

  • 1 out of 5 stars
  • Terrible version!

  • By Clare on 11-03-08

Terrible accents!

Overall
3 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 22-03-08

I agree with Clare about the accents. I found most of them reasonably 'English' in the first 2 parts, except for mispronunciation of words like 'inquiry' in which the stress should be on the second syllable and not the first. And 'Tor-kway' not 'Tor-kee'! Mrs Michaelson was the worst and the most obviously American. I thought this was a shame, for an English audience about such a ground-breaking English novel.

As writers did in his time, Wilkie Collins uses 20 words where one would do. How DID they manage it, using pen and ink, laboriously scratched on paper? However, the story is compelling. It's worth mentioning, however, that in 1860 ALL of a woman's money became her husband's the moment the marriage was solemnised. I don't think Laura's signature would ever have been required. Not until the Married Women's Property Acts 20 years later, until then a woman didn't own even the clothes she stood up in.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful