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TrishVB

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  • reviews
  • 3
  • helpful votes
  • 7
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  • The Summer Before the War

  • By: Helen Simonson
  • Narrated by: Lucy Scott
  • Length: 15 hrs and 58 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 136
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 130
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 132

East Sussex, 1914. It is the end of England's brief Edwardian summer, and everyone agrees that the weather has never been so beautiful. Hugh Grange, down from his medical studies, is visiting his aunt Agatha, who lives with her husband in the small, idyllic coastal town of Rye. Agatha's husband works in the Foreign Office, and she is certain he will ensure that the recent sabre rattling over the Balkans won't come to anything.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • A good listen

  • By Ellen on 11-05-16

Excellent social commentary

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

Reviewed: 21-04-17

For me Simonson has a powerful way of expressing social norms and behaviours through her appealing characters and within the context of her novels' settings. This book provides a snapshot of gender/social/class/ethnic-related prejudices at the beginning of the 20th century and shows how the characters tussle with social expectations and their own emotional needs. The strength of upholding honour and duty and the desperation of oppression, abuse and limitless yearning of motherhood are beautifully observed. Dialogue between characters is highly believable and often amusing. Reading this book was a journey which resonated strongly with the world's continued human plight. Thank you Helen Simonson.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Major Pettigrew's Last Stand

  • By: Helen Simonson
  • Narrated by: Bill Wallis
  • Length: 14 hrs and 4 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 983
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 875
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 878

Major Ernest Pettigrew (Ret’d) is not interested in the frivolity of the modern world. Since his wife Nancy’s death, he has tried to avoid the constant bother of nosy village women; his grasping, ambitious son; and the ever-spreading suburbanisation of the English countryside, preferring to lead a quiet life upholding the values that people have lived by for generations. But when his brother’s death sparks an unexpected friendship with Mrs Ali, the widowed village shopkeeper of Pakistani descent, the Major is drawn out of his regimented world.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Old age is not for softies

  • By Morag on 24-05-11

Delightfully observant

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

Reviewed: 24-06-16

This well performed audio book became a comfortable friend that I looked forward to returning to at each sitting. Helen Simonson intelligently expresses the subtle and not so subtle human behaviours of each character and interactions between them. Bill Wallis triumphs with his extraordinary ability to capture each characters' idiosyncratic personality using a range of voices , from Mrs Ali's serene milky tone to Roger's husky arrogant bravado, each of which is so consistent that he could have eliminated 'said Mrs Ali', 'said Roger', in almost every case. A superb literary and performing arts experience. Thank you Trish VB.

  • Life After Life

  • By: Kate Atkinson
  • Narrated by: Fenella Woolgar
  • Length: 15 hrs and 28 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,951
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,757
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 1,738

What if you had the chance to live your life again and again, until you finally got it right? During a snowstorm in England in 1910, a baby is born and dies before she can take her first breath. During a snowstorm in England in 1910, the same baby is born and lives to tell the tale. What if there were second chances? And third chances? In fact an infinite number of chances to live your life? Would you eventually be able to save the world from its own inevitable destiny? And would you even want to?

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Intriguing story, beautifully told.

  • By susan on 02-05-13

A life, one year at a time.

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

Reviewed: 14-02-16

Fascinating, affectionate, poignant, harrowing and in places amusing. For those intersted in life narratives, recommend this book.