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84 Charing Cross Road

Length: 2 hrs and 11 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (239 ratings)

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Summary

Told in a series of letters, this true story of the correspondence between a New York writer and a London bookseller has touched the hearts of thousands.
©1970 Helene Hanff (P)2007 Hachette Audio

Critic reviews

"The twenty year correspondence between bookseller Frank Doel, who worked at Marks & Co, specialists in rare and second-hand books, and Helene Hanff, an impoverished New York writer with an irresistible urge to buy books, made joyous reading when it first appeared in 1970 and this unabridged recording of 84 Charing Cross Road makes pleasant listening." ( The Express)
"Human kindness is wonderfully to the fore in this little classic of autobiography, and the combined readings of Juliet Stevenson and John Nettles characterise the writers exquisitely." ( The Times)
"One of the subtlest, sharpest, most moving relationships ever formed between pen pals. I can't imagine it without Stevenson and Nettles. Her warmth, his reticence, their shared love of old books - onionskin pages, leather-bound and gold-embossed, with flyleaf dedications circa 1847 and pencilled notes in the margin - made me weep."( The Guardian)

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

Truth Stranger than Fiction

A story told entirely in letters charting the relationship between two people who never meet. It is a cliche, but 84 Charing Cross Road is heartwarming, tender, funny and tragic. The relationship that develops between Helene Hanff (a spiky, impoverished New York writer) and Frank Doel (a conventional, formal English bookseller) is told through their correspondence as HH tries to obtain rare and obscure titles from the eponynous bookshop. That it is a true story told through the actual correspondence between the two makes it tremendously affecting.

The story is beautifully read by Juliet Stevenson and John Nettles - brilliant casting - and the whole unabridged reading lasts barely 2 hours which just goes to show that the best things really do come in small packages.

14 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

An utter joy!

I laughed out loud and then wept on the train - and that's saying something.

5 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars

Love by mail

What a wonderful story. It was like waiting on the doorstep for the next letter to arrive. You could almost imagine rows and rows of books in a tiny shop. It was a love story yet, it wasn't. It was a lovely story.

5 people found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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Quintessentially English and bursting with charm.

I really enjoyed this book! The description of London around the war time period and the incredibly English characters are a joy to imagine. I could see the bookshop and smell the books. This book gave a real insight into rationing and the joy of exchanging letters, (a dying art). Totally recommended!

4 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

Short but Sweet

This is such a lovely book and a great recording. Only a couple of hours long but it is still worth downloading. This accompanied me on a long run and I was smiling through most of it.

4 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars

lovely listen

Really enjoyed this book - lovely true story - great book to listen to at bedtime.

3 people found this helpful

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Such a sweet book

A wonderful, intimate glimpse into the lives of just a few people from London to New York. Makes you wonder about all the amazing stories of lives led that are untold. Delightful relationships fill your heart with warmth, reminding you of the joy in kindness & friendships. A moment in time is captured, taking you back to what is was like in yester year. Makes you want to begin letter writing straight away & to seek out some classic books to lose yourself in. Also leaves you with a sense of Carpe Dium. Such a sweet book - loved it!

1 person found this helpful

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Great!

Truly amazing! Loved it so very much. I would highly recommend this super classic. Wonderfully read and produced. Five stars!

1 person found this helpful

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It was a joy to listen to

If you could sum up 84 Charing Cross Road in three words, what would they be?

An unexpected friendship

What other book might you compare 84 Charing Cross Road to, and why?

It's unique

Have you listened to any of Juliet Stevenson and John Nettles ’s other performances? How does this one compare?

No, I haven't heard them reading anything else but they were both excellent in this so I will look out for their other work

Did you have an emotional reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

It made me smile, it was beautiful.

Any additional comments?

This is among my all time favourites

1 person found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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An absolute joy

This was an absolute joy. The exchanges between Helene and Frank are touching, often laugh out loud funny and the ending was very moving. Both narrators are wonderful as well.

I sometimes feel that auidiobooks require too much of my time and constantly stop and start but the length of this audiobook is just perfect - in a couple of hours I had completed this little gem and laughed and cried along the way.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 02-08-18

Enjoy This Book As Much As I Did

Beautiful - with such a genuine reflection of the period and different cultures of the two main characters. A love story of sorts built on human kindness, intellect and decency

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  • Jool
  • 03-10-16

Just beautiful!

Wonderful book and beautifullynatrated. A joy to listen to. Whatever am I going to read or listen to next?