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The Crimson Petal and the White Audiobook

The Crimson Petal and the White

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Publisher's Summary

NOW A MAJOR BBC DRAMA starring Romola Garai, Chris O'Dowd, Gillian Anderson, Richard E. Grant, Shirley Henderson, and Mark Gatiss.

'Watch your step. Keep your wits about you; you will need them....' So begins this irresistible voyage into the dark side of Victorian London. Amongst an unforgettable cast of low-lifes, physicians, businessmen, and prostitutes, meet our heroine Sugar, a young woman trying to drag herself up from the gutter any way she can. Be prepared for a mesmerising tale of passion, intrigue, ambition, and revenge.

©2011 Michel Faber (P)2011 W.F. Howes Ltd

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.0 (560 )
5 star
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Overall
4.3 (271 )
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3 star
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Story
4.5 (274 )
5 star
 (172)
4 star
 (74)
3 star
 (21)
2 star
 (4)
1 star
 (3)
Performance
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  •  
    knittyboot 26/05/2011
    knittyboot 26/05/2011 Member Since 2017
    HELPFUL VOTES
    125
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    "I loved it!"

    First let me say that if you dislike crude language I would avoid this book as it treats sex and prostitution quite unflinchingly and describes the world it deals with in a way that I found to be refreshing but may offend some. Normally prostitutes in fiction are depicted as "tart with a heart", sexy siren or cold hard witches. They never seem quite real but this book breathes life into the world it depicts; it evokes sights, smells and characters of this world in sometimes alarming detail. I loved the introduction, the story and the narration. It was quite wonderful

    49 of 49 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Michelle Watford, United Kingdom 03/07/2011
    Michelle Watford, United Kingdom 03/07/2011
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Gothic Chic-Lit"

    This book is the "Marmite" of historical fiction; readers/listeners will either love it or loathe it. I am definitely in the former category.

    The book is a narration of several intertwined people's lives over the period of about a year, the narrator being an integral part.Through these lives, a story of how love comes into the most unlikely of lives. The main characters are Sugar, a much sought after prostitute with many qualities not usually found in the fallen women of fiction, and William, a typical Victorian father who thinks he is anything but typical of his class and time. The story weaves through Sugar and William meeting and her deciding to improve her lot because of William's infatuation for her.

    There are a number of supporting characters, and rather than the usual story of a "tart with a heart" winning her man, "Pretty Woman" style, it is the slow development of love in those characters who both crave it and think they're beyond it.

    To begin with, I was felt cheated by the somewhat abrupt end, wanting to know more about what happened to the characters. However, the more I thought about I reaslised that I didn't need to know at all; the author told us undirectly and there were happy endings for those who deserved it most.

    I can recommend this book to anyone, especially women as I don't think it's particularly a man's book, who enjoys a saga and isn't offended by graphic descriptions of the world inhabited by prostitutes and their clients. The narration is superb, the nuances and inflections add perfect undercurrents to the book. I can do nothing more than recommend this highly and strongly recommend that listeners give it a go - you'll either love it or hate it.

    19 of 19 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Phil Bedford, United Kingdom 26/02/2012
    Phil Bedford, United Kingdom 26/02/2012 Member Since 2007
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Ultimately disappointing..."

    When I was at school, we were taught that a good story had a beginning, a middle and an end and that the most frequent failing of young writers was to devote too much time and space to the beginning and middle and then have to rush the ending. If Michael Faber was taught this at his school, he has clearly forgotten the lesson.

    This book has an intriguing start and we are drawn into Victorian London; its strata of society, the hardship of the poor contrasting with the fecklessness of the rich, all carried along by strong narration. A good tale is being woven, with interesting characters and I was always keen to find out what would happen next. However after about 15 hours listening, I began to wonder where the story was heading. Lots of social comment, an abundance of period detail but slow progress on the storyline. After 30 hours, I was beginning to despair. I felt a little ashamed because it's undoubtedly well written and well read but does seem to drag so!

    In the end, it became almost a badge of honour to finish the damn thing and, at around 42 hours it stopped. Not with an ending but right in the middle, as if the author had run out of steam or had not the wit to concoct a decent finish. Having listened for the equivalent of a working week, I felt let down, cheated even, and begrudged having invested so much when I could have enjoyed something else.

    The book has had some rave reviews so I guess I'm in a minority. Perhaps it was just too literary for me...

    15 of 16 people found this review helpful
  •  
    edel county clare, Ireland 29/02/2012
    edel county clare, Ireland 29/02/2012
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "great sense of place..sorely in need of editing"

    Firstly to the narration, it was great, I really enjoyed the voice and the timing. The book however is a somewhat different story. personally I am greedy as to length of books, the longer the better, one of the factors that swayed me into purchasing this one was the 50(ish) hours length. Oh how I wish I had those 50 hours back, or at least wasn't so stubborn about finishing it once I had started. The book gives a fabulous sense of place, the time, the social conditions of the era. But it is simply too wordy and drawn out. Minor characters are developed and then vanish with no real impact on the plot. And I hated the ending...I like things to be wrapped up in a nice neat unequivocal ending..this lacked that. All in all listening to this book was an exercise in frustration, there is a great book lurking in this overly obese story.

    12 of 13 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Stephen London, United Kingdom 21/07/2011
    Stephen London, United Kingdom 21/07/2011 Member Since 2010
    HELPFUL VOTES
    35
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    Overall
    "An Enthrawling Journey"

    I've just finished reading this and I have to say that this book was absolutely superb! Some reviewers have said that it's too long. Long it is, but the level of detail carefully rendered in the words of this excellently written story serve to paint a vivid set of characters in an equally well defined world. Faber's style of writing is one of unhurried story-telling which allows the reader to better understand the characters that inhabit this world. It's a style I was instantly impressed with from start to finish. Other authors often rush a story fearing that the reader would lose interest in the plot if they didn't move things along at perhaps an unrealistic rate. No, Faber allows his story to slowly mature permitting the reader to "live" this world with him.

    His story is character driven (as all good stories are) but the reader gains real insight into their inner thoughts and feelings over time just like actually getting to know someone in real life.

    This tail is like a fine wine that can only be appreciated with time and care and Faber delivers both in generous measure.

    I could go on uttering many superlatives about this book and all wouldn't do it justice in my opinion. Take the time to read this story and you will be drawn into a rich and enthralling place you wont want to leave.

    Like others here, I too was desperate to find out more about what happens to the characters seen here as soon as I'd finished the book so acquainted you feel with them by the time it's sadly all over.

    Yes, there is a peppering of bad language throughout, but it's required to give the story its gritty and visceral sense of reality that this journey is. Narration I found to be excellent with the various tones and accents of each character done with aplomb.

    Finally, this book has a host of words I'd never come across, so it's given me plenty of opportunity to extend my vocabulary when I look up what they all mean.

    Start your enthrawling journey today and enjoy!

    12 of 13 people found this review helpful
  •  
    jacks247 20/06/2011
    jacks247 20/06/2011 Member Since 2013
    HELPFUL VOTES
    38
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    "frustrating ending, fab story"

    I loved, loved, loved this book, listened to it in the car, in bed, in the bath, I loved the way the story was told as a journey, and how we followed the characters through time, and even through each other. I admired Sugar, loved little Sophie, felt sorry for poor Agnes and so wanted to know what happened to them in the end, and was sad to not find out. This book is long, I loved every minute but wanted, no, needed to know more about how my beloved characters ended up..... part 2 please Mr Faber!

    10 of 11 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Gale Bedford, United Kingdom 03/06/2011
    Gale Bedford, United Kingdom 03/06/2011 Member Since 2012
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "An Education"

    This book is an education in itself... beautifully written, and now, narrated, it is a non-hurried look in depth at life in Victorian England, covering many themes, including prostitution, the poor, the sick mental illness and the background to women's rise and suffrage.

    Do yourself a favour..take the time to read this... it will open your eyes.... The BBC dramatisation has also been done in a first class way.... well done everybody....especially the author.

    21 of 25 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Alex Kingston, Ontario, Canada 09/02/2012
    Alex Kingston, Ontario, Canada 09/02/2012 Member Since 2017
    HELPFUL VOTES
    7
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    "Frustrating ending"

    I very much enjoyed the book until the ending. I believe many readers will feel they are left hanging. If the author were planning a sequel to continue the story, I would withdraw my criticism and rate the book 5 stars.

    7 of 8 people found this review helpful
  •  
    K Lindfield, United Kingdom 01/07/2011
    K Lindfield, United Kingdom 01/07/2011
    HELPFUL VOTES
    5
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    "Addictive!"

    I was hooked from the very first page, the narrator does a fabulous job, even when portraying the males in the story, listening to this was so addictive that, it made me late for work, going out,and fall asleep listening to it at one o clock in the morning !! I am so familia with "sugar" the main character, that now i have finished the book i am missing her! The only downside is im afraid the ending!

    5 of 6 people found this review helpful
  •  
    S. Foster UK 27/06/2011
    S. Foster UK 27/06/2011 Member Since 2010
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "I cant bring myself to keep going"

    I am not sure what I was expecting but this book is tedious in the extreme. I have enjoyed almost all the audiobooks I have downloaded including those I didnt really expect to. The narrator has quite a harsh voice which I dont find easy to listen to and the style of following one character at a time is not one I find compelling. None of the characters are attractive and some of the descriptions are so sordid I am giving up after about 7 hours of part one.

    11 of 15 people found this review helpful
Sort by:
  • C. Newland
    18/12/15
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Great story, superb narration!"
    What about Jill Tanner’s performance did you like?

    Others have commented on the compelling story and the wonderful characters, especially that of Sugar, so I want to comment on the performance. The voice with which this book was narrated was perfect. It had an edge to it that was bitter and even a little cruel, giving voice flawlessly to the overall atmosphere of this novel. When necessary, however Jill Tanner could sound sweet or lovely, especially with Sugar's or Agnes's lines. The narration significantly enhanced the enjoyment of this book. It is impossible to imagine this novel with a different one.


    Any additional comments?

    The book didn't end so much as stop but, having read two other of Michel Faber's novels, his was not surprising. The net effect is the recognition that life, and presumably the characters, continues. I wonder if The Soprano's got its idea for an ending from Faber.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Weslynn
    31/12/15
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Wow!"

    I must say considering how long the book is, at no point is it not intriguing. However, it abruptly ends, but that's how life is I suppose! You won't regret this book!

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Chelsea Arruda
    San Jose, California
    14/10/15
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Keeps you interested, but no driving force."

    The book starts off in a peculiar format that is intriguing for the reader, but as it progresses there is no real driving force to the plot. This isn't so bothersome if you are content just to listen about various stories of general life, but if you are looking for more of a plot, find a different book. The characters are fairly well developed which is good since the entire book focusses on learning more about them. The ending leaves much to be desired though.

    3 of 4 people found this review helpful
  • Joni
    Houston, Texas
    13/04/16
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "I wish I hadn't read it"

    I almost escaped this grief I feel because I almost gave it up in the first chapter. Then he hooked me. I think the author just stole 40+ hours of my life and is refusing to return it! How dare he pull me in so far, seduce me to love and feel the characters and then leave me in misery as to their fates! It's just mean-spirited. Even worse, he has dashed my hope that he would relieve my frustration with a sequel by declaring that he has now written his last book. I will not read his others... he cannot be trusted.

    6 of 9 people found this review helpful
  • Sally Brown
    02/08/17
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "No ending so don't expect one. So disappointing"

    The ending, just ended. Without an ending. Why? Long book without an ending. Why? Why?

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Judith
    Clear Lake, WI, United States
    01/08/17
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Unexpectedly engaging"

    Well written, never lost its pace. The plot took some unexpected turns, the heroine never disappointed me, although there were a few moments near the end when I did worry she would. Kept me engaged right up to the last moment. An unresolved but satisfying end, just as sometimes happens in life.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • syama2
    30/07/17
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Very long, and sudden conclusion with no resolve."

    The story is very long. The sudden conclusion left me hanging wanting to know what really happened to everyone. I was frustrated

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • lauren macmillan
    06/07/17
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "ban boredom.....avoid this book"
    What disappointed you about The Crimson Petal and the White?

    no depth of character. no insight whatsoever. i kept waiting. i mean i really put in time but the story just flatlined


    What was most disappointing about Michel Faber’s story?

    flatlly told. it was like seeing a rainbow in black and white


    What three words best describe Jill Tanner’s performance?

    above this book


    What reaction did this book spark in you? Anger, sadness, disappointment?

    disappointment


    Any additional comments?

    i want my credit back

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Randy Hauptmann
    31/05/17
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "The ending....arghhhhh"

    I wish there had been some closure. It was an interesting book and the writing style was fun.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • K&T
    USA
    02/05/17
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "The Best Historical Fiction of Victorian England"

    I've read hundreds of historical fiction focused on England, from legends of King Arthur throughQueen Victoria and beyond.

    This is by far the best book of the genre I have ever read. If you can take an unflinching look at life among the various classes, you too will find it a favorite.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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