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Villette

Narrated by: Mandy Weston
Length: 20 hrs and 3 mins
4 out of 5 stars (128 ratings)

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Summary

Long overshadowed by Jane Eyre, Villette is widely admired as one of Charlotte Bronte's finest works. This story of a young teacher at a girlâ¿¿s school in the city of Villette is a particular challenge for the young reader, for it requires maturity of vision, a fine narrative sense - and a command of French! Mandy Weston, a newcomer to Naxos AudioBooks, tells the story magnificently.
©2007 Naxos Rights International (P)2007 Naxos Rights International

What members say

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

Excellent reading

This is my favourite audiobook! Of course because of Charlotte Bronte's novel, but the reading of Mandy Weston makes it so much more felt. Lucy Snow's musings, restraints are thouroughly full of sense. Other characters are given their own personality. The chemistry between the personages are sparkling. I am hearing this one over and over again.

10 of 10 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Nadia
  • Didcot, United Kingdom
  • 31-08-11

Wonderfully read

I grew impatient at times, but there are some lovely bits to this book and it really is fantastically well read. Mandy Weston somehow manages to make Lucy Snowe a warmer, fuller character yet without betraying the spirit of the text. I'm not sure about giving the characters French accents when their words are translated, but I suppose it was an easy way to distinguish characters.

8 of 8 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Completely compelling

My impulse purchase of Vileltte on a £3.99 deal was a stroke of genius. I loved the story of Lucy Snowe - a mature masterpiece by Charlotte Bronte - I can believe it is not more well known. I am utterly taken in and want to start listening to it again. Today!

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

Deeply thoughtful, and a touching love story

Psychological character study, religious and philosophical meditation, and above all - a Romance with a touch of the Bronte Gothic, 'Villette' is all this and more. It is the story of Lucy Snowe, a young, orphaned English girl struggling to make her own way in life, who comes to live in the French town of Villette. It is a thoughtful, satisfying novel, with all the strength and beauty of Bronte's poetic language and vision. It is perhaps not as directly accessible as 'Jane Eyre' or even 'Shirley', it feels more mature in style, more thoughtful. It is a wonderful expression of the creative and spiritual mind of Charlotte Bronte, and a touching love story.

4 of 5 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

The perfect narrator

The quality of the novel goes without saying; here it is beautifully enhanced by Mandy Weston 's exquisite timbre and character. I have searched for other material read by her, yet, unfortunately, she seems only to have recorded random new-age guff. What a shame. She would be a natural for Eliot or Austen and I hope she may do more recitals soon.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • h
  • London, United Kingdom
  • 20-06-18

Wonderfully poetic character portraits

Don’t be put off by the bits a French in this. They do not detract from the narrative. There is wonderful poetic writing all through this story. The characters are so deeply observed. There are some deliciously creepy bits too. I don’t know why this is not a more famous work.
The narration is utterly superb.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • neil
  • LONDON, United Kingdom
  • 30-11-17

Did I really just read that?

Beautifully bizarre. Critically correct
A trippy euro novel that says much. Love it. Well ahead of its time

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

French

I thoroughly enjoyed the reader's different English and Irish accents. I loved listening to her reading the book as long as it was in English. However, I'm very disappointed in the French, which is clearly not fluent nor natural. As a fluent speaker, I have been very annoyed at not even being able to understand what is being said at times because of the inaccurate pronunciation. Loved the story though!

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Fascinating and Brilliant

I had started this book and was not enamoured or sympathetic to the heroine. I thought her self satisfied and precious. I lost the book and so downloaded this version. Thanks to Mandy Weston's brilliant rendition my sympathies about faced and I loved and empathised with Lucy Snow. Please can we have much much more of Mandy Weston's lovely and tallented voice. She is a very welcome edition to Audible Books. It makes such a difference to a book as to who is reading aloud.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

Unexpected French

I was taken aback by the amount of school girl French I needed to remember but I managed. The book was read very well and I enjoyed the old fashioned English. I was glad I stuck to it and listened to the whole book, very enjoyable and I would recommend to others.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Chloe
  • 14-01-08

classical heart

Mandy Weston reads the story of wry, tender little Lucy Snow with great heart and subtle understanding. I enjoyed every minute.

24 of 25 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Diana
  • 12-05-11

A beautiful, amazing book

I love Charlotte Bronte, her sisters and everything about this particular book. First of all, the narration is sublime. I can't wait to have Mandy Weston hired over and over again, to read book after book, especially of this time period. She is up there with Josephine Bailey who is one of my very favorite narrators. Villette is a masterpiece. It is too bad that Jane Eyre so overshadowed Charlottes other books. I loved Villette. I love the protaganist of Lucy Snowe. I lived in this book, I could barely function in this century while I was engrossed in this audio!!! More people, who love this genre need to hear this book, its just wonderful.

12 of 13 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Deveny
  • 30-10-12

Not Anti Catholic....Individualistic

What did you love best about Villette?

I dearly loved this novel by Charlotte Bronte. I have a great love for British Classic Novels and Mandy Weston so beautifully brought this story to life with her narrative. I was disheartened to read the prior review and thought to bring to light an alternate perspective of this novel. I believe Bronte created in Miss Lucy Snowe and M. Paul Emanuel the very contrasts in religion of the period. While Lucy voiced her opinion (albeit objections) of the Catholic faith during her forced education, and yes it was truly forced as is clearly advised to the reader, Paul offered the opposing view as a devout Catholic. Lucy complements the essence of the Catholic faith (the attributes of the faith in which are demonstrated by Paul) and renounces what she feels is a materialistic invasions on the purity of the faith. During this time period the ambition of the Roman Catholic Church across Europe can be argued as having been to assume the role of the dominating faith, repressing Protestantism as well as other emerging faiths. The story is less about religion itself and more about how the differing religious views play a vital role in the separation of Lucy and Paul. It is a beautifully written novel with descriptive elements that allow the listener to envision Lucy's world. Her solace outward countenance rivaled by her internal struggles, turmoils, and discoveries of her own self rarely displayed to her colleagues within the novel but rather to the listeners ear, engage the listener and create sympathy, empathy and a reverence for the character. Many times throughout the novel my chest ached at the suppression of Lucy's feeling and her determination to "put aside such things".

To the young and old readers alike, this novel is a gem, a treasure. I look forward to listening to it over and over again as I do not yet believe I have been enlightened to all this novel has to offer, nor may I ever. The lessons, or revelations, are so numerous from psychological, theological and cultural views, I believe Bronte's masterpiece could be studied for generations.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Sadaya Zimmerle
  • 15-06-18

Beautiful reading of an inspiring story

Villette was a gentle story, more like riding along with a woman as an intimate friend in her journey. To outward appearances, not a whole lot happened but inwardly and amidst minor daily adventures, she is evolving into her own person, and testing her coping with loneliness and disappointments and in the process manifesting her values and formidable strengths in the world. Villette fulfilled the reason why I love this genre so much, the sweetness and excellence of language, the emphasis on properties of the spirit and character. As a heroine, Lucy's heroics were all about facing her demons and rising to the occasion despite difficulties---it was a tale of every day courage. All that said, I may have drifted away or made it through only slowly, if it were not for the stunning, poetic, and perfectly nuanced ready by Mandy Weston. She made all the characters come into bloom with her sensitivity and sense of pitch, intonation, flavor and accents. I loved listening to her brogue as well as the French, even when I did not understand (the latter--the book has footnotes to explain it)---her voice reading is like listening to beautiful music and added so many layers of enjoyment on top of what was already a very sweet book

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • N. K. Shapiro
  • 08-06-16

Bronte's masterpiece

Does it surpass Jane Eyre? It's more real and more somber, urban rather than provincial. A portrait of the artist and what she wished to say about the life of a female genius in her times.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Kari
  • 05-11-12

Good, with reservations.

Would you say that listening to this book was time well-spent? Why or why not?

I liked this book, but I don't think I would have gotten it if offered again.

What was one of the most memorable moments of Villette?

The book itself was great, but the ending left me wanting more resolution.

Which character – as performed by Mandy Weston – was your favorite?

Lucy was the best.

If this book were a movie would you go see it?

Yes, maybe a movie would give me a more definate ending.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Carole T.
  • 13-05-12

Not for Everyone

This is a work strange and perverse. The heroine makes Jane Eyre seem even-tempered. So it is not for those who want a pleasant romantic storyline. There's much of interest here: some really well-drawn characters and vivid description. Of interest to students and admirers of the Victorian era and women's place in it. Lucy Snowe (the narrator and heroine) is full of anger and repression and is therefore a heck of a psychological study in herself. The plot is nearly non-existent. Best, I think, for those who are interested in the role of women in society in general, and in the character and talent of the Brontes in particular.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Stephanie
  • 31-03-10

Parlez vous francais?

There is a lot of French in this book, if you don't understand it you will miss things, not hard to guess but still its annoying.
The reading is good, easy to listen to but the story is very long and there isn't that much that happens and its a totally rubbish ending.

8 of 10 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
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  • Listener
  • 18-03-10

Bypass This One

The narrator is OK, but the story is really uneventful and bland with too many references to the "reader" and too much french. It's difficult to stay with what story there is.

7 of 9 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Schwarzian
  • 31-08-17

Beautiful Novel

The story is flawlessly woven, and the writing is clearer, more crisp and more vital than in Jane Eyre. The ending of Villette has never failed to unsettle and impress me with its utter strangeness given when it was written.

The narrator does a good job with Lucy Snow, but the French accents are irritating.

I wish audiobook editions like the Oxford or Penguin editions were available for novels like Villette, with an academic introduction and footnotes, particularly when a book contains many passages in other languages.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful