© and (P)2005 Naxos Audiobooks Ltd.
Juliet Stevenson does justice to this classic work. Her performance of the quiet repose of Elinor Dashwood could not be replicated by a more melodramatic narrator without sounding synthetic. And yet, she captures the spirited exclamations of Marianne, if a trifle stressed, and the affectations of the Steele's in an unobtrusive manner.
I'm always amused by attempts of narrators of one sex to perform the part of the other, but Stevenson is not unduly lacking in credulity for such performances.
All in all, the narration does not subtract from the text, if anything she adds to the experience.
"Superb - Justice to Jane Austen and Emma Thompson"
A truely excellent narration - Juliet Stevenson is the best narrator I have come across on audible. She brings the characters to life, giving each, character and individuality. She accurately captures the nuances and comedy of the book and the historical period.
To me, at least, this book was so well brought to life by the Emma Thompson screen adaptation that I would find it hard to imagine some of the characters (Marianne and Fanny for instance) represented very differently from that film (although I did think the occasional character including Edward and to a certain extent Elanor herself were miscast in the film version). Juliet Stevenson's interpretations are close to the film where it was good, and better where it could have been improved (to my ear her Marianne sounded like Kate Winslet).
Furthermore, her voice is not harsh to the ears, as I have found some narrators, even good ones, to be after a time - an important point when listening to something for hours through a set of earphones on an iPod.
Pride and Prejudice might be my favourite Jane Austen book, but I think this is my favourite Jane Austen audio so far. My only negative point being that I got so engrossed (much more so than when reading the paper book), and the story is quite black and miserable through much of its length, that I am sure I felt miserable with Marianne, until I had got to the uplifting ending.
"very easy on the ears."
I listen to a lot of British classic novels, and there's an overwhelming trend towards narrators with a very nasal, uppity-sounding English accent that grates on the ears. An expert in accents could probably identify the quality that I don't like; all I know is that THIS narrator is, by contrast, a great pleasure to listen to. Her speaking voice is gentle and beautiful and melodious. I could listen to her for hours... well, I did.
The story is of course typical Austen: predictably satisfying, tasty in that happy-endings-happen-to-good-people kind of way. You know what you're getting THERE. The excellent reading is icing on the cake.
Jane Austen writes with great sensitivity and compassion about how two sisters adapt in different ways to life's blows. The book is evocative, beautiful and gripping. The plot and the characterizations move along enticingly. The narrator is excellent and draws the listener into the setting and story brilliantly. I feel as if I am in 19th century Britain while listening and by the end of the novel feel as if Eleanor and Marianne are people I have known well. I highly recommend this version of Sense and Sensibility for hours of pleasure.
"Stevenson does it again"
I bought this at a 4.95 sale because I had already listened to one decent audio version - but Stevenson reading is worth a full credit. I suspect she may have been influenced by Emma Thompson's screenplay in her delivery of a couple of the minor characters -- but why try to trump gold?
Stevenson reading any classic like this is a great comfort listen - a warm bath for your ears. Recommended for head colds.
Just about any Naxos version of a classic has turned out to be an excellent version in my experience. They uphold their 5 star reputation from their music label.
Juliet Stevenson has done a masterful job not only reading Sense and Sensibility, but also giving the characters vivacity and personalities. Marianne's raptures made me smile and the vulgarity of Mrs. Jennings made me giggle uncomfortably in a way that simply reading the book never has before.
I highly recommend this version as a wonderful and colorful reading of a book that is, at its core, about the blend of Enlightenment and Romanticism of the early 19th century.
Everyone should read Jane Austen. Her work (and that of such slightly later contemporaries as the Brontes, Dickens & Trollope) are the roots of all of literature we read today. But unlike other writers whose works show their age and are hence hard to read and to draw parallels to today's world, this is not the case for Austen. Sense & Sensibility is one of the better of her 6 books. Juliet Stevenson's narration is terrific.
"Wonderful book wonderfully read"
I have nothing to say about that great book that has not been said before. But what makes it even more pleasurable for audio book readers, is Juliet Stevenson's exceptional narration. I wish all my audiobooks were read by her. She has an amazingly versatile voice, perfect pace and fluency. She also is an actress who can convey any emotion with her voice and still keep the character's individuality. I am not American born and do not find the British accent cute or charming. I have very little patience for some of it affections. But Juliet makes it all very bearable. Even quite pleasant. I never want her narration to stop. She is the voice of Jane Austen.
"J Stevenson is Fabulous"
This is my first audible purchase and I am hooked simply by Juliet Stevenson's reading!
"Elinor and Marianne"
This novel was originally written as a series of letters when the author was 19 years old. It must therefore be forgiven for seeming a somewhat patched-up business, with a story that will perhaps seem a little lackluster in comparison with Emma Thompson's brilliant 1995 screen adaptation. There are too many characters here (no one needs the elder Miss Steele or Lady Middleton, both of whom Thompson wisely cut from her screenplay), the climactic scenes are a bit anticlimactic (Marianne doesn't end up at death's door after a collapse in the rain due to a melodramatic fit; she merely catches cold weeks after she has calmed down and become more or less resigned to Willoughby's betrayal), and the characters we think we know from the Ang Lee film act in odd ways (e.g., What realistic villain worth his salt would make a drawn-out apology for his wickedness, as Willoughby does here? Why in the world would Edward visit Barton Cottage wearing a ring made of Lucy Steele's hair? And even if he did, what in heaven's name could cause both the Miss Dashwoods--including Elinor--to assume the hair to be Elinor's?). Nonetheless, this is Austen, so as with Shakespeare, there are lots of hidden riches and surprises here, as well as some wicked twists which, told with Austen's trademark wit, will have you laughing out loud in your car. Add to all this the performance by the incomparable Juliet Stevenson (who does not, at any point in the recording, sound stuffy or as if she has a cold, contrary to a previous reviewer's claim) and you have yourself an auditory feast. Grade: A.
"Jane and Juliet: The Perfect Match"
I have every one of the available Austen/Stevenson recordings and they are all a treat. If you are an Austen fan, this is the way to enjoy her.
"A perfect narrative"
Juliet Stevenson's reading of this classic piece is flawless. She understands each character and brings them to life in turn. I love this book even more since listening to her narrative. Highly recommended - I will now be downloading many more of Juliet Stevenson's readings.
Beautifully read, most enjoyable.
"A great story but also an excellent reading"
Juliet Stevenson's reading brings the characters alive and pours emotion to the dialogue.
Juliet Stevenson's reading is incredibly clever, every character has his/her own voice, and when action moves to drama she can transmit feelings without unnecessary pathos.
"Classic Jane Austen"
As with the other Jane Austen novels she has narrated, Juliet Stevenson does another excellent job with this one.
This is classic Jane Austen and exactly what one would expect from her. Filled with the usual ups and downs of the romantic lives of her female heroines, this story is interesting and gripping, and delivered what my anticipation of it had hoped.
I am a big fan of Jane Austen's novels, having read and/or watched TV adaptations of them all. I bought this as 'comfort' listening for my long commutes to and from work, and it was indeed very comforting. I think Juliet Stevenson's narration is excellent. She imbues the characters with life - makes them 'jump off the page' (I guess that should be 'jump out of the speaker'). I am now planning to purchase other Austen novels which she as narrated - more comfort listening! If you have never read any Austen novels, buying them as listening books is a good way to introduce yourself to her world of 'propriety'and 'aprobation'. And I would certainly recommend the versions with Juliet Stevenson as narrator.
"Excellent narration of a classic novel"
Unsure how much I would enjoy the narration of this, perhaps my favourite Austen novel, I thoroughly enjoyed Juliet Stevenson's reading. She doesn't go along the route of my bete noir of attempting male voices, her distinction between Elinor and Marianne is excellent, and I loved her Mrs Jennings.
Admittedly, the novel wanders a little but otherwise is a delight. I would recommend this audible book highly to any Austen fan.
"Another great Jane Austin novel"
Sense and Sensibility was a lovely story, Jane Austin really makes you feel like you are living back in the old world amongst her characters. This book was a little slow to start but after a few chapters I was hooked and couldn't wait to hear what happened next. There are many twists and an interesting insight into their way of life, beautifully written.
"All the better for the reader"
Thoroughly enjoyed this audio book. Juliet Stevenson was the perfect person to listen to.
Beautiful narration of a classic, absolutely loved her rendition of Lucy Steele's letters, brilliant capture of her character.
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