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The Summer Before the War Audiobook

The Summer Before the War

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Publisher's Summary

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. And Agatha has more immediate concerns; she has just risked her carefully built reputation by pushing for the appointment of a woman to replace the Latin master.

When Beatrice Nash arrives with one trunk and several large crates of books, it is clear she is significantly more freethinking and attractive than anyone believes a Latin teacher should be. For her part, mourning the death of her beloved father, who has left her penniless, Beatrice simply wants to be left alone to pursue her teaching and writing. But just as Beatrice comes alive to the beauty of the Sussex landscape and the colourful characters that populate Rye, the perfect summer is about to end.

For despite Agatha's reassurances, the unimaginable is coming. Soon the limits of progress and the old ways will be tested as this small Sussex town and its inhabitants go to war.

©2016 Helen Simonson (P)2016 Audible, Ltd

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.2 (18 )
5 star
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3 star
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Overall
4.0 (17 )
5 star
 (6)
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Story
4.7 (16 )
5 star
 (11)
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Performance
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  •  
    Bianca Coleman 21/05/2016
    Bianca Coleman 21/05/2016 Member Since 2015
    HELPFUL VOTES
    4
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    23
    5
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    0
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "This story was 'fine'"

    Great performance from Lucy Scott to turn a so-so story into one I managed to listen to for 15+ hours. The story line was predictable - particularly the ending - and the 'action' was a long time coming. The last 1/3 of this book was the better part. Recommended if you're after an easy 'listen'

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Perpetual student New Zealand 27/04/2017
    Perpetual student New Zealand 27/04/2017
    HELPFUL VOTES
    2
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    33
    4
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    0
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Condensing would have improved this book"

    I found the characters of this novel engaging. The story line at times plodded along and would have benefitted from some editing.

    Not a story with an ending you want for all characters but able to draw me in with feelings of emotion for both their misery and happiness.

    Worth a listen/read.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jane h. 24/05/2016
    Jane h. 24/05/2016 Member Since 2015
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    4
    1
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Intelligent and indulgent."

    Loved this slow moving, beautifully written and expertly read book. So easy to slip into Beatrice's world. Highly recommend.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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  • David
    Taunton, United Kingdom
    11/05/16
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "A good listen"
    What did you like most about The Summer Before the War?

    It is a slow burner, by chapter six I was wondering where the story was going and if indeed it was worth continuing with. I am very pleased that I did. It is a thought provoking, enjoyable listen.


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    Snout, Hugh and Daniel, they felt the most real and rounded characters to me.


    What aspect of Lucy Scott’s performance might you have changed?

    Her reading was rather flag and her voices for the male characters and more unpleasant lady characters too similar.


    5 of 5 people found this review helpful
  • Juliet
    14/08/16
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Slow burner"

    This was an easy going, easy listening story .... Until the last 2 hours. At which point, after many hours of a slightly tepid story line, the drama ramps up and I was gripped.
    There is some brilliant descriptive narrative and character creations. However, it was more of a 'back ground chatter' when listening in the car for many miles than a riveting drama.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Isobel
    Cambridge, England
    14/12/16
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Frustrating reader"
    What did you like most about The Summer Before the War?

    I was interested in the depiction of the way of life around the time of the Great War.


    Did the narration match the pace of the story?

    No. The narration was an obstacle to enjoyment. I lost count of the number of mistakes in pronunciation throughout the book. If this reader could place the emphasis on the wrong syllable in a phrase then she did so! She clearly was not reading ahead and understanding what she was reading.


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

    Yes. I found it trite and unsubtle.


    Any additional comments?

    In retrospect I am sorry I wasted my time on this book. I had quite enjoyed Major Pettigrew's Last Stand and wanted to try another by the same author but I won't be bothering with any more.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Sharon Lloyd
    Salisbury, England
    12/06/16
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Another beautifully written story by Helen - this wartime story evoked the war like no other I have ever read."

    This wartime story is superb. So much more than a wartime drama. Deeply touching and impossible to put down.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • TrishVB
    21/04/17
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Excellent social commentary"

    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.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Karen
    Plumstead, London, United Kingdom
    4/03/17
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Good ending, but oh sooooo slow..................."
    Is there anything you would change about this book?

    Edit the first half by about 2 hours


    What was the most interesting aspect of this story? The least interesting?

    The effect of the War on all the characters


    What does Lucy Scott bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you had only read the book?

    I had to abandon this book x 2 as the start was so slow, I got there in the end, due to the narration. If i had been reading it I would never have made a 3rd attempt.


    Do you think The Summer Before the War needs a follow-up book? Why or why not?

    No, the ending was just right.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • L-D
    England
    3/10/16
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Excellent story"

    Really enjoyed listening to this, touched on the issues of social boundaries of ww1 and the pals battalions along with life back at home and England before the war.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Catherine Taylor
    28/09/16
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Poignant and touching"

    Poignantly brings that summer to life with likable characters. Lovely narration, clear distinction between voices.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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