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Anna Spencer

Sydney, Australia
  • 30
  • reviews
  • 10
  • helpful votes
  • 103
  • ratings
  • Echoes

  • By: Maeve Binchy
  • Narrated by: Kate Binchy
  • Length: 18 hrs and 53 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 15
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 14
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 14

This is the story of two very different children growing up in a small Irish seaside town in the 50s and 60s. Shouting their hearts' desires into the echo cave, praying that their destiny will lead them far away from the town in which they live. Castlebay, in winter empty and grey with wind and sea spray, becomes all bustle and colour in the gaudy days of summer. The paths of these two characters are destined to criss-cross in a quite unforeseen way, and eventually both roads will lead back to Castlebay.

  • 2 out of 5 stars
  • Depressingly sad

  • By Margaret on 28-10-2018

A Delight from Start to Finish

Overall
5 out of 5 stars
Performance
5 out of 5 stars
Story
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 16-07-2018

As with most of Maeve Binchy’s stories, this is a charming and very credible tale. The characters are believable and the life of the small coastal town is very well depicted.

What impresses me most about this audio book, is the beautiful lyrical narration by Kate Binchy - a sheer delight to listen to!

This book would appeal to anyone who enjoys Maeve Binchy’s books, or who enjoys a nostalgic look at times gone by.

  • The Night Watch

  • By: Sarah Waters
  • Narrated by: Juanita McMahon
  • Length: 19 hrs and 25 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 23
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 20
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 20

Shortlisted for the British Book Awards, Book of the Year, 2007.
Shortlisted for Audible's Listen of the Year, 2006.
Shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize, 2006.
Shortlisted for the Orange Prize for Fiction, 2006.

Moving back through the 1940s, through air raids, blacked out streets, illicit liaisons, sexual adventure, to end with its beginning in 1941...

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Beautifully written

  • By emmoff on 17-11-2016

A fascinating story

Overall
5 out of 5 stars
Performance
5 out of 5 stars
Story
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 02-03-2018

Juan McMahon is a brilliant narrator, whose voicing of the different characters is amazing.

The story is excellent and very engaging. The diversity of rich and well rounded characters in wartime London, and the fact that the story starts at the end and then returns to an earlier period, make it very interesting.

Sarah Waters has obviously researched her subject thoroughly, and writes extremely well.

I highly recommend this novel and think it would appeal more to female readers interested in this period of history.

  • The Paying Guests

  • By: Sarah Waters
  • Narrated by: Juliet Stevenson
  • Length: 21 hrs and 29 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 81
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 78
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 78

Frances had been picturing her lodgers in purely mercenary terms - as something like two great waddling shillings. But this, she thought, was what it really meant to have paying guests: this odd, unintimate proximity, this rather peeled-back moment, where the only thing between herself and a naked Mrs Barber was a few feet of kitchen and a thin scullery door. An image sprang into her head: that round flesh, crimsoning in the heat.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Sarah Waters does it again...

  • By Diana on 07-10-2014

Gripping Thriller

Overall
5 out of 5 stars
Performance
5 out of 5 stars
Story
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 25-01-2018

I found The Paying Guests full of suspense and was unable to put it down.

From the first page to the final surprise ending, I was riveted and anxious to know what the final outcome would be.

I chose this book partly because it is read by Juliet Stevenson, whose voicing of the various characters is amazing, and because it is set in the 1920s.

This book would appeal to anyone who enjoys a riveting story set in another era, read by a brilliant actress.

  • My Husband's Wife

  • By: Jane Corry
  • Narrated by: Abigail Thaw, Lily Bevan
  • Length: 13 hrs and 23 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 1,027
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 937
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 939

When lawyer Lily marries Ed, she's determined to make a fresh start. To leave the secrets of the past behind. But when she takes on her first criminal case, she starts to find herself strangely drawn to her client. A man who's accused of murder. A man she will soon be willing to risk everything for. But is he really innocent? And who is she to judge?

  • 2 out of 5 stars
  • Predictable and irritating

  • By Jo on 03-12-2016

Thrilling and full of suspense

Overall
5 out of 5 stars
Performance
4 out of 5 stars
Story
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 28-12-2017

My Husband’s Wife is a story you won’t be able to put down.

From start to finish, as the plot twists and turns, nothing is quite what it seems.

The characters are believable and well drawn, but the inability of the narrators to create convincing male voices, is the only flaw in the narration.

This book would appeal to anyone who enjoys a good thriller.

  • Diary of a Young Girl

  • By: Anne Frank
  • Narrated by: Helena Bonham Carter
  • Length: 10 hrs and 8 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars 237
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 207
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 208

In Amsterdam, in the summer of 1942, the Nazis forced teenager Anne Frank and her family into hiding. For over two years, they, another family and a German dentist lived in a 'secret annexe', fearing discovery. All that time, Anne kept a diary.An intimate record of tension and struggle, adolescence and confinement, anger and heartbreak, Anne Frank's diary is one of those unique documents, famed throughout the world.It portrays innocence and humanity, suffering and survival in the starkest and most moving terms.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Loved this book!:)

  • By Anonymous User on 04-07-2018

An Endearing Diary

Overall
5 out of 5 stars
Performance
5 out of 5 stars
Story
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 24-11-2017

Anne Frank’s diary, which is charming, candid and endearing, is beautifully read by Helena Bonham Carter.

Anne shows wisdom beyond her years, and her frank reflections on life make absorbing listening. I like the way she always appears so cheerful on the outside and only reveals her true feelings to Kitty, her diary.
The diary gives the reader an accurate picture of life for Jews in hiding during the war years, and the hardships they had to endure.

I find this audio book very enjoyable, and it is much more positive than I had expected. The reader is so good, that it seems as though it is Anne herself who is talking.

This book would appeal to anyone, especially to those interested in the prevailing austere conditions during the war. Highly recommended.

  • The Night Manager

  • By: John le Carré
  • Narrated by: Michael Jayston
  • Length: 19 hrs and 1 min
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 60
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 55
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 56

The night manager is Jonathan, a veteran of clandestine operations. In flight from a failed marriage and his own past, he has taken refuge in the luxury hotel trade. Yet he finds no escape from his demons. Driven by a desire for atonement and by an inherited patriotism, Jonathan allows himself to be recruited as a British secret agent with a mission to expose the murderer of the woman he himself betrayed. His odyssey takes him across Britain and Canada to the Caribbean and the jungles of Panama. But there are more treacherous jungles still in Whitehall and Washington.

  • 2 out of 5 stars
  • Lost at Sea

  • By Anna Spencer on 07-11-2017

Lost at Sea

Overall
2 out of 5 stars
Performance
3 out of 5 stars
Story
2 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 07-11-2017

Although I listened to the first chapter twice and persisted with the whole book, I found it very difficult to concentrate on and to follow the rather involved story. The narrator’s rather soporific voice did not help to hold my attention either.

Not having read any of John le Carré’s books, I did not know quite what to expect, but there were so many different characters, whose voices often sounded similar, that I became quite confused.

Perhaps this book would appeal more to someone who likes this genre, but I am not one of them. My neighbour saw the story televised and really enjoyed it; perhaps it is more suited to this medium, where one can see the characters, as well as hear them talk.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • The Break

  • By: Marian Keyes
  • Narrated by: Aoife McMahon
  • Length: 19 hrs and 1 min
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 962
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 870
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 869

The story of a relationship that everyone thought was forever and which is now in danger of being for never, The Break is about getting older and staying in love when life, real life, is trying to pull you apart.

  • 3 out of 5 stars
  • A Light Hearted Romp

  • By Anna Spencer on 11-10-2017

A Light Hearted Romp

Overall
3 out of 5 stars
Performance
5 out of 5 stars
Story
3 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 11-10-2017

An enjoyable and convincing story of family relationships and dynamics. The characters are well rounded and believable, but I feel that the numerous explicit sex scenes detract from the book.

Aoife McMahon's performances are nothing short of brilliant! Her rendition of the voices of the various characters is superb and very convincing.

The Break would appeal to those interested in romantic fiction and family dynamics in modern day Ireland.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • Tandia

  • By: Bryce Courtenay
  • Narrated by: Humphrey Bower
  • Length: 26 hrs and 35 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars 161
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 149
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars 149

Tandia is a child of all Africa: half Indian, half African, beautiful and intelligent, she is only 16 when she is first brutalized by the police. Her fear of the white man leads her to join the black resistance movement. With her in the fight for justice is the one white man Tandia can trust, the welterweight champion of the world, Peekay. Now he must fight their common enemy in order to save both their lives.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • strong performance

  • By Anonymous User on 11-10-2017

Too much emphasis on boxing

Overall
3 out of 5 stars
Performance
5 out of 5 stars
Story
3 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 21-06-2017

Although I enjoyed much of this story, I found the sections dealing with boxing rather boring.

The characterisations are excellent and the depiction of South Africa during apartheid are of interest. The rest of the story is quite suspenseful and held my interest.

I preferred 'The Power of One' and 'The Potato Factory to 'Tandia'

  • The Throwaway Children

  • By: Diney Costeloe
  • Narrated by: Anne Dover
  • Length: 17 hrs and 55 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars 228
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 210
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars 209

Rita and Rosie Stevens are only nine and five years old when their widowed mother marries a violent bully. Under pressure from her new husband, she is persuaded to send the girls to an orphanage. It is not long before the powers that be decide to send a consignment of orphans to their sister institution in Australia. Among them, without their family's consent or knowledge, are Rita and Rosie, the throwaway children.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Fabulous!

  • By cheryl Fyfe on 07-03-2017

A Believable Account of Children sent to Australia

Overall
5 out of 5 stars
Performance
5 out of 5 stars
Story
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 28-05-2017

A most enjoyable book!

Anne Dover's narration and her voicing of all the different characters is brilliant. I was so enthralled that I couldn't wait to finish this story.

The characters are completely believable and the depiction of the life of these children sent from England to Australia is totally credible.

My only criticism is that the last few chapters of the story were rather predictable, but this is a small criticism.

  • British Classic Short Stories

  • By: Hugh Walpole, Thomas Hardy, Virginia Woolf, and others
  • Narrated by: Cathy Dobson
  • Length: 22 hrs and 18 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars 1
  • Performance
    1 out of 5 stars 1
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars 1

A rich and varied collection of classic short stories by British writers: 'Quality' by John Galsworthy, 'The Mark on the Wall' by Virginia Woolf, 'The Horse Dealer’s Daughter' by D. H. Lawrence, 'The Ticking of the Clock' by Louisa Baldwin, 'The Fiddler of the Reels' by Thomas Hardy, 'The Return' by R. Murray Gilchrist, 'Kew Gardens' by Virginia Woolf, 'Seashore Macabre' by Hugh Walpole, 'Satan’s Circus' by Eleanor Smith, 'The Coffin Merchant' by Richard Middleton....

  • 3 out of 5 stars
  • Some good, others not so interesting.

  • By Anna Spencer on 21-04-2017

Some good, others not so interesting.

Overall
3 out of 5 stars
Performance
1 out of 5 stars
Story
3 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 21-04-2017

I enjoyed some of the stories in this collection, but found myself being lulled to sleep by the narrator's unvaried and rather sing-song voice. I feel that another narrator could have done more justice to these classic short stories. Cathy Dobson does, however, succeed in voicing the various characters