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  • 4
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  • 19
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  • Circle of Friends

  • By: Maeve Binchy
  • Narrated by: Kate Binchy
  • Length: 16 hrs and 34 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 34
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 32
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 32

In the small Irish town of Knockglen, best friends Bernadette ('Benny') and Eve are inseparable. Benny is an adored only child, and Eve, a poor, birdlike orphan brought up by nuns. On their first day at University College, Dublin, a fatal road accident brings the pair together with fellow students Nan Mahon and Jack Foley, and new friendships are quickly struck. Jack and Nan introduce Eve and Benny to a life of excitement and sophistication.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Circle of Friends

  • By Maxglen on 17-04-2016

A heart-warming tale for everyone

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

Reviewed: 01-07-2018

I love Maeve Binchy, but Circle of Friends is one of her loveliest novels. It harks back to the lost Ireland of the 1950s, where it's an amazing thing for a country girl to go to university and Dublin is regarded as the danger zone for moral purity! The cast of characters is varied, vivid and always interesting, from the quick-tempered orphan Eve to the self-doubting only child Benny, from Benny's loving but suffocating parents to the wise Mother Francis who is determined to get Eve the future she deserves. It's a story about self-acceptance as much as it is about friendship and love -- Benny struggles to find her place as both dutiful daughter and independent educated woman; Eve has to lay her unhappy past to rest in order to build herself a life. As with all Maeve's novels, there is tragedy and sorrow as well as laughter and fun. This is a great listen; please enjoy.

  • Evening Class

  • By: Maeve Binchy
  • Narrated by: Kate Binchy
  • Length: 14 hrs and 54 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 15
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 12
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 13

The Italian evening class at Mountainview School is like hundreds of others starting up all over the city. But this class has its own special quality - as the focus for the varied hopes and dreams of teacher and pupils alike. Aidan Dunne needs his new evening class project to succeed almost as much as his pupils do. They too are looking for something more: Bill to find a way to keep spendthrift Lizzie at his side and Fran to make sure that young Kathy finds her way out from behind the kitchen sink.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • A journey from Ireland to Italy

  • By Anonymous User on 01-07-2018

A journey from Ireland to Italy

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

Reviewed: 01-07-2018

This is a great Maeve Binchy novel -- full of her usual cast of fascinating and varied characters who are somehow also completely believable.

The structure is unusual in that it's told 'by character'; one chapter each for 'Signora', 'Luigi', 'Constanza' and so on. Initially, this grates when you get to a character you're not particularly interested in, but with Maeve's story-telling skill you're soon drawn in to the lives of even the characters who aren't your favourites. In my view, this is one of Maeve's most beautiful love stories, and it's heart-warming to see Aidan and Nora getting a second chance at happiness after a tragic beginning on each side. If you need a pick-me-up, feel-good sort of audiobook, then this is a great place to start. You can also follow Aidan and Nora through other Maeve novels later on -- Scarlet Feather, Heart and Soul and Minding Frankie all update the reader on how our favourite pair are getting on!

  • Light a Penny Candle

  • By: Maeve Binchy
  • Narrated by: Kate Binchy
  • Length: 19 hrs and 54 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 17
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 16
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 16

As a child, Elizabeth was sent from her war-torn, rather loveless home in London to stay with a big, boisterous family in a small town in Ireland. There she meets Aisling, and begins what becomes a long-lasting friendship. Over the next 20 years, Aisling and Elizabeth's paths will cross and re-cross. As they face their loves, their marriages, and their disappointments, they realise that not all problems will be solved, nor all wishes granted by lighting a penny candle.

  • 1 out of 5 stars
  • incredibly frustrating

  • By Trish on 17-07-2016

One of Maeve's most touching stories

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

Reviewed: 01-07-2018

Light a Penny Candle is one of my favourite Maeve Binchy novels -- the story of the English Elizabeth who's sent to live with the Irish Connor family during the Blitz. Although it's set during the period 1941 - 1956, it speaks to my own experience of living in Ireland as a foreigner, and all the cultural miscommunications that ensue. It's a warm and engaging story, full of relatable and memorable characters, but it's also tragic and deeply sad -- just like real life! Aisling and Elizabeth are great characters, believable both in their totally different personalities and in the strength of their friendship. This is a particularly affecting novel for anyone who's ever tried to sustain a relationship in writing; Maeve treats with great accuracy the difficulties of describing the realities of day-to-day life to someone whom you used to be able to talk to in person every day. The gradual distancing of friendships as people grow up and move away is one of the central themes of the novel; anyone who's ever made or lost a friend will find something to relate to here. It's an old recording, but solid to listen to. Enjoy!

  • Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone, Book 1

  • By: J.K. Rowling
  • Narrated by: Stephen Fry
  • Length: 8 hrs and 44 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars 4,098
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 3,816
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars 3,799

Harry Potter has never even heard of Hogwarts when the letters start dropping on the doormat at number four, Privet Drive. Addressed in green ink on yellowish parchment with a purple seal, they are swiftly confiscated by his grisly aunt and uncle. Then, on Harry's eleventh birthday, a great beetle-eyed giant of a man called Rubeus Hagrid bursts in with some astonishing news: Harry Potter is a wizard, and he has a place at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. An incredible adventure is about to begin!

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Stephen Fry was brilliant

  • By John on 19-09-2016

Fantastic novel, fantastic reading...

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

Reviewed: 01-07-2018

Like thousands of others, I'm a huge Harry Potter fan, and Stephen Fry's readings are just delightful. He achieves a truly impossible feat, bringing out the vivid personalities of JK Rowling's characters in speech, giving them distinctive accents and cadences so that you love them even better than you did before. Professor McGonagall, in particular, is a favourite of mine -- you can hear her tones and emphasis changing through the books as Harry grows up and gets to know her better.

The Philosopher's Stone is the first of the seven Harry Potter books, and is the start of a life-changing journey for many readers. Harry is a thoroughly relatable character -- a normal kid with normal resentments against his horrible extended family and normal insecurities about how he's going to be the stupidest kid at his new school. Somehow, the fact that Harry doesn't understand or care how special he is is one of his most attractive features. He's a fantastic illustration for kids and grown-ups alike that it's both ok and possible to be weird and different; everyone has to live out the life that is in them. If you happen to know nothing about Harry Potter (where have you been for twenty-five years??), please don't hesitate -- these books will be with you forever! Enjoy!

0 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Firefly Summer

  • By: Maeve Binchy
  • Narrated by: Kate Binchy
  • Length: 23 hrs and 29 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 19
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 17
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 17

Firefly Summer is warm, humorous, sad and happy. Reading it is a joy' Irish Independent In the summer of 1962, an American millionaire arrives in a small, sleepy Irish town with far-reaching consequences. For the children of the Ryan family, the long hot summers are usually spent playing in the ruins of a large, abandoned house.

  • 3 out of 5 stars
  • A comfortable listen, but not one of Maeve's best

  • By Anonymous User on 01-07-2018

A comfortable listen, but not one of Maeve's best

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

Reviewed: 01-07-2018

Regrettably, Firefly Summer is not one of Maeve's better novels -- it's too long and poorly paced, often feeling slow. Having said that, it's a typical Maeve story of real, engaging people who are complex and interesting. The rural setting is unusual for Maeve's work, and the historical timeframe (covering the period 1962-65) offers interesting insights into Irish society of that generation, when the civil war was a living memory and the Church still ran the country. This novel also contains Maeve's only thoroughly 'bad' character (as far as I'm aware...) -- Kerry O'Neill is a true narcissist with no empathy and no redeeming features.

There are a few problems with the recording -- bits of text repeated without warning (1-2 minutes' worth), and some static interference , presumably from converting an old recording into digital format.

  • West Cork

  • By: Sam Bungey, Jennifer Forde
  • Narrated by: Sam Bungey, Jennifer Forde
  • Length: 7 hrs and 50 mins
  • Original Recording
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,171
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,033
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,032

This much we do know: Sophie Toscan du Plantier was murdered days before Christmas in 1996, her broken body discovered at the edge of her property near the town of Schull in West Cork, Ireland. The rest remains a mystery. Gripping, yet ever elusive, join the real-life hunt for answers in the year’s first not-to-be-missed, true-crime series.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Like 'Serial' done in Ireland

  • By Amazon Customer on 28-02-2018

A disappointing and amateurish treatment of a deeply troubling case

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

Reviewed: 10-04-2018

This is my first disappointment with Audible — I can see why it was free, because it compares poorly with other true crime podcasts of a much higher calibre. The reporters are not brave or well-informed enough to tackle the really interesting question, which is the colossal mismanagement of the murder investigation by the gardai, and so they resort to a simplistic portrayal of the Irish as parochial and bigoted. This bears no relation to my experience of living in Ireland as a foreigner, and it obscures the real and serious material of the case. The podcast is poorly structured, far too long, shows abysmal interview technique and lacks both research and dispassion. It only became interesting in the final two hours, and should have been less than half the length for the amount of substantive material covered. It doesn’t matter whether you think Ian Bailey is guilty; this is a poorly-framed narrative which sheds no light on the case and offers nothing of value to a listener interested in either the case itself or the effects of the case on Ireland and Irish society. They make the point that Sophie Toscan du Plantier’s family has been short-changed by the legal process in Ireland, but I think they are equally short-changed by this sort of amateurish production. Whatever this is, it’s not serious reportage.

1 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Career of Evil

  • Cormoran Strike, Book 3
  • By: Robert Galbraith
  • Narrated by: Robert Glenister
  • Length: 17 hrs and 54 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 659
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 629
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 628

When a mysterious package is delivered to Robin Ellacott, she is horrified to discover that it contains a woman's severed leg. Her boss, private detective Cormoran Strike, is less surprised but no less alarmed. There are four people from his past whom he thinks could be responsible - and Strike knows that any one of them is capable of sustained and unspeakable brutality.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • My favourite Cormoran Strike novel thus far

  • By V on 24-10-2015

Perhaps the most disturbing Galbraith yet

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

Reviewed: 04-03-2018

This is a deeply troubling story about justice missed, miscarried or generally ignored...and the people who live who the consequences. What I loved about this book is that Robin achieves greater centrality, and we really get to see her develop as a detective. I literally can’t wait for the next Galbraith novel, because I think Robin and Strike are into a new phase as partners and it’s going to be even more interesting. Another stunning read by Robert Glenister — don’t hesitate to listen!!

  • The Silkworm

  • Cormoran Strike, Book 2
  • By: Robert Galbraith
  • Narrated by: Robert Glenister
  • Length: 17 hrs and 16 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 825
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 759
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 761

When novelist Owen Quine goes missing, his wife calls in private detective Cormoran Strike. At first, she just thinks he has gone off by himself for a few days - as he has done before - and she wants Strike to find him and bring him home. But as Strike investigates, it becomes clear that there is more to Quine's disappearance than his wife realises. The novelist has just completed a manuscript featuring poisonous pen-portraits of almost everyone he knows. If the novel were published it would ruin lives - so there are a lot of people who might want to silence him.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • An excellent follow up

  • By Jeremy on 29-04-2015

Another corker from Robert Galbraith

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

Reviewed: 04-03-2018

I didn’t like this second Strike novel as much as the first — it’s gruesome, but it’s still an excellent detective story. Robin and Strike really carry the reader along, and their case is saved from being overly grotesque by the fact that it’s clearly about why people behave the way they do, whether it’s the murdered man with his eccentricities, or his widow who doesn’t care what people think, or the cast of ancillary characters who each have an axe to grind. I found myself pondering this story more than the previous one, because it asks why people turn out the way they do...

  • The Cuckoo's Calling

  • Cormoran Strike, Book 1
  • By: Robert Galbraith
  • Narrated by: Robert Glenister
  • Length: 15 hrs and 53 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,032
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 953
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 953

When a troubled model falls to her death from a snow-covered Mayfair balcony, it is assumed that she has committed suicide. However, her brother has his doubts, and calls in private investigator Cormoran Strike to look into the case.Strike is a war veteran - wounded both physically and psychologically - and his life is in disarray. The case gives him a financial lifeline, but it comes at a personal cost: the more he delves into the young model's complex world, the darker things get - and the closer he gets to terrible danger...

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Great read

  • By Looraine on 03-09-2014

Even better than reading the book...

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

Reviewed: 04-03-2018

Robert Glenister makes this book even better than Robert Galbraith’s original, because you get to hear all the different accents and tones which make the characters so vivid. I was expecting to find his interpretation of Strike not what I wanted, but I was mistaken — he’s just the right mix of curmudgeonly, kind and obstinate to draw the reader in. If you like seriously good detective fiction which is as much about why-dunnit as who-dunnit, then you can’t miss Robert Galbraith read by Robert Glenister. Enjoy!

  • Scarlet Feather

  • By: Maeve Binchy
  • Narrated by: Kate Binchy
  • Length: 18 hrs and 29 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 19
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 18
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 18

Cathy Scarlet and Tom Feather have decided to create the best catering company in Dublin. They have the perfect premises, heaps of talent, and even a few contacts - but not everyone seems as pleased by the idea of 'Scarlet Feather' as they are. Tom's parents are disappointed that he has turned his back on the family business. Cathy's husband buries himself in work, becoming ever more distant, whilst his mother thinks Cathy should stay at home to look after him.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Heartwrenching

  • By Dale on 03-09-2018

Quintessential Maeve Binchy

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

Reviewed: 04-03-2018

Scarlet Feather is one of my favourite Bunchy novels, and this reading does it full justice. Simon and Maud in particular tug at the heart strings, and this is a great story about how life doesn’t turn out the way you think it will, but sometimes for the best anyway. This book has some profound things to say about the nature of family, but in typical Maeve fashion it’s done with a lightness of touch that draws you in and makes you laugh even as you’re raging against the world’s injustice. Highly recommend for anyone who wants a great story full of true Irish characters... Muttie Scarlet is a particular favourite of mine!