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Beautiful

Narrated by: Gemma Dawson
Length: 7 hrs and 18 mins
4 out of 5 stars (88 ratings)

Non-member price: $41.73

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Publisher's Summary

With the Nordic fairy tale East of the Sun and West of the Moon as her inspiration, Juliet Marillier weaves a magical story of a young princess' search for her true self.

Hulde is a queen's daughter and lives in a palace. But her life is lonely. Growing up atop the glass mountain, she knows only her violent and autocratic mother and a household of terrified servants. 

Then a white bear named Rune comes to visit, and Hulde learns what kindness is. 

But the queen has a plan for Hulde. When she turns 16, she will wed the most beautiful man in all the world. Hulde has never met her intended husband, and her mother refuses to explain the arrangement. Hulde becomes desperate to find out more, and seeks the help of a magic mirror. Perhaps someone is coming to her rescue. 

On her wedding day, Hulde's existence is turned upside down. For the first time she leaves the glass mountain behind, setting out to be as brave as the heroines in her beloved storybook. 

The journey will test Hulde to the limit. Can she overcome her fears and take control of her own life? 

©2019 Juliet Marillier (P)2019 Audible Originals, LLC.

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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

Another solid entry from Marillier

While the narration on this is a bit flat, and it lacks the scope of Marillier’s other works, this is still a deeply enjoyable listen.

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Christine

I’m a long time fan of juliet marillier and once again was captivated by her tale I liked the narration as well
I’d listen again to this story of courage and heartrending honesty

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars

this book

I did not finish it, this story book is just not what I would enjoy reading

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    2 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars

hard not to cringe

the first part of the book was nice, but when the story tries to get interesting the author seems get more dumb with the writing. I wouldn't recommend reading this.

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Simply exquisite

Inspired by the Norwegian fairytale East of the Sun and West of the Moon, Hulde's journey is an extraordinary and lyrically beautiful narrative, following the journey of a courageous and captivating young woman on a journey to discover the world.

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

Liked the message

I loved how the story began and inner meaning of the story!! Although I felt the second part is a bit dragged compared to the first part otherwise if was fun to listen.

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

A sweet little story, but the narrator killed it

A sweet little story, but the narrator killed it, not a good storyteller, very droll, she also spoke too fast and did not put pauses in where required.

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Lovely

I enjoyed this from the start to the end. The story is written beautifully. In the beginning I thought it was going to be about a beautiful princess who has to deal with life at a much larger court than she was raised in, but plot twist - it's not. It's a lovely story, and very different to anything I have read before.

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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Ben
  • 19-07-2019

Narrator was too anxious sounding

Narrator was too anxious sounding the entire time and the anxiety made it unpleasant. Also too old, as the story was first person from a teenage girl troll.
I have read all Juliets books but found this a bit boring. A teenage girl worrying about her ugliness is not something I want to listen to, especially from an anxious narrator.

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
  • Rod
  • 16-07-2019

Add it to your recommended listening library.

Beauty can be internal or external, true or faked, but however it comes, it alters our own perception of the world and the way people respond to us. It is the nature of beauty and how it influences us that is at the heart of Juliet Marillier’s fantasy fairy tale for adults.

Like all good fairy tales, Beautiful has a moral compass that takes us through an adventure filled with curses and trolls, good vs evil, and a quest for love and self-acceptance. The story evolves through the eyes of Hulda, a princess trapped in lonely life at the top of a mountain. As young as seven, Hulda already knows she is destined to many a prince she has never met. Her life is controlled completely by her autocratic mother, including her friendship with Rune, a kind-hearted bear that visits once every three years and teaches Hulda about the beauty hiding in front of her eyes.

When disaster strikes on her wedding day, a 16-year-old Hulda sets forth on a quest to save her groom with unexpected support from those she learns to trust and whose trust she earns. The quest leads Hulda to embrace herself and discover what truly makes someone beautiful.

Released exclusively as an audiobook through Audible Studios, Beautiful is an expanded reworking of a novella released last year. Author Juliet Marillier is a historical fantasy writer who has loosely based her fable on a Nordic fairy tale, East of the Sun and West of the Moon. Her story provides an alternative telling of the original fable which unravelled from the viewpoint of the bear and his girlfriend.

Beautiful is read by the marvellous Gemma Dawson, whose proper British accent is fitting of the central character. Dawson brings Princess Hulda to life with all the emotions and wonder of a sheltered young girl who finds herself on an unexpected and dangerous adventure. Fuelled by Marillier’s strong characterisations, Dawson’s narration is heartfelt and engaging.

While the plot is fairly straight-forward, there is a lot of depth to be found in both the characters and their journey, making Beautiful an easy but satisfying listen for ages 14 and above.