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The Christmas Hirelings

Narrated by: Richard Armitage
Length: 3 hrs and 53 mins
4 out of 5 stars (391 ratings)
Non-member price: $20.83
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Publisher's Summary

Richard Armitage modernizes a classic hidden gem of Christmas Past… Sir John Penlyon is planning to spend Christmas at his estate with his niece and his friend Danby, the closest thing he has to family since disowning his daughter years ago. (She eloped with the parson, who was, of course, penniless.) Danby suggests that at Christmastime the estate needs the presence of small children, and offers to find some - the “hirelings” - despite Sir John’s skepticism. Three children duly arrive, and the youngest, precocious four year-old Moppet, quickly endears herself to Sir John. The season takes flight with merriment, warmth, and even affection, until Moppet - as young children are wont to do in Victorian holiday tales - falls deathly ill. With her life hanging by a tinsel-thin thread, how will the makeshift family cope? 

Listeners who smile ironically at the antiquated juxtaposition of The Christmas Hirelings might be surprised by the contemporary feel of a blended family, income inequality, and the power of togetherness to heal past sorrows. Richard Armitage’s stellar voice makes each scene as rich as a plum pudding dotted with the raisins of tradition (party favors, carols, and more!), and the entire performance feels like a trip to bygone England…just in time for the end of this year. 

Public Domain (P)2018 Audible, Inc.

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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not for me

perhaps it was a good book but I dont seebthe point of it. i dont recommend it. thank goodness it was for free. sorry.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Mrs
  • 29-12-2018

Delightful

A wonderful, gentle and heartwarming Christmas tale of the power of a child’s love beautifully narrated by Richard Armitage.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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EXCELLENT

insufficient stars to rate this story of it's true worth. A must read heartfelt presentation.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Love the old language used and the story is good.

The book draws you into the story with enchanting phrases. Pleasant easy story in a quaint setting.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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listened from start to finish in one sitting

Well written and a lovely story that captures the imagination and the Christmas spirit. It does remind me of the classic Christmas movies - A Christmas Carole and It's a Wonderful Life.

a really nice gesture from Audible too. Thank you

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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A rich story of pleasurable reading

Quite delightful. An engaging short novel of love, compassion and endurance. children are so endearing.

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A delightful story...

This is a wonderful story that doesn’t necessarily need to be listened to at Christmas! It’s the story of an old man’s love for a small child and how that child helped him learn to forgive and find it in his heart to love again.
Richard Armitage narrates beautifully. Thoroughly recommend.

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delightfull

once you got past the obvious plot ,it didn't matter it was beautifully written and amazingly read

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  • Roderic
  • Victoria Park, Australia
  • 06-02-2019

Charming, and very well read

A light and simple story that was pleasing throughout, particularly because of the excellent narration. The writer handled the balance of the simple plot quite well.

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really enjoyed it couldn't wait to get back to it

Great story Had me completely invested in all the characters and thinking about what would happen next when I had to put it down.

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  • Elisabeth Carey
  • 13-12-2018

A warm and lovely Christmas story

This is a Victorian Christmas tale, and it's a good one.

Sir John Penlyon is spending Christmas with his niece, Adela, and his friend Thomas Danby, a makeshift family for the aging man with no closer family left to him. Long widowed, his older daughter died just a few years after her own marriage, with no children. His younger daughter married a penniless curate, in defiance of her father, and was of course disowned.

Adela mentions how dull a Christmas with no children is, and Sir John, a bit of a curmudgeon, says Christmas is pointless for a household without children. In short order, Danby has persuaded Sir john to agree to his scheme to hire some suitable young children to enliven their holiday.

In time for Christmas, Danby brings two little girls and a young boy, sweet, endearing children who do indeed enliven the holiday. The younger girl, Moppet, in particular, charms Sir John and endears herself to him.

But this is a Victorian Christmas tale, and Moppet, inevitably, falls dangerously ill. Sir John begins to think he made a mistake in opening his home and his heart. Also, of course, the origin of these children becomes a far more urgent matter. The question of whether a wounded and broken family can be healed becomes the center of this story.

It's very well done, and very moving. Recommended.

I received this audiobook as part of Audible's Audible Originals program, and am reviewing it voluntarily.

13 of 13 people found this review helpful

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  • Zoe Gill
  • 11-12-2018

Recommended Feel-good Christmas Short

Similar to "A Christmas Carol." Touching story. Brilliant narration by Richard Armitage. Heart-warming holiday listen.

11 of 11 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Avene
  • 11-12-2018

Delightful story, excellent narration

Let's dispense with the obvious first: the narration by Richard Armitage is, as always, top-notch. (His rendition of "Moppet" was delightfully childlike!)

I'm glad Audible chose to gift us members with this particular "forgotten" tale. (And forgotten it is. I could not find a Kindle copy in Amazon but got a scanned copy from the internet archive website.) It is indeed perfect for Christmas and wonderfully written with its focus on children, family and forgiveness. I enjoyed M.E. Braddon's characterization of the children, especially their behavior upon meeting their host and in their varying reaction to one of them being ill. This is a delightful story excellently narrated. Thank you, Audible!

29 of 32 people found this review helpful

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  • Anonymous User
  • 11-12-2018

I loved it!

I loved It! I enjoyed this story about love and forgiveness. Loved this little girl.

24 of 27 people found this review helpful

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  • kevinf
  • 11-12-2018

A warming Christmas Story

A Christmas story that warms the heart. A great reminder of not only what Christmas is about but also why family can be such a big part of it whether you realize... or want it to be that way.

This was a holiday story I had not heard previously and I was able to get through in one sitting. Excellent short listen that dares to bring some Christmas spirit to a cold heart. Nicely written and Armitage does a good job with narration. #Christmas #Holidays #HeartWarming

11 of 12 people found this review helpful

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  • Anonymous User
  • 10-12-2018

Fits perfect to Christmas!

I love Christmas tales and listening to them on their original idiom is a new experience for me (my mother tongue is Portuguese). And, of course, there´s Richard Armitage narrating the story, changing his voice for every character... I loved it, Audible! Thank you very much for the audiobook!

63 of 73 people found this review helpful

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  • Silvia
  • 11-12-2018

Perfection

This is such a lovely story! And of course, impeccable narration. Recommend to anyone who wants to listen to something that will warm their hearts, make them smile and make them a little happier.
Or just want to listen to Richard's very sexy voice ;)

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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  • JB
  • 11-12-2018

Delightful Story of a perfect Christmas

This story is crafted by a gifted author and read in such a way that it is easy to almost live the story with the folks it is about. I got the book and “read” it ALL the same day. I will read it again before Christmas. You really should not miss this book.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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  • Anonymous User
  • 11-12-2018

A perfect introduction to the season!

A beautifully written, delightfully narrated book; exquisite characters, endearing story, masterfully presented in every way!

10 of 12 people found this review helpful

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  • IreneMBBT
  • 13-12-2018

Enjoyable period piece

I really enjoyed this tale of love and reconciliation overcoming the limitations of British society in the second half of the Nineteenth Century. I like that the author gave Sir John credit for having the intelligence to figure out what was going on. Amazing to think this was published in 1894; and written by a woman who lived much of her life outside the social conventions of her times.
Side note: I got a kick out of homeopathy being mentioned, as it was much more common here before the medical witch hunts in the U.S. My life would have been much different, in the negative, without the benefits of Arnica Montana. Another topic to research another day.
Armitage did an excellent job with narration.

Thank you, Audible, for a delicious, high quality Christmas treat!

2 of 2 people found this review helpful