This month we have some enthralling new releases for you, so sit down, relax and enjoy some superb springtime listening!
We begin with Bill Homewood’s thrilling reading of a French classic: The Three Musketeers by Alexandre Dumas. If you are looking for escape, the dashing swordsman d’Artagnan and his daredevil companions Athos, Aramis and Porthos make the best companions! Follow them through an adventure of travel, war, love and intrigue as they find themselves at the centre of a conspiracy to destroy the King, Queen and France herself.
We then move from the heart of 17th-century Paris to the front of a fireside in industrial, 19th-century England. A drama of deceit, guilt and retribution, Silas Marner is George Eliot’s tale of a humble weaver who is driven through injustice to become a recluse and solitary miser. However, in place of all the hard-earned coins he has lost, he receives back the gifts of life and love in the form a child, and from desolate misery comes triumphant joy. This delightful and heart-warming tale is read with warmth and sensitivity by Anna Bentinck.
Next we have two novels read by the magnificent Juliet Stevenson, following her triumphant run of Beckett’s Happy Days at the Young Vic theatre in London: Night and Day by Virginia Woolf and Madame Bovary by Gustave Flaubert.
Written before her experimental period, Virginia Woolf's second novel, Night and Day, is a story about a group of young people trying to discover what it means to fall in love. Set in Edwardian London, it is a vivid memoir of a vanished world. Juliet Stevenson excels in conveying the heights of Woolf’s wondrous prose.
In Madame Bovary, one of the great novels of nineteenth-century France, Flaubert draws a deeply-felt but sympathetic portrait of a woman who, having married a country doctor, finds herself unhappy in a rural, genteel existence and longs for love and excitement. Her aspirations and her desires lead her into a tragic downward spiral.
Stevenson, for whom Madame Bovary is a personal favourite, expertly interprets Flaubert’s beautiful and sensitive style its rhythm, its psychological truth and its striking degree of honesty.
Lastly, we have the digital pre-releases of volumes IV and V of The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire. Gibbon explores the state of the Roman provinces after the dissolution of the Western Empire and examines the reasons for its fall. He then moves to the Empire in the East, the formidable rule of Justinian and the attempts of the Persians and Arabs to besiege Constantinople. David Timson’s meticulous reading does full justice to the ballast of the work.
New Releases – April 2014