Fans of British costume dramas about royalty (such as Wolf Hall and the new Netflix release The Crown) will enjoy today’s Free Audio Friday audiobook: Elizabeth’s solo recording of The Fifth Queen, a novel about Katharine Howard, by Ford Madox Ford. You can download this book for free at LibriVox here.
The Fifth Queen trilogy is a series of connected historical novels by English novelist Ford Madox Ford. It consists of three novels, The Fifth Queen; And How She Came to Court (1906), Privy Seal (1907) and The Fifth Queen Crowned (1908), which present a highly fictionalized account of Katharine Howard’s marriage to King Henry VIII.
It’s Free Audio Friday, special Banned Books Week edition! Celebrate your freedom to read this week by listening to Elizabeth’s LibriVox recording of The Awakening by Kate Chopin. This book is on the list of frequently challenged classics, which contains many other amazing and influential works.
Kate Chopin’s 1899 novella is about the personal, sexual, and artistic awakening of a young wife and mother, Edna Pontellier. While on vacation at Grand Isle, an island in the Gulf of Mexico, Edna befriends the talented pianist Mlle. Reisz and the sympathetic Robert Lebrun, both of whom will influence her startling life choices. Chopin’s novel created a scandal upon its original publication and effectively destroyed her writing career. Now, however, it is considered one of the finest American novels of the 19th century.
Elizabeth is on an Edith Wharton kick lately – so this week for Free Audio Friday, it’s her LibriVox recording of The Glimpses of the Moon (1922), an excellent novel about an unusual marriage. You can listen to this book for free via the LibriVox site or app.
Nick and Susy Lansing live a decadent life in Europe by sponging off wealthy friends. They marry out of convenience and have an “open” relationship, but are unprepared for where their feelings will take them.
Elizabeth is starting up her Free Audio Friday posts again – to promote titles from her free LibriVox recordings, and to offer new recordings on this site. Today’s title is Elizabeth’s LibriVox recording of Edith Wharton’s classic 1905 novel of manners The House of Mirth. Listen for free here. The book is about 29-year-old socialite Lily Bart, who is “on the hunt for a rich husband” but drawn irresistibly toward Lawrence Selden, a man with little money but who represents the intellectual freedom to which Lily aspires. Wharton’s beautiful novel established her as a major voice in American fiction. Happy Friday, and happy listening!
Elizabeth is excited to announce that her newest LibriVox solo recording, A Little Princess by Frances Hodgson Burnett, is now finished and available for download! Go here to listen to this book for free. This children’s classic, written by the author of The Secret Garden, is about Sara Crewe and her adventures at Miss Minchin’s boarding school in London. Elizabeth has also narrated and read the role of Martha in Burnett’s The Secret Garden as part of a LibriVox dramatic production; go here to listen. Elizabeth’s next solo recording for LibriVox will be Virginia Woolf’s Night and Day.
Happy listening, everyone!
For Free Audio Friday this week, in anticipation of the forthcoming release of her recording of Shannon Winslow’s wonderful novel The Persuasion of Miss Jane Austen, Elizabeth is featuring her LibriVox recording of Jane Austen’s Persuasion. You can download and listen to the book here. This is Austen’s final completed novel, published posthumously in 1817. The heroine, Anne Elliot, is considered past her prime at 27, and still regrets the dissolution of her engagement to the dashing Captain Frederick Wentworth eight years ago. When Anne and Wentworth encounter each other again, will they be able to rekindle their romance? This is probably Elizabeth’s favorite Austen novel – so happy listening! And stay tuned for the release of Shannon Winslow’s adaptation of the novel to Jane Austen’s own life, due soon at Audible.
The image is from the wonderful 1995 film version of Persuasion, with Amanda Root as Anne and Ciaran Hinds as Wentworth.
Elizabeth is featuring another of her LibriVox solo recordings for Free Audio Friday this week: The Odd Women by George Gissing (1893). You can download and listen to this novel for free here. This timely book takes on the 19th century “Woman Question” by looking at themes of feminism, marriage, and love. The novel raises these issues through the lives of several contrasting women: Mary Barfoot, a feminist philanthropist who helps train women for careers; her close friend Rhoda Nunn, who believes marriage is a disastrous choice for women; and Monica Madden, who starts out as one of their protegees but chooses to marry a seemingly kind older man. As Monica experiences the challenges of married life, Rhoda finds herself drawn to Mary’s cousin, the charming but apparently profligate Everard. Enjoy!
Following on from last week’s featured Free Audio Friday title, Rebecca West’s The Return of the Soldier, Elizabeth is offering another audiobook that helps to commemorate the beginning of World War I: Edith Wharton’s memoir Fighting France. This is Elizabeth’s solo recording for LibriVox, and is one of many Wharton books that she has recorded; take a look at the Credits page to see the full list. Wharton was an American writer (and is well known for her novels The Age of Innocence and The House of Mirth), but spent a good portion of her adult life in France. When the war started in 1914, she obtained permission to visit sites behind the lines, including hospitals, ravaged villages, and trenches. Fighting France records her experiences traveling across the country in the first two years of the war, and celebrates the bravery and spirit of the French people. Highly recommended!