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Neal Wyatt
Library Journal, August 2017

Austen’s talent as a stylist and her humor, wit, and wonderful characterizations combine to make audio versions of her books particularly rewarding. One of the greatest narrators of her work is Juliet Stevenson, whose delightful British voice is extremely adaptable, wringing every bit of keenness and drollery out of Austen’s writings to produce a richly inflected and gleeful experience. Having read a number of Austen’s novels for Naxos, Stevenson presents a take on this most unlikely tale, a spoof on the gothic, that is a showcase of her narrative skills. © 2017 Library Journal Read complete review

Laurel Ann
AustenProse, February 2010

It is believed that Jane Austen wrote many of her first works for the entertainment of her family and would read them aloud for their opinions and enjoyment. It is not hard to imagine that Northanger Abbey was presented to her family in this manner. The language and phrasing lends itself so freely to the spoken word almost like a stage play, that I was quite certain that an audio book would be a great enhancement to the text. Add to that the talent of a creative narrator and you have a great combination for several hours of entertainment ahead of you.

I adore audio books and listen to them in the car during my commute to work. It is a great time to tune out the traffic, clear my head, and get lost in a good story. …Ms. Stevenson did not disappoint and far exceeded my expectations. She added just the right amount of irony and humor to the reading of Northanger Abbey that no one would be in doubt that it is a burlesque on the sensational Gothic fiction or other overly sentimental novels popular in Jane Austen’s day. Her choice of characterizations was imaginative and captivating. Hearing her interpretation of the emptiness of Mrs. Allen and her frivolous distinction for fashion, Isabella Thorpe and her shallow endearments, and Henry Tilney with his knack for reading and adapting to different personalities with wit and charm, I have a deeper appreciation and understanding of the novel.

I was happy to learn that Naxos AudioBooks has made quite a solid commitment to present quality productions of all of Jane Austen’s six major novels in unabridged and abridged formats. You can read about all of their recordings on their excellent web site and listen to a PodCast of an interview of Juliet Stevenson as she discusses her involvement in the audio recordings and her affinity to Jane Austen. Of note is the free download for this month of Feuille D’Album, a 1917 short story by Katherine Mansfield and read by Juliet Stevenson. © 2010 AustenProse

Jane Austen Today, April 2009

Juliet Stevenson: Jane Austen Reader

Of seven Naxos audio books in my possession, five are read by Juliet Stevenson, the actress who so brilliantly portrayed Mrs. Elton in 1996’s Emma and whose comical performance as Keira Knightley’s cleavage loving mother in Bend it Like Beckham is my favorite character in the film.

Juliet’s vocal readings of Emma, Northanger Abbey, Mansfield Park, Persuasion, and Sense and Sensibility are outstanding. You can hear an 8-minute interview with her about the process at this link:

In the interview, she mentions that her favorite Jane Austen novel is Sense and Sensibility and her least favorite is Pride and Prejudice (read by Emilia Fox, the actress who played Georgianna Darcy in the 1995 film adaptation of P&P). Juliet also enjoyed reading Emma, which she describes as delicious. “The structure is miraculous,” she adds. “[Emma’s] snobbery is completely unforgivable, but miraculously you are on her side.”

Narrating lengthy text requires excellent story telling ability. Juliet Stevenson has it…In her interview Juliet reveals why she likes reading for audio book: “You can play anything—an old man, a girl of seventeen. It is really liberating but it is also difficult.” Being able to take liberties with characterizations also attracts her to the medium. In order to be an effective reader she must know the heart and soul of the book, an experience Juliet found enriching.

Jane Austen Today, February 2009

Need your Jane Austen fix? Too busy driving the kids to their functions, or taking long commutes back and forth to work to read Pride and Prejudice? Too exhausted at night to tackle anything more than light reading? Have no fear. Naxos Audio Books provides a solution. You can purchase Jane's books two ways: in digital format or as an audio CD. Beautifully packaged and read by the incomparable Juliet Stevenson and Emilia Fox, you will receive hours of listening pleasure. I've discovered that Jane's novels translate beautifully into the spoken word. For those who have difficulty with her writing style, you might prefer to "read" her books in this manner.

NAX20212 The Jane Austen Collection Vol 1 (abridged)
NAX39412 AUSTEN: Emma (Unabridged)
NA309512 AUSTEN: Emma (Abridged)
NA222812 AUSTEN: Lady Susan (Unabridged)
NAX46712 AUSTEN: Mansfield Park (Unabridged)
NA306712 AUSTEN: Mansfield Park (Abridged)
NA742712 AUSTEN: Northanger Abbey (Unabridged)
NA207612 AUSTEN: Northanger Abbey (Abridged)
NA743612 AUSTEN: Persuasion (Unabridged)
NA310712 AUSTEN: Persuasion (Abridged)
NAX35612 AUSTEN: Pride and Prejudice (Unabridged)
NA310412 AUSTEN: Pride and Prejudice (Abridged)
NAX36112 AUSTEN: Sense and Sensibility (Unabridged)

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