From Publishers Weekly
The main drama in Bronte's novel happens in a long narrative told by an elderly housekeeper to a convalescing new tenant. This story-within-a-story setup makes it well suited for audio adaptation, as Scales takes the housekeeper's part and relates the past, while West performs as the tenant and describes the present. Scales primarily uses a folksy lower-class accent, but she also makes her voice harsh and threatening when speaking as Heathcliff, the surly man at the novel's heart. West, as the bewildered tenant, manages to sound both nervous and pretentious, but his part is fairly small, especially with this abridgment, so he mostly serves to provide transitions for the housekeeper's story. The extensive abridgment generally deletes sentences and phrases rather than entire paragraphs or sections. One drawback for the audio format is the difficulty of clarifying the novel's convoluted plot and family tree, since it's harder to search back through long CD tracks than through earlier chapters of the paperback. While a little of the depth of Bronte's writing is lost in abridgment, the novel's emotional core remains intact and wrenching, and the actors' heartfelt interpretations make it easy to imagine being curled up by a warm fire listening to an absorbing tale. In June, Penguin Audio remastered and released on CD for the first time nine other Penguin Classics: Crime and Punishment, Dracula, Frankenstein, Great Expectations, Jane Eyre, Moby Dick, Pride and Prejudice, Sense and Sensibility and Tale of Two Cities.
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From School Library Journal
Grade 8 Up-British actor Martin Shaw reads this shortened version of the classic Emily Bronte novel. His easily-understood accent is appropriate and helps to set the mood. Shaw reads at a very steady pace, pausing effectively for emphasis or when his character might be thinking. Usually calm and gentle, his voice can resonate with anger or other emotion when necessary. There is some differentiation in pitch to emphasize male vs. female speech, but it is not exaggerated or overdone. The abridgement retains Bronte's words linking speech or narration sometimes from one page to another. It provides students with an easier way to become familiar with the story and get a feel for her style. Teachers could use this presentation to introduce the novel or to entice students to read it on their own.Claudia Moore, W.T. Woodson High School, Fairfax, VA
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