North and South
by Elizabeth Gaskell
"Set in the mid-19th century, North and South follows the story of the heroine's movement from the tranquil but moribund ways of southern England to the vital but turbulent north. An unusual love story shows how personal and public lives were woven together in a newly industrial society."I enjoyed the descriptions of rural and industrial life at the start of the industrial revolution. Through the characters in the story, the author lays out the struggle between the owners and the factory hands alongside a modest love story, which is only really resolved on the last page. Much grittier and more political than Austen, but not as great as Galsworthy, which I'm going back to soon.
by John Galsworthy
"Separated from his wife Irene for some years now, Soames Forsyte has resigned himself to the fact she's never coming back. But as he grows older and richer, he yearns for an heir. When he confronts Irene, the raw wounds of his past passion are exposed."Just as good as the first book in this first trilogy, easy to read, and fascinating. The predicaments of Soames and his sister (with a profligate wastrel for a husband) are as shocking as they are unfamiliar these days: each wishes for a divorce, but divorce is the ultimate public shame. So shameful that Soames tries as hard as he can to take back his wife, his 'property', for the sake of public appearances and the chance of an heir, despite the fact that she has stated openly that she detests him.
Major Pettigrew's Last Stand
by Helen Simonson
narrated by Bill Wallis
"Since his wife Nancy's death, he has tried to avoid the constant bother of nosy village women, his grasping, ambitious son, and the ever spreading suburbanisation of the English countryside, preferring to lead a quiet life upholding the values that people have lived by for generations - respectability, duty, and a properly brewed cup of tea."This was unexpectedly good, considering that my choices at Audible are now quite random and mainly based on the synopsis and previous readers' reviews. This is the story of the Major, Mrs Ali who runs the village shop, the Major's son who's a bit of a snob, and Mrs Ali's nephew who's grappling with his Muslim faith. And quite a number of other well-rounded characters from their respective families and the village where they live. The narration was so wonderful that I shall now look out for other books narrated by Bill Wallis.