Mansfield Park

  • by Jane Austen
  • Narrated by Frances Barber
  • 14 hrs and 45 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

Exclusively from Audible
When the self-effacing 10-year-old Fanny Price is sent to live with her wealthy relations at Mansfield Park she seems shy and withdrawn beside her witty and vivacious cousins. Growing up in the Bertram household, she is always treated as an inferior, only finding an ally in her cousin Edmund. But Fanny's steadfast and purposeful character eventually makes her an indispensable part of the household. During the absence of Fanny's uncle, the others become entangled in a maze of flirtation and intrigue upon the arrival of Mary Crawford and her brother Henry. It is only Fanny whose deep but secret love for Edmund remains true despite his fascination with her brilliant but frivolous cousin Mary.
The most serious of Austen's works due to its discussion of religion and religious duty, Mansfield Park also offers a subtle examination of social position and moral integrity, making it one of Austen's most profound works.
Jane Austen was an English novelist known primarily for her six major novels which focused on the British landed gentry at the end of the 18th century. Her plots often explore women's dependence on marriage in the pursuit of favourable social standing and economic security.
Narrator Biography
Frances Barber has received Olivier Award nominations for her work in the plays, Camille, and Uncle Vanya. Other theatre credits include; Madame Rubinstein, The School for Scandal, What The Butler Saw, Julius Caesar, Les Parents Terribles, That Face, Afterplay, Madame De Sade, and King Lear. Her numerous television credits include Father Brown, Medici: Masters of Florence, Mapp and Lucia, Psychobitches, The Spa, a new regular in the series Silk, several episodes of Doctor Who, Midsomer Murders and A Passionate Woman. Her film credits include The Escape; The Bookshop; Blue Iguana; Film Stars don't Die in Liverpool; El Elegido (The Chosen) and Mr. Holmes.
Frances Barbar has narrated an impressive list of titles, including The Chimney Sweeper's Boy by Barbara Vine, The Voyages of the Princess Matilda by Shane Spall and Mansfield Park by Jane Austen.

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What the Critics Say

"Frances Barber offers a sterling performance, bringing life and sparkle to each character....Barber convincingly shifts from lord of the manor to sniveling servitude at the change of a sentence. And her narrative passages transparently tie the whole family together into one beautiful package." (AudioFile)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

Very enjoyable but check narration

This is not my favourite Jane Austen book (Pride & Prejudice is). None of the characters is particularly interesting, amusing or likeable, and the heroine, Fanny Price, is a bit of a drip if truth be told. But it is still well worth reading for the witty and deadly way that she dissects the mores and lifestyles of the upper classes in the 19th century. Better still to have it narrated as you then really appreciate the quality of the prose - provided of course you like the narrator.

I can well see that Frances Barber will probably not be everyone's cup of tea as a narrator. She reads in a very precise, articulate and almost cut-glass accent, which comes across a bit cold at times. Personally, I think this suits the book very well; and her characterisation, particularly of the ghastly Mrs Norris, is spot on. Sound quality is faultless too.

I enjoyed the book very much, and would happily recommend it particularly to Jane Austen lovers, but I agree with the previous reviewer that it would be as well to sample the narration first - and try out some others (there are quite a few on Audible)- to make sure you are happy with it before buying.
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- Tom

A good book - but not the best narration.

I studied this book many years ago at school and was keen to visit it again. It is quite unusual as the heroine is not a strong character - you really want to shake Fanny and get her to buck her ideas up!! It does not help that Frances Barber's vocalisation of Fanny is not endearing, and you begin to dread when Aunt Bertram speaks. I may be tempted to try another recording of this as I think it may improve with a different narrator.
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- Caroline

Book Details

  • Release Date: 10-07-2008
  • Publisher: Audible Studios