The French Lieutenant's Woman

  • by John Fowles
  • Narrated by Paul Shelley
  • 17 hrs and 5 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

At Lyme Regis on the Dorset coast, a young Victorian amateur palaentologist, Charles Smithson, is struck by a solitary figure standing at the far end of the Cobb, staring out to sea. It is Sarah Woodruff, known to the locals as 'poor Tragedy' since her apparent liaison with a French sailor who has since deserted her. Although Charles is already engaged to a young heiress, he is immediately beguiled and eventually infatuated with Sarah.

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What the Critics Say

"Paul Shelley's subtle presentation does full justice to Fowles' artful, mysterious tale....Never once does he lose the listener as the author moves between the past and present, commenting on Victorian customs, politics, and morays. And never once does he give away the novel's surprise ending. Enthusiastically recommended." (AudioFile)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

Perfect Narrator

Would you listen to The French Lieutenant's Woman again? Why?

Yes, just to listen to Paul Shelley's beautiful reading - perfect timbre, mellifluous voice, good grasp of character and accent. For me, he is the best audiobook reader there is.


What other book might you compare The French Lieutenant's Woman to, and why?

Difficult to match John Fowles' mix of good story and high themes - perhaps Penelope Lively (Moon Tiger comes to mind) or A S Byatt when she remembers to be entertaining as well as erudite (Posession?).


Which scene did you most enjoy?

When Charles comes across the sleeping Sarah when he is out walking, although nothing beats the description of his first sight of her on the Cobb.


Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

No, too long and I wanted to savour the reading.


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- Liz

multi layered

A historical novel like no other : the enigmatic Sarah remains an enigma to the end and the two time perspectives of the story make for a fascinating and unsettling read.
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- The One Who Reads

Book Details

  • Release Date: 24-02-2005
  • Publisher: Audible Studios