With Audible launching the exquisitely talented British actor Richard Armitage’s latest audiobook narration–of Charles Dickens’ book “David Copperfield” (right) last Tuesday–I realized that here is another wonderful story to be read to me by Richard Armitage (below).
Thanks to Kitty for sharing the link to an Entertainment Weekly article online containing a sound cloud clip of Richard Armitage reading the start of the “David Copperfield” audiobook!
And below is a link to an interesting interview that Richard Armitage gave about performing and recording the narration for “David Copperfield”, via Audible :
“David Copperfield” is a big sprawling tale by esteemed mid 19th century author Charles Dickens and is touted to contain autobiographical elements from Dicken’s own boyhood. And this new Audible audiobook of “David Copperfield” is a whopping 36 hours and 36 minutes! At my usual rate of audiobook listening of 2 hrs on Saturday and Sunday—mixed in amongst my writing, reading, and general life happenings–DC will take me 9 weekends to enjoy. Excellent!
Nota Bene: Audible had previously recorded “David Copperfield” in 2009 with another narrator, Simon Vance—only 34 hours. So when you go to the Audible website looking for the Richard Armitage version, be sure that you see him listed as the narrator to insure that you are buying and downloading the version that you want.
Bonus: Gratiana’s take on the 3 Georgette Heyer story audiobooks read by Richard Armitage
The last several weekends, I have been listening to the 3 Georgette Heyer regency novel audiobooks narrated by Richard Armitage (listed here in my order of preference): “The Convenient Marriage” (TCM); “Sylvester, or the Wicked Uncle”; and “Venetia”
I have listened to these audiobooks multiple times—well over 5 times in the case of TCM. And I never tire of the stories, nor of Richard Armitage telling them.
So in thinking about why I like these Heyer audiobook stories read by Richard Armitage so much, I thought it might be fun to interview the three main romantic swain characters to get their take upon their stories. The setting is a Georgian era revival mansion Drawing Room with red silk damask settes, gold brocade draperies with an understated bumble bee design, and leather wing chairs for the tall men—each of whom resembles a version of the Richard Armitage character John Thornton from the 2004 BBC miniseries North & South.
I am wearing an empire waisted pink silk organza gown with an overwhelmed darker pink ribbon under my lace edged bodice, poofy capped sleeves, and my rag curled but only shoulder length brunette hair fashioned into a semblance of a bun with daisies interspersed throughout. The gentlemen are dressed in their country manor riding finery of tan superfine breeches, cream waistcoats under navy blazers, and fluffy confections of tied cravats—with their own hair in various cropped or windblown styles.
Lady Gratiana: “Gentlemen, Thank you for joining me today. I appreciate that you have each come a long way and at considerable efforts on your parts—surmounting the obstacles of time (about 200 years) and medium (virtual vs corporeal). Of course, you know who you are. But for the sake of our readers, please introduce yourselves.”
Sylvester, Duke of Sulford (with imposing eyebrows, right via Terri): “Lady Brat!” And I wonder if he misheard my name of Lady Grat-iana. “My wife Her Grace the Duchess of Sulford, nee Phoebe Marlowe and I were at Chance, our country estate, on the verge of …. Well, that is none of your concern … and I suddenly find myself in this insipid Drawing Room, with two supposed men of the ton—whom I have never met nor heard of before, and yourself, Madam. You could not have astonished me more than if you were to admit that my widowed sister-in-law Ioanthe—my late twin brother Harry’s wife who is now married to that fop Sir Nugent Fotherby–put you up to this in order to wrest my 6 year old nephew Edmund from my guardianship. He is mine, my only link to my late brother Harry. I will not break my promise to my brother to keep Edmund under my protection.”
Lady Gratiana: With extreme delicacy, I attempt to assuage the fuming Duke, whose slanted eyebrows lend him the air of being even more incensed. “Ah, my apologies, Your Grace. Of course you feel your responsibilities keenly and your presence here is a disruption to you that I greatly regret. But I felt that you and each of the other two gentlemen were best able to present your cases, as it were, rather than rely upon my meager telling of them. Besides, the Dowager, your Mother, told me how to find you in the Homewood, is that what you call it?”
Sylvester, Duke of Sulford: Chastened by Lady Gratiana’s respectful tone and the mention of his Mama, the Duke remembers his manners. “Mama was it?” Lady Gratiana nods. “Madam, if I am mistaken in my recounting of what I perceive to be the facts of my abduction, I regret having done you an injustice.”
Lady Gratiana: “Thank you.” I nod politely.
Lady Gratiana: “Ah! Lord Rule. Did you wish to introduce yourself?”
Marcus Drelingcourt, Earl of Rule: “In the interest of time, Madam, I will. I am Lord Rule, the most fortunate of men—or the most unfortunate of men—to have a very young wife (18 years my junior) who spends my money like water, enjoys all sorts of amusements (not the least of which is gambling at cards), and who gets herself in scrapes with unsuitable and unsavory men who previously tried to run away with my then underage sister. Horatia (Horrie) Lady Rule needs supervision at every turn. And I beg to be excused to insure that my estates have not been plundered, nor that her person has been kidnapped yet again!”
Lady Gratiana: “Um, yes, Lord Rule. Lady Rule is quite the bon vivant. Have you not tried the usual persuasions to turn your wife’s attention to less scandalous pursuits?”
Marcus Drelingcourt, Earl of Rule: “Such as?”
Lady Gratiana: “Well, You are her husband.” He stares at me blankly. “You could be a husband to her and secure your lineage.” I pinken in embarrassment.
Marcus Drelingcourt, Earl of Rule: “I tried that once, it did not succeed.”
Sylvester, Duke of Sulford: “Only once? My Lord, I think we have the root of your problem.” Both he and Dameral chuckle.
Marcus Drelingcourt, Earl of Rule: “Of course not! My wife has given me three children so far. But it does not impede her excitement for merry entertainments, because she employs a reliable stable of nannies to tend to our children’s needs when she goes out.”
Jasper, Lord Dameral: “Nannies! They are acceptable evils when children are in cribs and in the school room, but their hanging around afterward puts them in direct contradiction of their previous usefulness. My Dear Delight’s brother Aubrey had a faithful lady nurse still attending him the year Venetia and I wed, even though Aubrey was to go up to Oxford the following year.”
Lady Gratiana: “Yes, but with respect Lord Dameral, Master Aubrey had physical maladies that necessitated his being medically cared for by such a one as she.”
Jasper, Lord Dameral: “Then why could she not have followed him to Oxford—or even remain at the Lannion’s home—rather than joining my wife Venetia and I at The Priory after we were married? I feel that the old nurse spies on me to insure that I do not revert to my formerly decadent bachelor ways.”
Marcus Drelingcourt, Earl of Rule: “You sound like a libertine–just the kind of man that I need to keep my young and impressionable wife away from, Sir.”
Jasper, Lord Dameral: “I am offended, Sir. And were it not for the unusual circumstances of this gathering, I would call you out immediately! I am a married man now. It took me four tries to propose to my wife, and nothing and no one will sway me from her.”
Marcus Drelingcourt, Earl of Rule: “Lucky man. My wife did the proposing to me. She offered herself as a swap for her eldest sister Elizabeth whom I was initially considering to be my wife.”
Lady Gratiana: “And you agreed to that swap, My Lord.” I remind him. Lord Rule scowls.
Sylvester, Duke of Sulford: “Gentlemen, decorum, please. You will have this fine lady thinking that we care not a jot for our wives and families, when that cannot be further from the truth.”
Lady Gratiana: “Thank you, your Grace. But since you have not volunteered thus far, did you wish to share how you and your wife became acquainted?” I ask with a sweet smile.
Sylvester, Duke of Sulford: “I? Well mine is perhaps the least scandalous of betrothal tales.”
Jasper, Lord Dameral: “I doubt that. I literally married the girl next door.”
Lady Gratiana: “Yes you did, Lord Dameral. But His Grace has the floor now.”
Sylvester, Duke of Sulford: “Thank you, Madam. It seems that my mother was acquainted with my wife’s mother. So Mama and my wife’s grandmother Lady Ingham—who also happened to be my godmother …”
Lady Gratiana: “I hope that you will pardon me for saying so, Your Grace, but the connections between families and amongst your intimates seems rather byzantine.”
Sylvester, Duke of Sulford: “Do you want to hear about my wife Phoebe and I or not?”
Lady Gratiana: “Of course, please continue.” I state knowingly.
Sylvester, Duke of Sulford: “Well, my wife Phoebe fancies herself to be a novelist. And she wrote a book with a character called Count Oogolino who had slanted eyebrows like mine. But her character was wicked and tried to abscond with his nephew. Unhappily, my widowed sister-in-law Ioanthe thought the book referred to me—it did, but only to my eyebrows—and she spirited my nephew, her son Edmund, to France. I tracked them down, and brought Edmund home to my country estate called Chance again. Edmund is a taking little Brat. And I like how he calls me Uncle Vesta. And since Phoebe had been such an excellent caregiver of Edmund during the voyage and while he was in France—as well as being my little sparrow who was truly sorry for making me the laughing stock of London with her book—I married her.”
Lady Gratiana: “Hmmm. The Duchess Phoebe’s pet name as called by her husband is Sparrow, and Lady Venetia Dameral’s husband’s pet name is My Dear Delight. But Lord Rule, do you not have an endearment for Lady Rule?”
Marcus Drelingcourt, Earl of Rule: “No!” He states emphatically.
Jasper, Lord Dameral: “And there is your disadvantage, Rule. You need to make your wife feel special, one of a kind—by giving her a pet name.” Dameral smiles knowingly. And Rule would like to wipe the smug look off of Dameral’s face (right).
Marcus Drelingcourt, Earl of Rule: “The woman wears emerald encrusted shoes costing 120 guineas!” Lord Rule shakes his head in frustration. “I call her My Dear. Does not that suffice?”
Lady Gratiana: “It is rather pedestrian.” Rule frowns. “And in my experience, and with the romantic characters that I write about, there is usually a darling thrown in there now and again.”
Sylvester, Duke of Sulford: “A writer! Spare me from all writers!” He expostulates, with his eyebrows seeming to vanish into his temples as if threatening to sprout wings and carry him off.
Lady Gratiana: “Yes, well, Your Grace, if you had not been so insufferable to Lady Phoebe at her come out the year before, I dare say that she would not have made your person the object of ridicule in her novel.” I bristle. So there. “Anyway, I wish to thank each of you for joining me today, gentlemen. It is not often that I meet with such manly perfection as yourselves.” I state with no small amount of irony as each gentleman poofs away in a glimmer of fairy dust and returns to his own storyline and time.
Each man—be he Duke or Earl—has his own charm, that only their wives could love. And it is, perhaps, the notion that the wives these men marry are independent women forging their own paths–despite the societally restrictive Regency period that they are written in—who meet their husbands as equals, that also appeals to me. Besides, who wouldn’t want to give a tug on a cravat on a baritone throated tall, dark, and handsome man and fling it aside as the first salvo in a romantic interlude? *wink*
P.S. So perhaps you will be encouraged to seek out and to enjoy these audio books for yourself at Audible (and each story is only about 5 hours long):
“The Convenient Marriage” (Lord Rule); Sylvester (Duke of Sulford); and Venetia (Lord Dameral)