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Thursday, November 2, 2017

#Audiobook #Review: 3 out of 5 stars for The Turn of the Screw by Henry James #RIPXII #FrightFall

AUTHOR: Henry James
PUBLISHER: Audible Studios
PUBLICATION DATE: October 24, 2016 (first published 1891)
FORMAT: Unabridged audiobook
LENGTH: 4 hrs and 40 mins
GENRE: Classics, Horror, Gothic
This version of The Turn of the Screw features a soundtrack that includes music and sound effects designed to enhance the listening experience. We will send you a survey in the next few weeks to ask for your feedback on this version. Your feedback will be very helpful and is much appreciated.
Academy Award, Golden Globe, and Emmy winner Emma Thompson lends her immense talent and experienced voice to Henry James' Gothic ghost tale, The Turn of the Screw.

When a governess is hired to care for two children at a British country estate, she begins to sense an otherworldly presence around the grounds. Are they really ghosts she's seeing? Or is something far more sinister at work?

Having performed in films based on some of the greatest works in literature - including Sense and Sensibility, Howards End, Much Ado About Nothing, and Henry V - Thompson is no stranger to the classics, and she lends a graceful eloquence to this moody, macabre story. Joined by listener favorite Richard Armitage, who performs the prologue, Thompson reinvigorates this psychological thriller of life, death, evil, and the unknown.


In the book’s prologue, a Christmas Eve party is in full swing and the revelers are telling each other stories. One of the party-goers, Douglas, tells about a story that was recorded in a manuscript by his sister’s governess who is now deceased.

The rest of the story is told from the point of view of the governess, so I presume that this is being told as it was written in the manuscript.

The story takes place in England at a country home named Bly. A governess was hired by a man to care for his niece and nephew, and he moves them to Bly which he thinks is better suited for the children. Meanwhile, he stays at a different house in town and the children, Miles and his younger sister Flora, never see their uncle. They live with a housekeeper, Mrs. Grose. The governess is enchanted by Miles and Flora, and she can scarcely believe when Miles comes home with a note from the school informing her that he has been expelled. She can’t imagine what he could have possibly done, but she disregards the note and never questions Miles about it!

The governess sees a man prowling around on the property and peeping in the windows and, later, a woman. From the governess’ descriptions, Mrs. Grose deduces that the man is Peter Quint and the woman is Miss Jessel, both of whom used to work at Bly but both are now deceased. The governess is determined to protect the children from the ghosts, although no one else has seen the ghosts except for her.

I won’t spoil the ending, but the interpretation is ambiguous. I don’t know whether the governess imagined the ghosts, or whether they were real!

Richard Armitage narrated the prologue, and Emma Thompson narrated the rest of the story. Both were wonderful. Thompson made the governess sound a bit mad, so that definitely influences my opinion on the state of the governess’ mind. I quite enjoyed this enhanced audio production, with sound effects and music. I loved hearing the crackling of the fire during the prologue, and the other nice touches like horse’s hooves. It added to the setting of the story and made me feel like I was there.

There are numerous different film adaptations, including: 1974 starring Lynn Redgrave, 1992 starring Patsy Kensit, 1999 starring Jodhi May, and 2009 starring Michelle Dockery. Which one to start with?!

3 stars!! It was good, and I enjoyed it!

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