One of the most popular Western novel of all time, Zane Grey's Riders of the Purple Sage played an important part in shaping the genre. It features all the crucial elements: adventure and rugged individualism; sex and violence; conflict and crisis; settled town life versus a rugged, wild existence.
Jane Withersteen, a sincere and faithful young Mormon woman, is persecuted by members of her own church. The as yet unmarried Withersteen has inherited a large and rich piece of property from her father. Elder Tull, an older church leader with several wives already, wants to marry her, but she does not want to marry him. She refuses him and is subsequently beset by troubles as Tull and his men wage a secret vindictive campaign against her.
A number of friends, including Bern Venters and Lassiter, a famous gunman, do their best to help Withersteen, but her strong religious convictions blind her to Tull's complicity and compel her to persuade Venters and Lassiter not to kill her adversaries, even as they are slowly ruining her.
Ann M. Richardson's sweet voice, with its hint of a Midwestern accent, is the perfect narrator for this new recording of Riders of the Purple Sage.
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Great Western, Best Version yet
She is perfect for this book! Amazing performance!
Riders of the Purple Sage is one of the most iconic books in the Western genre. Written by Zane Grey and published in 1912, this adventure on the American Frontier was his bestselling work. Last month we’ve seen the release of a new audiobook version performed for the first time by a female narrator, Ann M. Richardson.
The story follows Jane Withersteen, a young and faithful Mormon woman who is persecuted by members of her own confession. Being the recipient of a huge inheritance from her father, Jane finds herself in a lot of troubles because a powerful man in the Mormon community wants her to be his wife, but she loves someone else and here the problems start.
I won’t go more than this into the plot, suffice to say that the story is filled with love, adventures, great characters, sex, romance, gunfights and a few mysteries. I was a little taken aback by some of the sex scenes, didn’t know authors in the 1900s will go into such levels of detail when it came to carnal pleasures. But, I guess that I can see why this was a defining book for the genre.
There are some really well developed characters that I enjoyed very much. , like Jane herself, the gunslinger Lacitter and Burn Venters. Also the author describes the American Frontier in such vividness that you feel like you are physically there and seeing it all with your own two eyes.
There are a lot of audiobook versions of Riders of the Purple Sage by Zane Grey but I consider this to be the best! Ann M. Richardson delivers an amazing performance, bringing this story to life in ways nobody did before. First, the main character is a woman and the role fits Ann life a glove. With her calm, sweet and worm voice, touched by a Midwestern accent Ann M. Richardson caries the listener to times long forgotten, to times of adventure, love and honor.
She acts the story when needed, performing every scene with passion, bringing the drama to an entirely new level and I was impressed to see how well she differentiates the characters in the reader’s mind, females and males alike. On her website Ann M. Richardson sais: Let me tell you a story, and I will do it in such a way you will forget where you’re sitting… and you know what? She is absolutely right!
I am really glad I had the opportunity to listen to this amazing recording and to live this thrilling adventure after more than 100 years after it was published. Riders of the Purple Sage is the proof that some stories never age and it stood the test of time like not to many books can.
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