The Old Wives' Tale

  • by Arnold Bennett
  • Narrated by David Haig
  • 24 hrs and 8 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

First published in 1908, The Old Wives' Tale tells the story of the Baines sisters shy, retiring Constance and defiant, romantic Sophia over the course of nearly half a century.
Bennett traces the sisters' lives from childhood in their father's drapery shop in provincial Bursley during the mid-Victorian era, through their married lives, to the modern industrial age, when they are reunited as old women.
The setting moves from the Five Towns of Staffordshire to exotic and cosmopolitan Paris, while the action moves from the subdued domestic routine of the Baines household to the siege of Paris during the Franco-Prussian War.


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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

Loved Every Word

The narrator is simply perfect. I listened with my eyes closed whilst I was on the treadmill every day. I have lost over 22 pounds doing this with other books as well as this one. An hour just flies. I just don't want to get off. Well, this story is spell-binding. The style of writing is lovely. The setting and characters are charming and the author makes the listener feel part of the whole scene. I have read the book prior to listening to this version and loved it but the superb narration has made me totally fall in love with this author. Fabulous in every way. Just love it all. I couldn't stop listening but I didn't want the story to end. Hooray for this narrator.... thank-you so much for your wonderful work... it has given me such immense pleasure and enjoyment. Who would have thought working out could be so much fun!
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- Virginia Waldron


This is a wonderful book, beautifully read. I have always liked Bennett. (Perhaps some one will do The Statue, that he wrote with Eden Phillpotts, another good story.) It is amazing what a good writer can do with such "quiet" material. The lives of two sisters: One quite ordinary and the other forced by circumstances to survive by force of will. My only complaint is the same I have with so many audio books, and that is the horrible music. It sounds as if it were played by a speaker-phone on hold. I hope this penchant in audio books goes away for it is always distracting. The reader here was excellent, but he did pronounce Sophia, Sofia a couple of times which confused me. Still, this was one of the best books I've listened to all year. I doubt that you will forget the charactors and situations in this story for a long time.
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- Marc

Book Details

  • Release Date: 12-01-2009
  • Publisher: Audible Studios