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The Spoils of Poynton is a compelling story about the fight between possessions, morals and love. It was originally published as part of a series in The Atlantic Monthly in 1896, but was released as a short novel only a year later.
About the book
Mrs Gereth, a wealthy widow, is dreading the day that her son, Owen, gets married. She hopes that he will marry a woman who will appreciate their home and all of its treasures as she does. So she enlists the help of Fleda Vetch to try to corrupt the impending marriage of her son and Mona Brigstock - a philistine who is determined to marry Owen in order to inherit Mrs Gereth’s valuable possessions and home by any means.
Meanwhile, Fleda hides her real feelings towards Owen. Even when he ends up feeling the same way, Fleda cannot bring herself to marry him as this would force him to break his engagement to Mona, and thus betray all of her own ideals.
About the author
Born in 1843, Henry James was a part of an accomplished family; both his father and elder brother were famous philosophers. He was educated in schools in America and Europe and entered Harvard Law School in 1862. Over the next few years he began writing reviews and novels; he even tried his hand at playwriting. Just before his death in 1916, he was given an ‘Order of Merit’: an honour founded by King Edward VII in 1902 and which continues to date.
About the narrator
Maureen O’Brien is an award-winning actor and author. She has won the Sony Best Actress award twice and her play, The Cutting, was nominated for Best Play at the London Fringe Awards and Best Newcomer at the Evening Standard Drama Awards. O’Brien has starred alongside William Hartnell in Doctor Who, and was a regular during season two of Casualty. Her Audible credits include numerous Doctor Who audiobooks as well as other Audible Exclusives such as Hungry Hill by Daphne Du Maurier.
Customer ReviewsMost Helpful
By Amazon Customer on 07-31-10
A brilliant reading of a lesser-known, but fascinating tale of love and greed in 19th Century England. Ms. O'Brien has a keen understanding of James's complex style and characters, whom she subtly and distinctly delineates in this excellent recording.
11 of 11 people found this review helpful
By Alicia Czechowski on 02-07-11
Rich and strange-an obsession with "stuff"
The Spoils of Poynton has an unusual topic for a novel-the obsession with objects. Considering how the love of, and possession of "things" is central to so many people's lives, it is odd that it does not figure more importantly in novels. The theft of "things" and the desire for material wealth provide the subject of a great many novels, but the actual obsessive delectation of one's possessions rarely provides the plot motivation. Maybe it requires a genius like James for such an undertaking. "The Spoils of Poynton" with its heroic battle to save the "Spoils" from the Philistines is wonderfully tragicomic.
7 of 7 people found this review helpful
Customer ReviewsMost Helpful
By Veronica on 05-28-11
This story kept me guessing right up until the final moments...I don't want to give the ending away so won't talk about the content too much beyond saying that it was a real, human, love story - would highly recommend both the narrator and the book.
1 of 1 people found this review helpful
By St Colms on 05-03-18
A good yarn by the Master beautiful read by Maureen O’Brien. She captures the somewhat naive charm of the heroine but she is at her best when reading the commanding voice of the dragon who once ruled over Poynton.