Books You Hear is genuinely proud to present Random Harvest by James Hilton. Though this story may be new to the post-WWII generations, it has an impressive history, making it, perhaps, the greatest story you’ve never heard of.
Published in 1941, Random Harvest was contemporary to its first audience, and is painted against the backdrop of the gathering storm in Europe. However, it doesn’t focus on military threats or political wrangling. Instead, it tells the very accessible story of a profoundly good man with normal aspirations who consistently put the needs of others first, and as a result, lived a life he never could have imagined.
In 1942, a feature film was made that significantly altered the narrative (and narrator) of this original story. It was also excellent and was nominated for the Best Picture Oscar. Ironically, it lost out to a film also written by James Hilton, and with the same lead actress, Greer Garson. However, in later years, it was Random Harvest that both Garson and her co-star, Ronald Colman recognized as the project in their careers that they most enjoyed.
The story is told in five parts, with each representing a significant period in the main character’s life - encompassing war, power, prestige, high finance, show business, and of course, deep and romantic love. Since the film focuses primarily on the love story, there is much that makes the book a new and deeply satisfying experience. And for those who haven’t seen the film yet, experience the book first. You will love the way Hilton educates and envelops you with this beautiful story, and leaves you so much better, and happier, for the journey.
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