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Editorial Reviews

Editors Select, December 2016 - Just as Shakespeare borrowed from Arthur Brooke's The Tragical History of Romeus and Juliet as a means to invent a unique dramatization of his own, author David Hewson uses this audio adaptation to explore and expand the various backstories of its characters - their grudges, fears, and motives - allowing previously minor characters to flourish and the stakes to reach an all new high. Actor Richard Armitage makes exhilarating choices in his narration: Juliet becomes a fierce heroine in the throes of an existential crisis; Romeo a soft-spoken emo poet; Mercutio a swaggering bad boy who'd be quite at home in a Guy Ritchie film; and Tybalt a slithering, blood-hungry goon. Taking Hewson's lead, Armitage is more than game to follow these characters to new and unexpected places. And, indeed, this story does not end quite like you'd expect. —Doug, Audible Editor
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Publisher's Summary

Exclusively written for Audible, only available in audio
"I think Romeo and Juliet is the greatest, most tragic love story ever told. What David Hewson did with this script is so exciting to me. I really love the fact that he followed avenues that Shakespeare suggested but didn't necessarily detail in depth. If you want to immerse yourself in a warm bath of Garganega and the heat of Verona and hear a brilliant story about a young woman who is challenging the restraints of her time, listen to this audiobook, which has romance, poetry, politics, and humor to spare." (Narrator Richard Armitage)
It's a story you think you know: the age-old tale of "star-cross'd lovers"; two families at war; a romance, so pure and absolute, fated for a tragic end. It's a story so thoroughly embedded in our culture, and so frequently retold. Yet, nothing captures the spark, the possibility, and the surprise of Shakespeare's work quite like this....
In Romeo and Juliet: A Novel, author David Hewson reworks and expands on the classic story so that it becomes something richer, something new and entirely its own. Much more than a simple love story, it is a brilliant examination of young versus old, hope against despair, and, for Juliet, the search for individual identity at a time when women were regarded as little more than chattel.
An original production commissioned by Audible, Romeo and Juliet: A Novel marks the second pairing of David Hewson and actor Richard Armitage, whose previous partnership resulted in Audible's 2014 Audiobook of the Year, Hamlet, Prince of Denmark: A Novel. Hewson's talent for writing for audio is undeniable, and he finds his perfect vocal foil in Armitage, an actor of immense range and absorbing intensity. Together, they bring you a familiar story told in a surprising way - with an ending you might not expect.
Bonus: Audiobook includes an afterword written and narrated by David Hewson.
©2016 David Hewson (P)2016 Audible, Inc.
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Critic Reviews

"Consummate actor Richard Armitage narrates this dynamic reimagining of Romeo and Juliet. It's an ideal construct for those reluctant to pursue Shakespeare. In addition to using contemporary slang, the author gives the followers of the Montague and Capulet families street cred: They wear red or blue feathers in their hats. Armitage makes even secondary characters unique, with Romeo's and Juliet's fathers sounding like the bitter old men they are. The standout is Juliet's nurse, who provides comic relief. Chapter transitions are faultless, and descriptions of people and places are stellar. Juliet's social conscience, specifically her desire to teach the peasants to read, adds further depth. Hewson boldly alters the story's conclusion. In an author's note, Hewson explains that Shakespeare was inspired by an Italian play similar to Romeo and Juliet. Hewson adds that to him the story is about the contrast between older and younger generations as they react to change." (AudioFile Magazine)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

By Abiwim on 12-14-16

The Story and The Voice

A masterful retelling of a classic tale, this adaptation astounds. The fleshing out of a character such as Juliet results in a story which is relatable to this modern generation. The struggles of girls the world over - for autonomy, individuality and freedom - is captured in this one intelligent, headstrong girl.

The pacing of the story ensures that ones imagination is free to soar. Descriptives are kept to a minimum, while being sufficient to act as a spring board.

Narration...well, what can one say?...the rich chocolate voice of Richard Armitage, and the vocal characterizations he presents are a joy to the ear.

Congratulations Mr. Hewson, this is indeed a triumph!

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15 of 15 people found this review helpful


By David P. McGivern on 12-13-16

Wonderful, Imaginative

This is so very, very good.

A million years ago, when I was a young teenager, I was captivated by the 1968 Zeffirelli film/interpretation of Romeo and Juliet, and very seldom does any production come close to that initial charm. This does. A different forum, I agree, but the combination of Mr. Hewson's interpretation of Shakespeare [he does not follow of the play completely] and Mr. Armitage's superb, wonderful, wonderful narration makes this a five star rating for me.

I've been an Audible customer for almost a decade now, many many books, and more and more I choose the narrator first, the subject second; British narrators first, everybody else second. Add in Shakespearean acting experience for the narrator, and everything comes together.

Highly recommended.

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27 of 30 people found this review helpful

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

By Dorothea on 12-18-16

A new view on an old story that actually is very current...

This story is a lot about Juliet.
A girl, a young woman fascinated by what renaissance promises to bring. A teenager, much like we all were as teenagers or as our daughters are at that age.
Only by telling the story not in (of course very beautiful) verses, but in prose it nearly becomes a story of today. The last 500 years have not changed much in the feelings of teenaged first love. And as well not in the senselessness of many hostilities, be it in families, between counties or for what reason ever.
The message of this piece is so up to date.
David Hewson has found beautiful words, that serve the old story and at the same time bring it to our time.
Richard Armitage has again delivered a great piece of storytelling. Listening to him makes me often forget, that it's just one man narrating.
This audiobook is like some of my favourite books...destined to be listened to again...and again...

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2 of 2 people found this review helpful


By AudioJoy on 09-24-17

incredible!

This is such a masterly well-imagined and skilfully told adaptation of a tale you think you already know... so well written and wonderfully performed!

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1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

By Blank on 05-14-17

Great narration to go with great narrator

Loving Richard armitage's narration and I'm loving how the story is being told. The scenes are so vivid and the gentleness Richard gives Juliet really seeps through, never thought I'd like a Juliet with such a low and masculine voice. The story is told with much more vivacity and tenacity than the play by Shakespeare, though great as it's own, is much more suited for the new generation of today.

Though told a million times before, this edition brings new depth to the characters in both the narration and by the narrator, a perfect mingling of voice and story.

I will be looking forward to other narrations by Richard armitage in the future.

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By Velencia Beedah on 05-02-17

Excellent

Loved it. Richard Armitage did an amazing narration and the characters were so vivid

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