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by Thomas Hardy | Read by Jamie Parker

This early Hardy novel tells the story of a pastoral romance in the small Wessex village of Mellstock. Jamie Parker’s friendly, resonant tone adds warmth to a surprisingly cheerful work by an author known for his dour stories. Parker’s use of vocal variation in delivering Hardy’s descriptive prose guides listeners smoothly through the plot. He also demonstrates mastery in his renderings of local country dialects. The conversations between the choir members, who include an interesting range of ages and characterizations, are especially well performed, and his singing of various songs also enlivens the text. Overall, Parker’s charming performance adds much personality to this Hardy classic. D.M.W. © AudioFile 2014, Portland, Maine