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Nightingale Wood
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Nightingale Wood [Unabridged] [Audible Audio Edition]

by Stella Gibbons (Author), Carole Boyd (Narrator)
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (22 customer reviews)

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Editorial Reviews

Life is not quite a fairytale for poor Viola. Left penniless, the young widow is forced to live with her late husband's family in a joyless old house.

There's Mr Wither, a tyrannical old miser; Mrs Wither, who thinks Viola is just a common shop girl; and two unlovely sisters-in-law, one of whom is in love with the chauffeur. Only the prospect of the charity ball can raise Viola's spirits especially as Victor Spring, the local prince charming, will be there.

But Victor's intentions towards our Cinderella are, in short, not quite honourable.

©1938 Stella Gibbons; (P)2010 BBC Audiobooks Ltd

Product Details

  • Audible Audio Edition
  • Listening Length: 13 hours and 59 minutes
  • Program Type: Audiobook
  • Version: Unabridged
  • Publisher: AudioGO Ltd.
  • Release Date: March 3, 2010
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B003AYQ368
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (22 customer reviews)
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Customer Reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
46 of 47 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars totally out of print, totally worth reading... August 1, 2006
I had to request this book through an out of state library because it is so rare, particularly here in the U.S. I hope it is put back into print because it is quite good. Maybe not as good as Cold Comfort Farm but anyone who likes Stella's masterpiece would probably enjoy this one. It basically follows her usual fairy tale format, with just a bit of Jane Austen thrown in and focuses on life in a small village and its upperclass residents (and some of its lower class ones). I won't go into the plot details as there is a fairly lengthy description on Ms. Gibbons' nephew's website. It would be difficult to convey the best part of the book, which is the biting humor, so you'll have to check it out for yourself, which I urge anyone who liked Cold Comfort Farm to do.
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25 of 26 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wiser, deeper, funnier book June 2, 2010
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Lovers of Stella Gibson's Cold Comfort Farm (her first novel), should know this is a wiser, deeper and funnier book. Using fairy tales and Shakespeare comedies as plot devices (The Tempest, A Mid-Summer's Night's Dream, Cinderella, Snow White and Red Rose....)and set in an Essex Village in 1938, it examines (punctures) the British class system and middle-class snobbery, anti-semitism and the totalitarian family system. The characters are funny, human and the writing is wonderful...and it ends as all comedies should in a marriage (or two) and paired sets of lovers...
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16 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I loved this book! July 17, 2010
Viola is newly widowed when she's invited by her husband's family to come live with them in Sible Pelden. There's Mr. Wither, who's a fantastic bore; Mrs. Wither, who doesn't quite care for her new daughter-in-law (due to the fact that she's the daughter of a shop owner); and Tina and Madge, their middle-aged daughters who have never quite grown up and are waiting for something to happen to them. The story follows these characters and others over the course of a year, the highlight being a charity ball at which a local eligible bachelor named Victor Spring will be present.

One of the things that Stella Gibbons is famous for was her sense of humor, and nowhere is this more apparent than in Nightingale Wood. Stella Gibbons's humor is a little more maniacally funny, but the characters and plot of this one never fail to be entertaining.

There's a very surreal, Midsummer Night's Dream-esque feeling to this book--all kinds of people slipping away to the woods to conduct love affairs, licit and otherwise. So, often, this book reads like a fairy tale--a fairy tale with a twist, especially since the two Prince Charmings in this book doesn't always have the purest intentions...

The characterizations in this novel are especially strong. Viola isn't quite what you'd expect from a woman who married someone twenty years older than she; but she's all the more interesting for that because there's so much more to her personality than meets the eye. Mr. Wither is, as described above, a frightful bore; Madge is a middle-aged woman who's never totally grown up (as seen in her childlike delight over her new dog Polo); and Tina is a woman just dying to be loved. Well, she gets her wish, but not in the way she expected...
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Just okay August 13, 2010
By Jill
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I was glad to get my hands on a copy of this book. Unlike Cold Comfort Farm, however (which I read over and over again), I probably won't re-read this one. I didn't warm up to any of the characters. Still, Gibbons' wit and humor shines through in places, and there are garden parties, a memorable dress, moonlit drives, and holidays at seaside resorts - so if you like the 1930s, the language, settings and atmosphere of the novel will be of interest, anyway!
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A pleasant humorous romance August 22, 2010
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I read this book because I have long loved "Cold Comfort" and was curious to see what else Ms Gibbons wrote. It is a romance, a story centrally concerned about the pairing off of men and women, which is a genre I've never really had much thirst for. I'm afraid that all the comments here comparing it to fairy tales and "The Tempest" left me half expecting some fantasy elements in the story, but though the comparisons are not inapt, it is not in that sense that they are meant. There is no fairy godmother in this Cinderella story. This is a story of fairly ordinary things happening to fairly ordinary people. It's also not a wild parody like "Cold Comfort." No legs fall off cows and the sukebind does not bloom. But there is plenty of quiet humor. Ms. Gibbons views every character, rich or poor, clever or (mostly) dimwitted, Capitalist or Communist, with a sharp critical eye, but somehow also finds something lovable about every single one. It's not a must-read classic like "Cold Comfort", but I liked it pretty well, and enjoyed seeing what kind of writer Stella Gibbons matured into.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Hard to Fault this Novel.... April 7, 2013
By Janeite
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Stella Gibbons wrote in the late 1930s of a life that is about to disappear. Reading this delightful novel in the light of the shadow of the war adds to the pleasure of seeing a beautiful moment in time at the end of an age.

Nobody is flawless in this novel, & that's what makes it so fine! The heroine is a shopgirl of great heart but minimal understanding, her family is a mess, her would-be lover is far from perfect but it all comes right at the end in fine style -as we knew it would. Great story, understandable if not always lovable characters & terrific fun throughout. I wish Stella Gibbons could give us more & more, but alas! SHE is no more!
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Another Sucker lured by Cold Comfort Farm and happy to be so
Was looking for something different, a throw back, if you will. While the book starts slow, it builds and builds until I found myself laughing and rooting for Tina and Viola. Read more
Published 5 months ago by C. E. Bastnagel
3.0 out of 5 stars Three Stars
Not nearly as enjoyable as Cold Comfort Farm!
Published 8 months ago by eglantine
5.0 out of 5 stars Gibbon has the happy ability, shared by so few (Dickens and Austen ...
From the lady who brought us Cold Comfort Farm comes a slightly more serious, but no less sarcastic, novel. Read more
Published 9 months ago by Holly
5.0 out of 5 stars and why is the Author not known for this book?
It's every bit as good as Cold Comfort Farm. Knowing and charming, realistic, exasperated and in love with it's highly limited characters, and so well-written.
Published 13 months ago by Annie Berrol
5.0 out of 5 stars nightingale wood
My favorite Stella Gibbons novel, after Cold Comfort Farm, of course! Tons of fun and oddness, with plenty of romance.
Published 15 months ago by Leslie
1.0 out of 5 stars This is not I Capture the Castle
Talk about a boring story! Nothing really happens and I kept waiting for something interesting. I did read it all the way to the end, but I honestly can't recommend it. Read more
Published 16 months ago by Kini
4.0 out of 5 stars Follow Your Heart
This is a calm, easy going story about people daring to go after what they want. I say "calm" because it is a gentle and sometimes slow story. Read more
Published 19 months ago by JAScribbles
4.0 out of 5 stars Not as fabulously awesome as Cold Comfort Farm -- but what is?
I love Cold Comfort Farm. Love love love it. Nightingale Wood is not quite as funny, but if you loved CCF, you'll like this. Read more
Published 20 months ago by Elizabeth A. Austin
5.0 out of 5 stars Not as classically witty as Cold Comfort Farm
But with plenty of characters for whom the worm turns. A young widow comes to live with her husbands dry, cold, repressed relatives. Read more
Published on February 12, 2013 by Booked for life
5.0 out of 5 stars Nightingale Wood by Stella Gibbons
This is a totally charming and enjoyable book. Not heavy at all, but not fluffy in the way that a lot of light novels can be. Read more
Published on January 24, 2013 by J Johnson
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