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Hester cover art

Hester

By: Laurie Lico Albanese
Narrated by: Fiona McNeill
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Summary

A vivid reimagining of the woman who inspired Hester Prynne, the tragic heroine of Nathaniel Hawthorne's The Scarlet Letter, and a journey into the enduring legacy of New England's witchcraft trials.

Who is the real Hester Prynne?

Isobel Gamble is a young seamstress carrying generations of secrets when she sets sail from Scotland in the early 1800s with her husband, Edward. An apothecary who has fallen under the spell of opium, his pile of debts have forced them to flee Edinburgh for a fresh start in the New World. But only days after they've arrived in Salem, Edward abruptly joins a departing ship as a medic—leaving Isobel penniless and alone in a strange country, forced to make her way by any means possible.

When she meets a young Nathaniel Hawthorne, the two are instantly drawn to each other: he is a man haunted by his ancestors, who sent innocent women to the gallows—while she is an unusually gifted needleworker, troubled by her own strange talents. As the weeks pass and Edward's safe return grows increasingly unlikely, Nathaniel and Isobel grow closer and closer. Together, they are a muse and a dark storyteller; the enchanter and the enchanted. But which is which?

In this sensuous and hypnotizing tale, a young immigrant woman grapples with our country's complicated past, and learns that America's ideas of freedom and liberty often fall short of their promise. Interwoven with Isobel and Nathaniel's story is a vivid interrogation of who gets to be a real American in the first half of the 19th century, a depiction of the early days of the Underground Railroad in New England and atmospheric interstitials that capture the long history of unusual women being accused of witchcraft. Meticulously researched yet evocatively imagined, Laurie Lico Albanese's Hester is a timeless tale of art, ambition and desire that examines the roots of female creative power and the men who try to shut it down.

©2022 Laurie Lico Albanese (P)2022 W F Howes

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Great story, worst American accents I have ever heard

I really enjoyed this story and the narration was fantastic until it came to the American accents. It was so bad it almost ruined it and was very distracting. However, the story was so good I would still recommend, but perhaps you'd be better off reading it.

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Great story - disappointing narration

Great story - I started off with the audiobook but struggled with the narration - mispronunciation of some words and the tone was quite bland and colourless also the american accents were poor.
I bought the hard copy to read and enjoyed the story much more - the colours and characters lifted off the page more readily.
I would have returned the audio book but couldn't as I had bought it using an extra credit on my audible account.

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