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Summary

Brought to you by Penguin.

Amory's first memory is of her father doing a handstand. She has memories of him returning on leave during the First World War. But his absences, both actual and emotional, are what she chiefly remembers. It is her photographer, uncle Greville, who supplies the emotional bond she needs, and, when he gives her a camera and some rudimentary lessons in photography, unleashes a passion that will irrevocably shape her future.

A spell at boarding school ends abruptly and Amory begins an apprenticeship with Greville in London, living in his flat in Kensington, earning two pounds a week photographing socialites for fashionable magazines. But Amory is hungry for more, and her search for life, love and artistic expression will take her to the demi monde of Berlin of the late 1920s, to New York of the 1930s, to the Blackshirt riots in London and to France in the Second World War, where she becomes one of the first women war photographers. Her desire for experience will lead Amory to further wars, to lovers, husbands and children as she continues to pursue her dreams and battle her demons. 

In this enthralling story of a life fully lived, William Boyd has created a sweeping panorama of some of the most defining moments of modern history, told through the camera lens of one unforgettable woman, Amory Clay. It is his greatest achievement to date.

©2015 William Boyd (P)2020 Penguin Audio

What listeners say about Sweet Caress

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Exquisite characterisation, beautiful imagery

There was a point, about 1/3 in, when I realised I was waiting for the main event of the story to happen. Then, the power of the novel became clear: like all our lives, Amory's story is made up of a series of events and characters and together they create the narrative that's the story of a life. An exceptional life: somewhat like Forrest Gump, she's been there to witness - or live with the consequences - of key events and social realities in the 20th. Century, However, the depth and powerful descriptions of Amory's emotions and reflections are simply beautiful - and by the last chapter I realised that I was holding my breath, completely absorbed in the words I was hearing, ready to follow Amory wherever she went.

I miss her. I'll come back to this book and meet her again - and I'll recommend it as an exceptional read to anyone who is searching for a really good book.

1 person found this helpful

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Not my favourite William Boyd

William Boyd is an absolutely brilliant writer and Juliet Stevenson a great actress so I was expecting to be completely enthralled by this book. However, a number of things just didn’t work for me, the main one being that I did not like the main character Amory. William Boyd’s female characters are usually excellently drawn, as in his wonderful novel Restless, but here I just didn’t find Amory a convincing character. The relentless descriptions of her feelings of longing for the men she is attracted to just didn’t ring true, nor her sudden changes of heart and continual poor judgment. She was really pretty annoying!
To my surprise, I also found Juliet Stevenson‘s voice pretty irritating after the first few hours. She gets very nasal and at the beginning her female characters were all incredibly clipped and brittle and sharp and it got very wearing.
Sorry, this one was not for me but it’s all completely subjective and I’m sure many people will love it.

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An excellent story superbly narrated

The story covers a number of significant twentieth century events from the perspective of a female photographer. The narrative and the narration are gripping. A very enjoyable experience!

1 person found this helpful

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A great listen.

Excellent narration, as ever, from Juliet Stevenson and a great story as well..Make the most of the good times in life and endure the others.

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Editing awful.

Not sure what’s happening here but many words are issing their first etters so you have to guess what the uck the author wrote. Had to give up. A shame. Was ooking forward to it. Didn’t want to review ‘story’ as I’d only got a few minutes in but not permitted to place this review until I do so I’ve randomly chosen three stars.

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not as good as I'd hoped

I read this following reading restless, and while enjoyable, neither the story nor the performance lived up to Restless.

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An outstanding book brilliantly narrated

This is one of the best audio books I have ever listened to. A superb story faultlessly narrated by Juliet Stevenson, one of the UK's finest actors. I cannot recommend it highly enough.

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annoying narrator

very annoying narrator, ruins the story, found it hard to focus on the content because of the very distinct voice

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If you like Boyd, you'll like this.

I love Boyd's stories and this one did not disappoint. The narrator delivered it with class and put her own stamp on it.