The Hireling (Twentieth Century Classics)

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9780140183108: The Hireling (Twentieth Century Classics)

Emotionally paralyzed by grief at her husband’s death, Lady Franklin, an eligible young widow, unburdens herself to Leadbitter—a gallant, hard-bitten ex-soldier who has invested his savings, and himself, in the car he drives for hire—as he takes her on a series of journeys. He in turn beguiles her with stories of his nonexistent wife and children thereby weaning her from her self-absorption, but creating for himself a dreamlife with Lady Franklin at the heart of it. Half-hoping to make his dream come true, Leadbitter takes a bold step which costs him her company and brings the story to a dramatically unexpected end. The Hireling was made into a 1973 film starring Sarah Miles and Robert Shaw.

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About the Author:

L. P. Hartley (1895–1972) is the author of 18 novels including, Eustace and Hilda, which won the 1946 James Tait Black Memorial Prize, and The Go-Between. Jane Feaver is the author of According to Ruth.

From AudioFile:

Stephen Leadbitter, handsome, repressed driver-for-hire, weaves stories of a non-existent personal life for passenger Lady Franklin, a self-absorbed, wealthy, young widow in need of distraction. Both their lives are irrevocably altered when Leadbitter attempts to cross class lines and make his fantasies come true. Stephen Thorne's narration is smooth and nicely paced with just the right touch of foreboding. He breathes life into each character by expertly capturing the nuance of their varied social standings. Thorne's controlled portrayal of Leadbitter's emotional turmoil and final transformation is especially convincing and conveys the novel's somewhat heavy-handed message on the evils of the British class system. J.A. (c)AudioFile, Portland, Maine

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