Lady Barbarina

Read by Nicholas Clifford (1930-2019)

(4.4 stars; 53 reviews)

Rich and beautiful American girls heading to England to find themselves noble titles through marriage, and using their New World wealth to prop up the waning strength of the aristocracy, was almost a staple of late Victorian literature. "The Buccaneers," Edith Wharton called them, and their day is not over yet (think of Downton Abbey's Earl of Grantham, and his American heiress countess). In Lady Barbarina, however, Henry James explores the obverse of this old tale: what if the wealth is in the hands of an American man, in love with the beautiful daughter of an old and titled (but no longer so very rich) family? Legal marital settlements, common in England, less so in America, can be a problem. Think of them as the Victorian equivalent of modern pre-nuptial contracts, introducing a note, not of suspicion perhaps, but of cautious prudence in what otherwise might be seen as a match of pure love. For all their similarities, Britain and the United States remain divided by three thousand miles of open water. - Summary by Nicholas Clifford (3 hr 53 min)


Chapter I 43:11 Read by Nicholas Clifford (1930-2019)
Chapter II 34:34 Read by Nicholas Clifford (1930-2019)
Chapter III 31:11 Read by Nicholas Clifford (1930-2019)
Chapter IV 38:28 Read by Nicholas Clifford (1930-2019)
Chapter V 52:05 Read by Nicholas Clifford (1930-2019)
Chapter VI 34:13 Read by Nicholas Clifford (1930-2019)


Excellent Book

(5 stars)

Great time period book, lots of details of how people in high society lived in England and New York at the turn of the century (around that time period). If you enjoy Edith Wharton books (Age of Innocence), you will enjoy this. Not as lavishly written as Edith Wharton, still a wonderful listen!! Only a few hours long. I worked puzzles and listened to the book in one setting. Very nice. And the reader is one of my favorites!! Thank you so much!!!

Excellently read!

(3 stars)

I found this story, or at least many of the conversations and scenarios, a little pointless. Interesting as a study of British vs American values of the time, but otherwise, perhaps just not my sort. I didn't connect with any of the characters, and found the story rather bland. (The reader, on the other hand, was superb!!)

Downtown Abby in Reverse -- UK to US High Society

(4 stars)

Decent 4 hour diversion, and well read. I found characters wooden and as if they were moving through programmed rituals. The interesting ending did not quite save the book for me.

(5 stars)

Very enjoyable listen and Mr. Clifford is always superb. The story represents a microcosm of the societal clash between British nobility and free-spirited wealthy Americans. Money plus title is achieved but with sacrifices and with some humor as well.

(3 stars)

I found the story a bit weak but the reader Nicholas Clifford wonderful. I see that he died in 2019. He has left us a legacy and I will look for more books read by him.


(5 stars)

Sad story of a one-sided love affair, but so well written and so well read.

(5 stars)

Great reader. You might get what you want but often it is not what you need.

interesting and unexpected story

(5 stars)

You can't be too careful about who you marry!