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Extended Audio Sample Havisham: A Novel, by Ronald Frame Click for printable size audiobook cover
0 out of 50 out of 50 out of 50 out of 50 out of 5 0.00 (0 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Ronald Frame Narrator: Anne Flosnik, Sophie Ward Publisher: Macmillan Audio Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date:
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In the tradition of Wide Sargasso Sea, Havisham is the astonishing prelude to Charles Dickens’ Great Expectations.

Before she became the immortal and haunting Miss Havisham of Great Expectations, she was Catherine, a young woman with all of her dreams ahead of her. Spry, imperious, she is the daughter of a wealthy brewer. But she is never far from the smell of hops and the arresting letters on the brewhouse wall—Havisham—a reminder of all she owes to the family name and the family business.

Sent by her father to stay with the Chadwycks, Catherine discovers elegant pastimes to remove the taint of her family’s new money. But for all her growing sophistication, Catherine is anything but worldly, and when a charismatic stranger pays her attention, everything—her heart, her future, the very Havisham name—is vulnerable.

In Havisham, Ronald Frame unfurls the psychological trauma that made young Catherine into Miss Havisham and cursed her to a life alone, roaming the halls of the mansion in the tatters of the dress she wore for the wedding she was never to have.

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Quotes & Awards

  • “Ronald Frame is one of Scotland’s finest writers and this new book will confirm his reputation as a writer whom it is simply a delight to read.”

    Alexander McCall Smith, New York Times bestselling author

  • “Before she took to pacing about her cobwebbed London manse in a tattered wedding gown, literature’s most famous jilted bride, Miss Havisham, ran the family brewery. Expectations are great for this engaging ‘prequel’ to Dickens’ classic.”

    Good Housekeeping

  • “In Havisham, his prequel to Great Expectations, Ronald Frame colorfully imagines the traumas that doomed the tortured Miss Havisham.”

    Vanity Fair

  • “Delicate and closely observed....Frame has a nice feel for the epiphanic shudders of a young woman’s heart and a watercolorist’s eye for English landscapes....What a lark. What a plunge.”

    Washington Post

  • “This literary prequel imagines the life of Catherine Havisham, from privileged childhood to the macabre death scene of Dickens[‘ Great Expectations....Frame’s book is a pleasurable read.”

    New Yorker 

  • “This re-imagining will delight readers...Frame has a talent for thrilling Victorian melodrama, and he tackles the controversial ending with superb assurance.”

    Times (London)

  • “Catherine’s considerable ego is juxtaposed by more attractive qualities: following her father’s death she is a tough, capable businesswoman during a period and at place when such a thing was unheard of; she has carnal desires that she acts on. It’s an excruciatingly human rendering, flawed and frustrating. The nightmare crone of Great Expectations has been made animate. I don’t know if Dickens would have been a fan, but I am.”

    Los Angeles Review of Books 

  • “An excellent example of a present-day writer taking on a classic, Havisham gives the reader food for thought while reviving one of the great characters of Victorian literature.”


  • “Frame’s presentation of the era is substantial but not overdone…An intelligently imagined Dickens prequel.”

    Kirkus Reviews

  • “If ever a literary character’s backstory needed to be told, it would be Miss Havisham’s, and no one tells that story better than Sophie Ward in this eminently listenable audio. Consider the calculating string-puller in Dickens’ Great Expectations and imagine her as a wide-eyed girl: This makes for fascinating listening, and Ward’s sweet yet complex performance of Catherine Havisham’s perspective suits the development of the character without fail. Ward’s proper British accent is appropriate but not overwhelming, and its nuances change subtly as Catherine becomes more aware of high society’s ways, to say nothing of its cruelties. Thanks to Frame’s imagination and Ward’s narrative skill, one might come away with a better understanding of that woman left scarred by being left at the altar.”


  • A New York Times Editor’s Choice
  • A Good Housekeeping Best Book
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