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Extended Audio Sample The Rose of Sebastopol: A Novel Audiobook, by Katharine McMahon Click for printable size audiobook cover
3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (1,433 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Katharine McMahon Narrator: Josephine Bailey Publisher: Tantor Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: March 2009 ISBN: 9781400181421
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In 1854, beautiful, adventurous Rosa Barr travels to the Crimean battlefield with Florence Nightingale's nursing corps. A headstrong idealist, longing to break out of the rigid confines of life as a young lady, Rosa is determined to make a difference in the world. For Mariella Lingwood, Rosa's cousin, the war is contained within the pages of her scrapbook, in her London sewing circle, and in the letters she receives from her fiance, Henry-a celebrated surgeon who has also volunteered to work within the shadow of the guns. When Henry falls ill and is sent to recuperate in Italy, Mariella impulsively decides she must go to him. But upon her arrival at his lodgings, she makes a heartbreaking discovery: Rosa has disappeared without a trace. Following the trail of her elusive cousin, Mariella's epic journey takes her from the domestic restraint of Victorian London to the ravaged landscape of the Crimea and the tragic city of Sebastopol, where she encounters Rosa's dashing stepbrother, a reckless cavalry officer whose complex past-and future-is inextricably bound up with her own. As Mariella's quest leads her deeper into the dark heart of the conflict, her ordered world begins to crumble, and she finds she has much to learn about secrecy, faithfulness, and love. Download and start listening now!

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Quotes & Awards

  • A pleasingly unformulaic read. Kirkus
  • “This excellent historical novel is linked to real events in nineteenth-century England, across Europe and the Crimea…London society is beautifully drawn in the early part of the novel, as Mariella goes to church, works on her sewing, obeys her parents, and melts with love for her promising young man…Developments in medicine and surgery are part of the backdrop to Mariella’s fiance, and McMahon handles this historical detail with easy confidence, too.”

    Washington Post Book World

  • “Josephine Bailey is the consummate narrator, with her lovely British accent, talent for diverse accents, and seemingly effortless ability to segue between male and female voices. She’s as adept at giving Mariella the innocent voice of a naïve child as she is at making a soldier sound like a battle-weary old soul. Bailey’s remarkable ability to lift characters off the pages and deliver flawless narrative makes her performance a sheer joy. Winner of the AudioFile Earphones Award.”

    AudioFile

  • “This novel works so well on so many levels that it’s certain to appeal to a broad audience. With a practiced hand, McMahon, author of the bestselling The Alchemist’s Daughter, physically and psychologically entrenches her characters in the mid-nineteenth century, providing readers with a fascinating window to Victorian lifestyles, mores, and mind-sets…Expect high demand for this superbly rendered mix of historical fiction and mystery.”

    Booklist

  • “In the midst of war, [Marielle] finds chaos, which rattles the foundations of her existence, and Mariella must discover her strength and fight for what is truly important. McMahon’s complex plot makes for an atypical but satisfying read, even if the ending feels a tad abrupt. Recommended for all fiction collections.”

    Library Journal

  • “An unusual and vivid historical novel tracks a feverish love triangle/mystery across the battlefields of the Crimean War. Freshness and energy drive McMahon’s latest, which offers a socially alert tableau of mid-nineteenth-century England as the background to an emotional drama…Over time Mariella, an unheroic heroine, learns to be of service…while in the process awakening to a different sense of self. Marked by its passion and social commentary, this is a pleasingly unformulaic read.”

    Kirkus Reviews

  • Winner of an AudioFile Earphones Award

Listener Opinions

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Kajsa Askerup | 2/19/2014

    " A good story, I think that the time period was well described and how the nurse profession started out. The story had some twists and turns and they way you feel about the characters change when you read the book because there's more layers added to them as the story progresses. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Genie | 2/6/2014

    " Bit of a downer, although the history was fascinating "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Lois | 2/2/2014

    " I really enjoyed this book - even the ending. This book has inspired me to learn more about Florence Nightingale and the Crimean War. Enjoyable, quick read. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Jennifer Grosser | 1/20/2014

    " It took me forever to get into this one, and then even after I did, I wasn't sure I liked the characters very much, but I kept wanting to know what was going to happen next. The ending sort of surprised me, which was good, but it also disappointed me. Still, even after all that, I felt it was a "good read." "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Julia | 1/19/2014

    " Audiobook captivated me amd made me want to walk longer "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 L.R. Green | 1/19/2014

    " *sigh* I really wanted to like it... "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Emily | 1/18/2014

    " I loved this. It was a historical-fiction mystery. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Michael Moseley | 12/29/2013

    " 1st Class book a real insight into the life of a newly emerging independent womanhood. The book also reveals how the Crimean war was perhaps a for runner the mechanical brutality of the 1st world war. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Simran | 12/8/2013

    " An interesting historical fiction novel with a romantic twist. A good read! I enjoyed the parts about medical knowledge or the lack there of, a very interesting perspective. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Bernadette | 12/3/2013

    " I liked the historic setting for this book although I struggled at times with the geography! Felt a bit sorry for the woman left behind who then goes in search of an unfaithful man who turned out to be a wimp and a prig. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Cathy | 10/29/2013

    " What I liked about this book was the time period- so well described, I got a real sense of life during the Crimean War. However, the past and present flip back and forth so often it was hard to keep the story flowing well, and I wanted to find the protagonist and slap her silly. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Isobel | 10/8/2013

    " Agree with the other reviews. Started well then lost its way. Descriptions of the hell that was the Crimea seemed trite, especially when coming from the perspective of a middle class Victorian young lady. Ending was particularly unsatisfactory. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Jannell | 7/22/2013

    " Interesting point of view to learn about the history of this particular war. Enjoyed the perspective, the main weak female character was annoying, but I did finish it. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Carrie | 6/26/2013

    " Absolutely wonderful book...mysterious, romantic, heartbreaking....I loved every minute. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Beckie | 6/5/2013

    " Interesing history of the Crimean War, nursing (Nightingale), and women's roles. Loved the characters and how they developed through the book. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Heather Sullivan | 4/15/2013

    " Very reminiscent of Victoria Holt. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Tammie | 9/19/2012

    " Pretty good, there were a few parts I had to skim over, but other than that it wasn't bad. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Charlene | 5/6/2012

    " This was one of those books I had to force myself to finish because I'd spent money on it. Jumping back and forth in time was frustrating to me. Too much of the story was left unfinished. I'm glad the main character finally got a backbone. I wanted to slap her myself and tell her to get a grip... "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Andrea Callaway | 4/13/2012

    " Surprised how much I enjoyed this, and learned a lot about Crimean war too. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Ashlee | 1/12/2012

    " I would have given it a higher rating if it didn't end so abruptly. I felt like there was more that need to be said. It was interesting to learn more about that the Crimean War. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Danae | 12/7/2011

    " I started this book and almost stopped; something made me keep reading and I'm glad I did. Don't know I recommend it for everyone, but it struck a chord with me and I ended up really liking it. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Hermien | 7/7/2011

    " I loved the historical setting and the repressed sexual tensions. Also an interesting insight into the life of girls and women in those days and the limited choices available to them. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Beckie | 5/14/2011

    " Interesing history of the Crimean War, nursing (Nightingale), and women's roles. Loved the characters and how they developed through the book. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Nadine | 4/18/2011

    " Thought this book was going to be about Florence Nightengale - it wasn't. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Simran | 2/24/2011

    " An interesting historical fiction novel with a romantic twist. A good read! I enjoyed the parts about medical knowledge or the lack there of, a very interesting perspective. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Lauren | 1/27/2011

    " Amazing story!!!! I loved the intricate story-line. It did jump around from the past to the future and then back again making it a difficult read but it was very well detailed and in the end came together very well. I would buy it at full price it was that good. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Hazel | 10/27/2010

    " Fascinating historical interest book set at the time of Crimean War, with absolutely credible characters that were not in any way contrived. Lovely read. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Mary Beth | 10/1/2010

    " I am thoroughly enjoying this factual novel of middle 1800 events affecting women, war and romance. Amazing how far we have come in terms of industry, medicine and feminist rights!
    An introspective look at the times as well as a brilliant story of friendship and love... "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Cathy | 9/21/2010

    " What I liked about this book was the time period- so well described, I got a real sense of life during the Crimean War. However, the past and present flip back and forth so often it was hard to keep the story flowing well, and I wanted to find the protagonist and slap her silly. "

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About the Author
Author Katharine McMahon

Katharine Mcmahon is the author of several novels of historical fiction. She is a former English teacher, writing instructor, and actress.

About the Narrator

Josephine Bailey’s impeccable narrations include the British classics Jane Eyre and The Secret Garden. She has also used her subtly nuanced style to enliven historical fiction and light romances. She has won ten AudioFile Earphones Awards and been a finalist for the prestigious Audie Award.