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Extended Audio Sample Untold Story: A Novel, by Monica Ali Click for printable size audiobook cover
2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 2.00 (1,182 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Monica Ali Narrator: Emma Fielding, Nicholas Farrell Publisher: Simon & Schuster Audio Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date:
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When Princess Diana died in Paris’s Alma tunnel, she was thirty-seven years old. Had she lived, she would turn fifty on July 1, 2011. Who would the beloved icon be if she were alive today? What would she be doing? And where? One of the most versatile and bold writers of our time, Monica Ali has imagined a different fate for Diana in her spectacular new novel, Untold Story

Diana’s life and marriage were both fairy tale and nightmare rolled into one. Adored by millions, she suffered rejection, heartbreak, and betrayal. Surrounded by glamour and glitz and the constant attention of the press, she fought to carve a meaningful role for herself in helping the needy and dispossessed. The contradictions and pressures of her situation fueled her increasingly reckless behavior, but her stature and her connection with her public never ceased to grow. If Diana had lived, would she ever have found peace and happiness, or would the curse of fame always have been too great? 

Fast forward a decade after the (averted) Paris tragedy, and an Englishwoman named Lydia is living in a small, nondescript town somewhere in the American Midwest. She has a circle of friends: one owns a dress shop; one is a Realtor; another is a frenzied stay-at-home mom. Lydia volunteers at an animal shelter, and swims a lot. Her lover, who adores her, feels she won’t let him know her. Who is she? 

Untold Story is about the cost of celebrity, the meaning of identity, and the possibility—or impossibility—of reinventing a life. Ali’s fictional princess is beautiful, intrepid, and resourceful and has established a fragile peace. And then the past threatens to destroy her new life. Ali has created a riveting novel inspired by the cultural icon she calls “a gorgeous bundle of trouble.”

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Quotes & Awards

  • “Monica Ali has always been a brilliant and provocative writer, but Untold Story is not only a gripping read but a compassionate portrait of a woman in turmoil—her finest novel yet."

    Gary Shteyngart, New York Times bestselling author of Super Sad True Love Story

  • “Haunting and intensely readable, this is something between a thriller and a ghost story.”

    Lady Antonia Fraser, New York Times bestselling author

  • “An unapologetic hybrid of a novel, a literary examination of identity and a page-turning thriller, complete with car chase.”

    O, The Oprah Magazine

  • “Astonishing…Tightly structured and lyrically told.”

    People (four stars)

  • “Ms. Ali builds tension as slickly as any thriller screenwriter: we find ourselves avidly rooting for Lydia to elude her stalker and somehow to hold on to the normal life she has made for herself.”

    New York Times

  • “A dazzling feat...All the pistons are firing.”

    Washington Post

  • “Norman Rockwell couldn’t paint a more affectionate portrait of small-town America.”

    USA Today

  • “Irresistible...Lydia’s unsent letters...are delightful, containing the novel’s emotional core.”

    New York Times Book Review

  • “Ali tells her story with unobtrusive, restrained prose...We’ve long since disappeared into the fiction. Lydia has become her own character, Diana a ghost: naive and vulnerable, self-centered, familiar to us in her self-destruction and her dark fairy-tale life but now entirely real and sympathetic. This remarkable transformation allows Ali to ponder the essence of what makes a person: in this case the sheer tenacity of a clever fighter, both silly and bold—and clearly the author’s impetus for taking on, with astounding confidence, the woman who captivated the entire world.”

    San Francisco Chronicle

  • “Builds to a thrilling and rewarding finish…Daring and engrossing.”

    Booklist (starred review)

  • A New York Times Bestseller
  • Selected for the August 2011 Indie Next List

Listener Opinions

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 by Anita | 2/12/2014

    " This book is horrible. It's a fictitous story about Princess Diana...she didn't die, she is hiding in the US, her hair dyed, etc. And,she left her children in England...abandoned them! Now, Diana would be turning over in her grave. This book is a piece of crap. Don't bother reading it even if it's free! I didn't finish it because it really tarnished the memory of this remarkable young woman. Shame on Monica Ali for trying to make a buck off so much heartache! "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 by Arlene | 2/11/2014

    " Well as a big Diana Fan, I could hardly wait to get my hands on this book. However it did not live up to my expectations. I think it is hard to imagine that Diana could ever live in obscurity in a small town...and it is hard to imagine that she would walk away from her boys. Say what you will about her, she was a caring mother. The book was slow and tedious and by the end I was just skimming through it, ready for it to come to an end. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 by Lu | 1/17/2014

    " An ok read that didn't live up to its potential, but then neither did Diana. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 by Dona | 1/14/2014

    " I enjoyed this book very much until the last page - say what?????????? Can I just say I HATE books that end with you sitting there scratching your head and trying to figure out what in the heck happened. "

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