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Extended Audio Sample Where Angels Fear to Tread Audiobook, by E. M. Forster Click for printable size audiobook cover
3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (4,385 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: E. M. Forster Narrator: Frederick Davidson Publisher: Blackstone Audio Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: January 2013 ISBN: 9781470847203
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E. M. Forster’s first novel explores the comic and tragic effects of culture clash between insular, provincial British personalities and sensual Italian culture and atmosphere.

Lilia Herriton, an impulsive thirty-three-year-old widow from London, travels to Tuscany, where she falls in love with both Italy and the handsome, carefree Gino Carella, a dentist’s son twelve years her junior. When news reaches the snobbish Herriton family that Lilia intends to marry again, this time to an unsuitable Italian, the domineering Mrs. Herriton sends her son, Philip, to prevent the catastrophe—but he arrives too late.

When tragedy strikes, the Herriton family decides to bring Lilia’s infant son to England to be brought up properly—but not everyone is satisfied with the situation.

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Quotes & Awards

  • “It remains an unexpected delight that so much of this author’s work has found its way to the screen. Forster’s first novel, Where Angels Fear to Tread, is as enveloping as any of the other Forster books that have been filmed.”

    New York Times

  • Where Angels Fear to Tread is not at all the kind of book that its title suggests. It is not mawkish or sentimental or commonplace. The motive of the story…is familiar and ordinary enough, but the setting and treatment of this motive are almost startlingly original.”

    Guardian (London)

Listener Opinions

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Jennifer | 2/7/2014

    " All four characters go to hot, beautiful Italy where their frigid, English sensibilities melt to reveal, gasp, some real emotion. However, by the end of it, all characters seem the worse off for going to Italy and meeting with one typically Italian man (beautiful, lounging, flattering, spitting etc.) who is also the worse off for knowing them. So what is the message here - to state that the English have a way of ruining good times in foreign lands? - to keep repressed English society on the straight and narrow? - to warn against falling in love with those smooth talkin' Italians? - to show that the combined product of English control and Italian languor will be ripped to shreds? This story was one big clash of English and Italian customs, mainly with the English characters clashing against themselves, all their uppity rules and their lack of self-awareness. It was humorous, tragic, and highly enjoyable. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 A | 1/28/2014

    " This book made me feel as if I were reading a classy soap opera script. The plot has several twists that keep the reader hooked and guessing what is going to happen next. Even though it is a tragedy, it is highly sarcastic and funny. "

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

    " Read with my students years ago. Enjoyed. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Michelle | 1/16/2014

    " The title has little to do with the story. It was thought up by an editor and makes the book sound more interesting and mysterious than it actually is. Forster wanted to name it after a Town. If it had been named as Forster had wanted I probably wouldn't have been drawn to read this book. On the whole it didn't live up to my expectations. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Maggie | 1/6/2014

    " a slow start but as always with e m forster, excellent character development that pulls the reader into the story. the intertwining of english upper class society and their christian self-righteous faith is clearly presented in this book -- a story of the stalwart, proper englishman "lording" it over the (dirty) italian rogue/peasant. forster is good at these dynamics; he knew well his own cultural milieu and presents their internal and unconscious hypocrisy with finesse AND humor. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 C.G. Fewston | 12/8/2013

    " Published in 1905, Where Angels Fear to Tread is a tale of England and Italy, two cultures pulling apart two families. While on holiday in Monteriano, Italy, Lilia Herriton falls in love with the handsome, but very young Italian named Gino. From there they are married and father a son, unleashing an exploration of vice, virtue, and prejudice between the two families. The rather short book, of only 135 pages, is sentenced with beautiful language and the reader is quickly immersed in the story by the first page. The story does relate the complexes of two cultures misunderstanding each other and the horrific consequences that can result when superiority and deception are considered as necessary tactics to solving problems, especially when it comes to that of a newborn babe and the dark forest that awaits one rainy night. A moving story. A recommend. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Kathy | 12/6/2013

    " I'm not sure I love the ending. The novel kind of fizzled out. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Victoria | 11/13/2013

    " This is the first time I read an E.M Forrester Novel, which I really enjoyed. The story is about the clash of classes in England, which in this story reaches Italy. Society, family, marital affairs, friendship, and love, are the themes than run through the novel. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Katie | 9/27/2013

    " Not as good as his other book set in Italy, A Room With A View, but it's funny and cynical. None of the characters are very sympathetic, but it's interesting to see the changes in Philip, and you end up hoping in the end that Caroline changes her mind. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Kandice | 9/16/2013

    " I was so outraged by that family! Just who did they think they were? I read this book in such a tizzy! "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Emily | 9/15/2013

    " This book was pretty good, once you get past the outmoded stereotypes about Italians and the fact that all the girls seem to fall in love instantly with a handsome face. I don't regret reading it, but mostly it just made me want to re-read Howard's End and A Room with a View. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Karen | 9/12/2013

    " This book was not developed enough for me. The characters were too predictable, and the way death was used to solve conflict? No thanks. But knowing this was Forster's earliest attempt eased the burden a little. I love Howard's End and A Room With a View. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Leslie | 8/14/2013

    " I'm usually a fan of Forster. Not this one, however. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Craig | 8/4/2013

    " More like 3.5 stars. Forster's writing is very good. I just did not care as much about what happened to all involved. That said, I may need to read this again and then review. I liked it, but it just did not grab me completely. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Karen | 6/24/2013

    " This book has beautiful writing and many lovely passages. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Annette | 1/14/2013

    " Engaging story but kind of difficult classical English language to work through. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Stuart Lindberg | 12/31/2012

    " The final chapters of this novella contain some of the most moving passages I have ever read. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Deborah | 12/29/2012

    " Good page turner about family tension "

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About the Author

Edward Morgan Forster (1879–1970) was born in London and raised by his mother and paternal aunts. He pursued his interests in philosophy and classics at Cambridge and there began his writing. He wrote six novels, short stories, essays, and other nonfiction. He is known for his liberal humanism, notably exemplified in his greatest novel, A Passage to India.

About the Narrator

Frederick Davidson (1932–2005), also known as David Case, was one of the most prolific readers in the audiobook industry, recording more than eight hundred audiobooks in his lifetime, including over two hundred for Blackstone Audio. Born in London, he trained at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art and performed for many years in radio plays for the British Broadcasting Company before coming to America in 1976. He received AudioFile’s Golden Voice Award and numerous Earphones Awards and was nominated for a Grammy for his readings.