The Scarlet Letter

Customer Reviews

400 Ratings

Overall Ratings

  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
  • 4 Stars
  • 3 Stars
  • 2 Stars
  • 1 Stars

Sorted By Most Useful

5 out of 5 stars
By Gretchen SLP on 20-12-2015

'Thou Wast Not Bold! Thou Wast Not True!'

This faithful audio version of Hawthorne's timeless classic is by far the best available; Kate Petrie is an excellent narrator and does admirable justice to the novel's gorgeously wrought prose, somber tone and yet hopeful spirit. My only qualms in recommending it as a 5-star performance across the board are minor quibbles with the production (why does the three-minute introduction come at the END of the book?) and the editing (on at least one occasion, Petrie reads the same line twice), although I must admit these to be very minor flaws indeed in a recording so otherwise seamless as to give the impression that the narrator never ceased reading for one moment to draw a deep breath, much less ever stopped for several minutes together to drink a glass of water or stretch her legs.

The English teacher in me must give one final word of warning to the educated, word-loving listener: Just know in advance that there will be a few mispronunciations of individual words, so you won't be unduly startled and dismayed when you hear them. Some may be British pronunciations, but most are clearly actual errors, often of the sort where a syllable is added or deleted. These errors include "GREE-vee-us"/grievous; "con-TIDJ-you-us"/contiguous; "INK-witty"/iniquity; "Er-RUDE-it"/erudite; "uh-TRIB-yutes"/attributes (as in, the attributes of the wearer of the scarlet letter); "ig-NOM-uh-nee"/ignominy; "miss-CHEE-vee-us"/mischievous; "scorge"/scourge; "PURR-pert"/purport; and, perhaps most dismaying, "DIM-mizz-dale"/Dimmesdale.

But don't let that stop you from using a credit on this gorgeous page-turner. Hawthorne, the most anti-religionist of the American Romantics, a man who was haunted and obsessed by the subject of dubious Puritan "morality" due to his ancestor's pivotal and horrific role in the Salem Witch trials, here weaves such a spellbinding and suspenseful tale that it can't possibly be tarnished by a few minor mispronunciations.

Thank you, thank you, Audible, for this thoroughly engrossing, lovingly embroidered audio experience of one of the finest works of American literature. Grade: scarlet A-plus.

Read More Hide me

38 of 45 people found this review helpful

5 out of 5 stars
By Fiona on 06-12-2016

Interesting and Great For Literary Examination

The story is very wealthy in literary themes and would be fairly easy to write essays on. The Narrator is pleasant and portrays several voices very well. The story is interesting and also not too terribly long. My only distaste is Hawthorne's "try-hard" diction and excessive flowering in scene description.

Read More Hide me

10 of 12 people found this review helpful

5 out of 5 stars
By John J. Meyer on 02-12-2016

lovely story and telling

A crime of adultery and such an excavation of the affected souls that Dostoevsky might have been inspired. The narrator's lovely voice burnishes the narration and brings to life the characters.

Read More Hide me

10 of 12 people found this review helpful

5 out of 5 stars
By J Bouvette on 22-12-2016


Wonderfully narrated. It is the message, wrapped in Hawthorne's succinctly insightful and luxurious Victorian prose, that lays bare the torture of ignominy and isolation imposed by the most misguided practice of religions, that seeks to either challenge the readers' unenlightened tribal instincts to at last bathe their collective conscience and live henceforth in the promise and hope of redemption or to rejoice in gratitude that we now live in a time where we may enjoy this option.

Hester's only option was to live defamed, ostracized by her peers or to escape. First mentally and then physically. Forgiveness was not to be a comfort afforded her by others but gained by her own daring thoughts.... to arrive at her own redemption.

Read More Hide me

9 of 11 people found this review helpful

5 out of 5 stars
By Brittany Stephanie on 20-09-2017

Quite the take on sexual immorality

The narrator did well. The story was quite an adventure. 10 out of 10 would read again.

Read More Hide me

5 of 6 people found this review helpful

5 out of 5 stars
By Mary on 05-09-2016

For the Narrator

Fantastic voices for the different characters. especially pearl. made me be able to imagine a little girl right at her mother's feet and begging her for something.

Read More Hide me

11 of 14 people found this review helpful

Page 1 of 2