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The Christmas Hirelings

Narrated by: Richard Armitage
Length: 3 hrs and 53 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (146 ratings)
Price: CDN$ 18.74
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Publisher's Summary

Richard Armitage modernizes a classic hidden gem of Christmas Past… Sir John Penlyon is planning to spend Christmas at his estate with his niece and his friend Danby, the closest thing he has to family since disowning his daughter years ago. (She eloped with the parson, who was, of course, penniless.) Danby suggests that at Christmastime the estate needs the presence of small children, and offers to find some - the “hirelings” - despite Sir John’s skepticism. Three children duly arrive, and the youngest, precocious four year-old Moppet, quickly endears herself to Sir John. The season takes flight with merriment, warmth, and even affection, until Moppet - as young children are wont to do in Victorian holiday tales - falls deathly ill. With her life hanging by a tinsel-thin thread, how will the makeshift family cope? 

Listeners who smile ironically at the antiquated juxtaposition of The Christmas Hirelings might be surprised by the contemporary feel of a blended family, income inequality, and the power of togetherness to heal past sorrows. Richard Armitage’s stellar voice makes each scene as rich as a plum pudding dotted with the raisins of tradition (party favors, carols, and more!), and the entire performance feels like a trip to bygone England…just in time for the end of this year. 

Public Domain (P)2018 Audible, Inc.

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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Wonderful!

Listed to this over an afternoon and evening today. First of all Richard Armitage is my favourite actor and reader and I have dowloaded all but one of the ones he has done. He “performs “ this audiobook as he has done all the others. Not just narrates. I have downloaded two more and can’t wait to listen to them. He is indeed incomparable! How he is able to voice all the characters is amazing. I forget it’s only one person I’m listening to!

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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Precious

I got this because it was free, and honestly, I thought it was going to be okay. I was pleasantly surprised by the charm of the story.The story was extremely predictable but the journey was worth it. Also, it's shortness worked in it's favour, if it was longer, the story would have overstayed it's welcome.
This story was precious, warm, charming and familiar, like Christmas.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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wonderful story! wonderful reading

simply enjoyable. Listened in one go. The voices were absolutely delightful with the accents and intonations!

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Heartwarming

A gentle, lovely story of family reconciliation through the love of a child. Most appreciated at Christmas.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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wonderful and sweet story

well read by Richard Armitage, as usual, a very heart-warming story of redemption and reconciliation.

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Magnificent

A real Christmas story! I will surely listen to it again. Wonderfully written and performed. Touched my whole being.

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Enjoyable.

It’s always fun getting into the holiday season. When I saw that The Christmas Hirelings was being offered for free on Audible, I thought that it would be a great addition to my holiday preparations.

The Christmas Hirelings is set in Braddon’s contemporary period, circa mid to late eighteen hundreds. It is set in an aristocratic household and revolves around a preposterous idea. A group of people with more money than brains decide to hire some children to enhance their own merriment during the Christmas season.

At first I was floored by the sheer arrogance that these people thought nothing of this idea, even going so far as discussing the temperament that these children must possess. As the story went on, the true intentions of the characters became evident. I saw early on where the story was going, but often the ride is more fun than the destination.

Richard Armitage’s narration was fantastic. He really immersed himself into the characters, each one with their own particular lilt or accent. It felt more like a presentation than a simple narration of a story.

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such a sweet and heartwarming story

this was a wonderful listening experience, not the usual book i enjoy, but the story was a fresh change, if you have a spare few hours i would recommend it.

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Charming Christmas story

Wonderfully performed, this charming Christmas story touched my heartstrings. A newfound classic for my family.

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boring

there is a reason this Is free poor acting and story. don't waste your time.

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  • Elisabeth Carey
  • 2018-12-13

A warm and lovely Christmas story

This is a Victorian Christmas tale, and it's a good one.

Sir John Penlyon is spending Christmas with his niece, Adela, and his friend Thomas Danby, a makeshift family for the aging man with no closer family left to him. Long widowed, his older daughter died just a few years after her own marriage, with no children. His younger daughter married a penniless curate, in defiance of her father, and was of course disowned.

Adela mentions how dull a Christmas with no children is, and Sir John, a bit of a curmudgeon, says Christmas is pointless for a household without children. In short order, Danby has persuaded Sir john to agree to his scheme to hire some suitable young children to enliven their holiday.

In time for Christmas, Danby brings two little girls and a young boy, sweet, endearing children who do indeed enliven the holiday. The younger girl, Moppet, in particular, charms Sir John and endears herself to him.

But this is a Victorian Christmas tale, and Moppet, inevitably, falls dangerously ill. Sir John begins to think he made a mistake in opening his home and his heart. Also, of course, the origin of these children becomes a far more urgent matter. The question of whether a wounded and broken family can be healed becomes the center of this story.

It's very well done, and very moving. Recommended.

I received this audiobook as part of Audible's Audible Originals program, and am reviewing it voluntarily.

13 of 13 people found this review helpful

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  • Zoe Gill
  • 2018-12-11

Recommended Feel-good Christmas Short

Similar to "A Christmas Carol." Touching story. Brilliant narration by Richard Armitage. Heart-warming holiday listen.

11 of 11 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Avene
  • 2018-12-11

Delightful story, excellent narration

Let's dispense with the obvious first: the narration by Richard Armitage is, as always, top-notch. (His rendition of "Moppet" was delightfully childlike!)

I'm glad Audible chose to gift us members with this particular "forgotten" tale. (And forgotten it is. I could not find a Kindle copy in Amazon but got a scanned copy from the internet archive website.) It is indeed perfect for Christmas and wonderfully written with its focus on children, family and forgiveness. I enjoyed M.E. Braddon's characterization of the children, especially their behavior upon meeting their host and in their varying reaction to one of them being ill. This is a delightful story excellently narrated. Thank you, Audible!

29 of 32 people found this review helpful

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  • Anonymous User
  • 2018-12-11

I loved it!

I loved It! I enjoyed this story about love and forgiveness. Loved this little girl.

24 of 27 people found this review helpful

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  • kevinf
  • 2018-12-11

A warming Christmas Story

A Christmas story that warms the heart. A great reminder of not only what Christmas is about but also why family can be such a big part of it whether you realize... or want it to be that way.

This was a holiday story I had not heard previously and I was able to get through in one sitting. Excellent short listen that dares to bring some Christmas spirit to a cold heart. Nicely written and Armitage does a good job with narration. #Christmas #Holidays #HeartWarming

11 of 12 people found this review helpful

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  • Anonymous User
  • 2018-12-10

Fits perfect to Christmas!

I love Christmas tales and listening to them on their original idiom is a new experience for me (my mother tongue is Portuguese). And, of course, there´s Richard Armitage narrating the story, changing his voice for every character... I loved it, Audible! Thank you very much for the audiobook!

63 of 73 people found this review helpful

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  • Silvia
  • 2018-12-11

Perfection

This is such a lovely story! And of course, impeccable narration. Recommend to anyone who wants to listen to something that will warm their hearts, make them smile and make them a little happier.
Or just want to listen to Richard's very sexy voice ;)

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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  • JB
  • 2018-12-11

Delightful Story of a perfect Christmas

This story is crafted by a gifted author and read in such a way that it is easy to almost live the story with the folks it is about. I got the book and “read” it ALL the same day. I will read it again before Christmas. You really should not miss this book.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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  • Anonymous User
  • 2018-12-11

A perfect introduction to the season!

A beautifully written, delightfully narrated book; exquisite characters, endearing story, masterfully presented in every way!

10 of 12 people found this review helpful

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  • IreneMBBT
  • 2018-12-13

Enjoyable period piece

I really enjoyed this tale of love and reconciliation overcoming the limitations of British society in the second half of the Nineteenth Century. I like that the author gave Sir John credit for having the intelligence to figure out what was going on. Amazing to think this was published in 1894; and written by a woman who lived much of her life outside the social conventions of her times.
Side note: I got a kick out of homeopathy being mentioned, as it was much more common here before the medical witch hunts in the U.S. My life would have been much different, in the negative, without the benefits of Arnica Montana. Another topic to research another day.
Armitage did an excellent job with narration.

Thank you, Audible, for a delicious, high quality Christmas treat!

2 of 2 people found this review helpful