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The Christmas Hirelings

3.64  ·  Rating details ·  2,542 ratings  ·  455 reviews
This is a reproduction of a book published before 1923. This book may have occasional imperfections such as missing or blurred pages, poor pictures, errant marks, etc. that were either part of the original artifact, or were introduced by the scanning process. We believe this work is culturally important, and despite the imperfections, have elected to bring it back into pri ...more
Hardcover, 261 pages
Published 1894 by Simpkin, Marshall, Hamilton, Kent & Co.
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Cindy Rollins
Dec 16, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2018, audiobooks
This was a free Audible Christmas offering with Richard Armitage and delightfully better than expected. Armitage not only has a melliflous voice himself, he does other voices even female voices without seeming ridiculous. The thing that heightened my attention was the ideas on educations which very much paralleled Charlotte Mason's ideas. It was so pronounced I looked up the author and found she was contemporary to Charlotte and also a mother of 6 along with being a stepmother. She is also the a ...more
Dec 12, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: audio, classics, holiday
Although this was written over 100 years ago, it felt timeless. The premise is some wealthy aristrocrats without younger family members hire 3 children to make Christmas more enjoyable. Moppet was adorable and totally stole the show.
Published in 1894, this story falls within the Victorian period, and certainly reads like a Victorian melodrama. The author was considered a sensationalist, and for decades it was out of print. It has all of the twists and turns we have come to expect of Victorian writing, particularly Christmas tales. For this reader, it was not predictable and in fact, surprised me.
A free offering this month on Audible for members, it is worth a listen.
Dec 16, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Let’s hire some children and give them a good Christmas… That’s a creepy concept even for 1895. But on the positive side Richard Armitage reading anything is always a treat.
Apr 07, 2018 rated it liked it
Short and sweet, rather unlike most of Braddon’s stories! A cranky old rich Scrooge character agrees to humor his favorite houseguest by allowing him to invite some unknown children to spend Christmas with them in the spacious old mansion. You never know what Christmas miracles may happen when children are there to brighten up the home. I listened to this as a free download from First published in 1894.
Lis Carey
Dec 12, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audiobooks, fiction
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
Dec 17, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This was a good surprise, expecially since it was a free Christmas gift from Audible. The story is sweet and simple, in the classic style of Dickens/Collins. The plot is quite predictable but still entertaining. I didn't know the author but I'll be probably reading something else from her in the future! The performance from Richard Armitage was obviously perfect, so overall a very good experience.
Dec 22, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audio
Awwww super sweet traditional Christmas tale - recommended for a feel good read.

Dec 27, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audiobooks, read-2018
Too soppy even for the classy Christmas story of an old man redemption.
Jan 02, 2019 rated it it was amazing
What a delightful vintage treat!

We meet a Scrooge type of man at Christmastime... He doesn't know it, but he needs some holiday cheer. Children have been vacant for far too long in his home, and he has forgotten the happiness that family brings.

The proposition? Some children should be hired to fill such a large, empty house with Christmas joy and laughter. If one has the money, why not?

A beautiful and heartwarming Victorian holiday tale. I could see this even being read aloud to young ones durin
Dec 14, 2018 rated it liked it
A short and simple, feel-good Victorian novel, with no complex characters, nor much conflict, nor much of a plot. The trajectory of the story is evident very early on; nevertheless, seeing it play out is pleasantly diverting. Unfortunately, the ending was a disappointment. It was a happy one, as expected, but just a quick wrap-up. Braddon seems to have run out of steam, sighed ho-hum, and gone off to plan another novel. (According to Wikipedia, she wrote more than 90 in her career.) I listened t ...more
Dec 26, 2014 rated it really liked it
A bored, "bah, humbuggy" Earl agrees to hire three unknown children to make his house guests' Christmas more genial. The Queen of Victorian Sensation Fiction, who's best known for blood curdling tomes like Lady Audley's Secret, wrote one book for children and this is it. Short, sweet and perfect for a quick read on a plane en route for the holidays, it is a bit predictable but very satisfying.
This novel is quite a diversion from the "sensation novels" of Mary Elizabeth Braddon, and very different from the sappy holiday fare that sometimes passes off as representative of the "Spirit of Christmas". Only about 30 percent of the story actually takes place during the Christmas season. The remainder is a back-story which is interesting and essential to the understanding of the Christmas events. The novel is a good example of the craft of this author, her ability to describe in lively langu ...more
Dec 19, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audiobook, christmas
I listened to the audiobook that was the Christmas gift from Audible. It was a cute, predictable story with a Dickenesque feel. I listened while wrapping Christmas presents. It was a nice gift. Thanks Audible.
Review of the audiobook narrated by Richard Armitage.

It's obvious why this Public Domain book from 1894 was apparently forgotten before its revival by Audible as a free reward for their 2018 Christmas season. Predictable and derivative, yet just charming enough to be an ok use of 4 hours to feel a little Christmas spirit.

Richard Armitage does inject life into the book with his performance. I'd definitely listen to more books he's narrated.

Final verdict: 3 star story, 4.5 star narration, 3.5 star
So, this was a classic Victorian predictable, supposedly heart-warming and thankfully short novella about Christmas hearths, trees, puddings, shining children's eyes, shriveled hearts thawing, with small children behaving like little adults, life-threatening illnesses being overcome and bringing split families together and all ended well (no these are not spoilers, everyone knew this cannot end otherwise).
However, somehow it failed to thaw my own shriveled heart and I was only heartily bored.
Dec 17, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: audio-book, fiction
I am so grateful to for this Christmas gift. This was such a wonderful story reminiscent of those of Rosamund Pilcher’s. The setting was even Cornwall.
This was a perfect, sweet story to read during the holidays!

Also, I will listen to, and recommend, anything read by Richard Armitage! (Have no shame and don't care.)
Greg at 2 Book Lovers Reviews
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 Ch
I'm glad that I chose to listen to this one right after I received it from Audible this year rather than letting it sit in my cloud untouched. It was delightful. This was a short Victorian holiday tale about Sir John Penlyon who is a little older and unmarried, without any children at home. At the beginning of the story, Sir John is planning to spend Christmas with his niece Adela and his best friend Denby. The three are sitting around discussing how much better it is when there are children aro ...more
Jan 02, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audio, read-in-2018
Sir John Penlyon is spending Christmas with his niece, Adela, and his good friend, Tom Danby. Over dinner Adela mentions how the holiday would be better if there were children around and Sir John, while not entirely liking it, allows himself to be talked into bringing some children into his home for a few days. Mr. Danby knows just the right children to hire so everyone's Christmas will be more enjoyable.

This was a short and sweet Victorian Christmas story. I wasn't sure at first with that premi
Moppet was terribly annoying. Usually, I'm a huge sucker for 'grouchy old man is softened by cute child/animal' stories (like Little Lord Fauntleroy), but I just really could not stand Moppet. She was entirely too perfect, and literally every character adored her above anyone else. Blech.

Moppet aside, I liked the rest of it, though it did feel a bit pointless at times. I enjoyed the prose anyway, and the other characters were enjoyable enough.

And, of course, the narration was perfect, but that’s
David Albee
Jan 01, 2019 rated it liked it
Predictable, but enjoyable.
Dec 26, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audible
3.5 stars. A Christmas short that has a bit of bah humbug, nostalgia, and sweet forgiveness.
Maine Colonial
A story reminiscent of A Christmas Carol, and just as sentimental—actually, more so. It will hit the spot if it’s the holidays and you’re in the mood for something schmaltzy.
Paul Shan
Dec 12, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: clasics
This is what i get for having read too much and seen too many movies and television shows. I knew less than a third of the way into the story how this was going to go. However, the writing style is fantastic and while i knew where the story was going I wanted to know how it got there and how each character would play their part. Emma drove me insane because I couldn't care about any of the characters. THIS had me on every word wanting more, needing to know how it played to the end point I foresa ...more
Dele Haynes
Dec 24, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This charming little book is a delightful story for a quick Christmas read, Thank you, Richard Armitage for giving your fan this little gift.

Sir John Penylon was planning to spend Christmas with his niece and long time friend, Mr. Danby, when it was suggested that they needed children to liven up the holiday. When Sir John was finally convinced, Danby set out to find some children to hire to may the holiday more merry. Mr. Danby soon returned with three children in tow, two girls and a boy. When
Jan 06, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I received this as a free book from Audible this Christmas. This is an old fashioned Victorian-like holiday tale of a crusty old aristocrat who becomes reunited with his estranged daughter through his grandchildren who are "hired" to be children for the holidays.

This book is totally predictable, but enjoyable in the spirit of the season
Maria Hill AKA MH Books
The latest free Christmas gift to Audible subscribers is full of Christmas sentimentality where children make Christmas happy and are the secret to finding the heart in a grumpy old man. Bah Humbug everyone!
Dec 26, 2018 rated it really liked it
Tierna historia de un viejo millonario, poco afectivo, cascarrabias....estilo Scrooge que logra abrir su corazón cuando conoce a unos lindos niños que pasan navidad con él.

Hermosa historia para épocas navideñas.
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Mary Elizabeth Braddon was a British Victorian era popular novelist. She was an extremely prolific writer, producing some 75 novels with very inventive plots. The most famous one is her first novel, Lady Audley's Secret (1862), which won her recognition and fortune as well. The novel has been in print ever since, and has been dramatised and filmed several times.

Braddon also founded Belgravia Magaz
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