Heirloom Audio released their latest production – an audio of G.A. Henty’s story, St. Bartholomew’s Eve. These productions are available on CD or as a download. We chose the download and I played it through my computer, but also it would fit on my phone so we could have listened in the car. At about two hours long, it would be great for a long car ride. I took a little screenshot of one of the last chapters playing on my computer. It was super easy to download, unzip, and play.
My son, particularly, is a fan of listening to books being read aloud, so we were excited to review this. It went far beyond a typical recording of a book being read aloud – it’s like actually being there listening to a play. The acting is really good, there are sound effects, etc., basically everything we could want in an audio production of a story. It’s top notch and if you are wondering which Henty audio story to choose, this is the one. It was like listening to a high-quality radio production show from a long time ago, when they used to really put a lot of effort into making radio awesome. We use audio books fairly often (usually from the library) because we read so many books and it saves my voice, and this is definitely one of the best ones we’ve had the pleasure to listen to.
We’ve listened to other Henty stories, but not heard this particular story before getting this audio recording. We ended up listening to this almost all at once because we wanted to find out what happened, and because the re-enactment of the whole thing is really so well done. The story covers the Huegenots in 16th century France. This is basically a story about the massacre of French Protestants in 1572. The story follows a 16-year-old boy (like most or maybe all of Henty’s stories) named Phillip Fletcher. Phillip is half English and half French, lives in England, and travels to France in the story. Because it’s a Henty story, Phillip has awesome skills and is told he’s awesome many times. He saves the day. Because it’s Henty.
Henty books are their own thing. Maybe at the time they were written, they were typical of some style of storytelling, but nowadays they’re told in a different style than modern novels. They’re not without controversy because a few stories can sometimes be politically incorrect, but if you can get past that or skip those books, they’re educationally valuable. They also convey strong bravery and faith in the face of severe conditions that most people today don’t face. In this Huguenot story, Admiral Coligny is badly defeated, wounded in the face, carried off the field, and he and the other men are somehow all still praising God together. Modern commenters seem to often judge people who lived long ago and under vastly different conditions, without really having a good understanding of the worldview in which those people were raised. Reading Henty books allows insight into the times, viewpoints, and attitudes, in a way that you cannot get by merely reading a summary of what happened.