Try our newest plan – access a growing selection of included Audible Originals, audiobooks, and podcasts.
You will get an email reminder before your trial ends.
Your Plus plan is $7.95 a month after 30 day trial. Upgrade or cancel anytime.
Buy for $13.96

Buy for $13.96

Pay using card ending in
By confirming your purchase, you agree to Audible's Conditions of Use and Amazon's Privacy Notice. Taxes where applicable.

Publisher's Summary

Sixteen year-old Katya Spivak is out for a walk on the gracious streets of Bayhead Harbor with her two summer babysitting charges when she's approached by silver-haired, elegant Marcus Kidder. At first, his interest in her seems harmless, even pleasant, like his name - a sort of gentle joke. His beautiful home, the children's books that he's written, his classical music, the marvelous art in his study, his lavish presents to her: Mr. Kidder's life couldn't be more different from Katya's drab working-class existence back home in South Jersey, or more enticing.

But by degrees, almost imperceptibly, something changes, and posing for Mr. Kidder's new painting isn't the light-hearted endeavor it once was. What does he really want from her? And how far will he go to get it?

©2009 The Ontario Review, Inc. All rights reserved (P)2009 BBC Audiobooks America

Critic Reviews

"Fans of Oates' gothic stylings will not be disappointed...and Katya's belligerent exuberance ("He wants me! Me, me!") gives the prose plenty of punch." (Booklist)

What listeners say about A Fair Maiden

Average Customer Ratings
Overall
  • 3.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    164
  • 4 Stars
    103
  • 3 Stars
    111
  • 2 Stars
    43
  • 1 Stars
    41
Performance
  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    208
  • 4 Stars
    112
  • 3 Stars
    60
  • 2 Stars
    15
  • 1 Stars
    21
Story
  • 3.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    144
  • 4 Stars
    86
  • 3 Stars
    81
  • 2 Stars
    56
  • 1 Stars
    49

Reviews - Please select the tabs below to change the source of reviews.

Sort by:
Filter by:
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Intense, Sad, and Gripping

This was the first book I read of Oates, and I loved it. It is very like a modern-day Lolita, but told from the young girl’s POV.

At once it feels wrong; Katya is repulsed and repelled by this old man who seems to lust after her and ply her with sweet words and pay her like she’s a prostitute. It also feels right; she is intrigued, enthralled, captivated by the innocent admiration of the talented old soul. She feels loved as she never had before, adored for her beauty and youth.

Her family abandoned her, she has no friends, and no one seems to appreciate her for who she is. Katya is desperate to please, but proud and headstrong. She is lonely, but untrusting of everyone, most of all herself. She is compassionate, but stubborn. Mr Kidder brings out all the best and worst in her, and awakens her to what she is truly capable of.

My only complaint is that the author repeatedly references accents, but the narrator does not affect any accents. Regardless of that, it was a wonderful listen and made me want to look at more of JCO’s books.

6 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    1 out of 5 stars

Disturbing to say the least

The main character is beyond naive and frustrating. Disgusted by the old man taking advantage of a young girl that is vulnerable and has issues. Save yourself time & don’t read.

5 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Dark Shadows

A blend of youth & aged lives mingling in the garden of forbidden fruits, masterful.

5 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Enchanting and Disturbingly Beautiful

An enchanting and disturbingly beautiful story of those who have power and those who are powerless. A tale of a sixteen-year-old girl from a struggling family life who crosses paths with a wealthy sixty-eight-year-old man. The old man has designs for the young girl, some of which may be expected and some of which may not. It is well worth the read or listen.

A special note on the audio edition:
Angela Goethals is wonderful! I couldn't imagine anyone else reading and performing this story. I also have the Kindle version because I love to read and see the actual words. If you purchased the Kindle or paper version, I would highly suggest getting the audio version. You'll love it!

3 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Gripping and great.

Never read Oats. What talent. Amazing story made entirely believable. I hope to find more books narrated by Angela Goethals.

2 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

I was hooked

The most fascinating part was the huge shifts and reversals in the internal dialogue of the story’s narrator, revealing —among other revelations— her intermediate position between child and adult. This made her vulnerability all the more poignant. In the same vein she also careened between dutiful, dependent daughter and rapidly awakening critic of her unreliable mother and the social milieu of her family origin. Rich nuanced writing. Excellent performance by the reader. Great listen.

2 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    1 out of 5 stars

One of the Worst Books Ever

A ridiculously weird story about a teen and the fantasies of an old man. Kind of creepy.

The narrator was good though. Almost felt sorry for her having to read this book out loud.

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

good read

haunting and spectacular like Joyce herself! not for those easily disturbed. Lolita reincarnated. good read.

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    2 out of 5 stars

Expected more from this author

It was free and Oates is generally a good writer. But this one missed the mark for me. Growing up close to Bay Head in NJ, I expected a richer story but instead got one about a boring rich old guy. The story was creepy, as another reviewer commented, but worse than that (creepy can be interesting) the story felt overly contrived.

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars

Ew.

I guess it’s supposed to portray a connection that goes beyond age and time, but when you strip away that facade it’s just kind of gross.