• Fierce Convictions

  • The Extraordinary Life of Hannah More - Poet, Reformer, Abolitionist
  • By: Karen Prior
  • Narrated by: Christine Stevens
  • Length: 8 hrs and 59 mins
  • 4.2 out of 5 stars (92 ratings)

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Fierce Convictions  By  cover art

Fierce Convictions

By: Karen Prior
Narrated by: Christine Stevens
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Publisher's Summary

With a foreword by Eric Metaxas, best-selling author of Bonhoeffer and Amazing Grace.

The enthralling biography of the woman writer who helped end the slave trade, changed Britain's upper classes, and taught a nation how to read.

The history-changing reforms of Hannah More affected every level of 18th Century British society through her keen intellect, literary achievements, collaborative spirit, strong Christian principles, and colorful personality. A woman without connections or status, More took the world of British letters by storm when she arrived in London from Bristol, becoming a best-selling author and acclaimed playwright and quickly befriending the author Samuel Johnson, the politician Horace Walpole, and the actor David Garrick. Yet she was also a leader in the Evangelical movement, using her cultural position and her pen to support the growth of education for the poor, the reform of morals and manners, and the abolition of Britain's slave trade.

Fierce Convictions weaves together world and personal history into a stirring story of life that intersected with Wesley and Whitefield's Great Awakening, the rise and influence of Evangelicalism, and convulsive effects of the French Revolution. A woman of exceptional intellectual gifts and literary talent, Hannah More was above all a person whose faith compelled her both to engage her culture and to transform it.

©2014 Thomas Nelson Publishers (P)2014 Thomas Nelson Publishers

What listeners say about Fierce Convictions

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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If Only We All Were So Fiercely Convicted

Did the narration match the pace of the story?

The narrator frequently mispronounced words, especially proper names, such as William Cowper and Magdalen College. These pronunciations cannot be credited to simply a difference between American and British English. She also had a way of pausing in the middle of a sentence that was sometimes confusing. But other than that, her narration was a great match for the story.

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

No. It was very good, but I found that I needed breaks from it occasionally.

Any additional comments?

I thoroughly enjoyed this book. I knew nothing of Hannah More before I read this book. Her life is inspiring and provides fresh perspective on the world and culture. You can't help but hear her story as a call to action against the injustices of our day. This book also made me reflect on the way I live out my own faith.

3 people found this helpful

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Worth the read

I have read many books on Wilberforce as well as others from their group who helped eradicate slavery and it is fascinating to see how all the pieces came together and to find out that More was one of the most Intercal parts of the equation though barely mentioned in most my previous reading.

1 person found this helpful

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Worth Reading

Hannah More is one of those people you should have heard of, but haven't. What a remarkable person of her time!

The book started slowly, almost assuming the reader understood her importance. Once the immensity of her influence was made clear, the book became much more interesting.
The narrator made the listening difficult. She paused at the wrong times, and it could be hard to follow the thoughts as a result.

1 person found this helpful

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An amazing woman

I just realized that I never gave this book a proper review. Well, it's about time.

I read this book at a point in my life I was discouraged. I got this on audio because I was curious about Hannah More and the cover was so pretty. I went in knowing very little about Hannah. I came out feeling like we could have been friends.

Prior is an excellent historian. She not only wrote a book about More, but also explained why some things about her life are unknown, despite her research. I like that she never made guesses and wrote them down as facts. The closest she came to that is offering two or three possible explanations for an action and then was honest that we don't really know.

There were a couple of dry moments, but overall, this book kept me reading. I mean, I read it in only two days. The narrator did an excellent job and the author is a skillful writer.

One of the things I appreciated most about this book is the light it cast on William Wilberforce and his work. He was an incredible man, but too often, people make it sound like he pretty much pushed through all the changes on his own. I think this book clearly showed that it took many people working together to change the hearts of a nation before sweeping reforms could be made.

Mostly, I came away from this book inspired by the life of Hannah More. She was a single woman who loved God, had fierce convictions, and used her skill to help shape a better future. She was an extraordinary individual whom I think makes a great role model, especially for single ladies.

I highly recommend this book for those who like history, are interested in William Wilberforce, and single ladies looking for a role model.

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Historically accurate, written for adults

This wasn't what I thought it would be when I downloaded it, but I love History and learned a lot. Written for college level and up.

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terrific, real history!

loved it! interesting narrator whose voice is very British but also took a bit to get used to. Loved the historical perspective on an activist and someone seeking change through writing !

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Not as informative as I would like

Clearly Hannah More (or Moore) surmounted her place in society and her society's norms. A female born in obscurity in an age when most females of even elevated rank received nothing we would call an education, she emerged into adulthood educated and determined to become a professional writer. I hoped this book would throw light on what formed and shaped her through her childhood and teens, and into early adulthood - how did she get where she did and achieve a personal voice and fame that contributed to the abolition of the British slave trade, and eventual legal emancipation of enslaved people in British territories? Perhaps information simply doesn't exist that would allow a more complete portrait of her early life. This book gives an account of her achievements - her teaching, writings, poetry, and passion to show her fellows the ghastly, unconscionable, murderous inhumanity of the slave trade and her campaign for its abolition. She was also an educational reformer, arguing for some extension of formal education to people of both sexes. Her religious fervor empowered her intelligence into an active force for change. But where did this come from? What early experiences shaped her? This book doesn't answer those questions. Also - the narrator read in monotone, with scant attention to commas, periods, and even chapter changes. Overall, I found this book a frustrating, slllllloooooowww slog.

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Great book, poor audiobook

Get this book, not the audiobook. The reading is not well done and detracts from the book.

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Excellent book but narrator needed improvement

This was an excellent biography about a woman whom more people should know about. Writer, abolitionist, and teacher, Hannah More did many things that impacted her country, and eventually the world for the better. I agree with the author that if good people would learn from her example and take action, some positive change could be made in our modern day world. Please read this book and be inspired by this complex and fascinating lady!

On the technical side of things, I gave the narrator's performance 3 stars because, while it wasn't completely awful, she had this strange tendency to pause at odd times so that her sentences sounded broken and sometimes it caused me some confusion and annoyance.

Content Advisory: There were a couple descriptions of the treatment of slaves. The most bothersome was a quote from a letter written by someone who had witnessed a woman being burned alive and described it a little. There was also a mention of how a man on a slave ship was “laying with” a slave woman in front of everyone. No description in this case, and it was said the man was promptly and soundly punished when he was caught.

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Fascinating account of the life of Hannah More

This was a very well-researched and well-written book about an amazing period in English history. Hannah More was a very gifted woman and I so appreciate how she dedicated those gifts to do what she could do to help eliminate the slave trade in England, using her skill in writing to expose and help change minds and hearts about the evil of this deeply entrenched abhorrent practice. It was also fascinating to learn about her as a person, her Godly devotion, her many writings and her hard work to help provide a means for the poor to learn to read, through her work in establishing “Sunday Schools”. These were not what we think of today as Sunday Schools, rather schools to teach literacy to those who did not have the opportunity to go to school because of working the other six days of the week.
This book and Hannah More’s life is best appreciated by an open-mind in understanding just how daring her opinions and writings were in this time period and not judged by the times we live within.The author excellently points this out throughout the book, when appropriate.
Some have complained about the reader, but I found this reader’s voice to be very pleasant and though sometimes she might not put inflection in a sentence to make it more readily understandable, I think her voice is one of the most pleasant voices that I have ever heard in a book read aloud.

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  • S
  • 02-07-16

Fierce convictions

Maybe of interest to students studying social history, but could not be described as entertaining by any stretch of the imagination.
A biography perhaps, but even many of these are not quite so dry!

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  • Richie
  • 05-22-18

Amazing woman of history

I knew nothing of Hannah More until I listened to Eric Metaxas’ ‘7 Women’. Swallow Prior’s book takes a little while to get going, but once it does, it is an extremely encouraging and vivid portrayal of an extremely gifted godly woman. We need more Hannah More’s!

My only criticism is the voice artist. Her voice is fine, but I get the impression that the recording was heavily edited; sometimes it feels like there is no breath taken between sentences (This is most notable at the beginning of a new chapter). Otherwise, a great listen!