Favorites are histories and mysteries. Once avid reader trying to pick up the pace again later in life.
Cassandra, 17, writes in her journal of her oddball 20th century family living in an old English castle house that is connected to a remnant of a 600 year-old castle.
The family has no money, no jobs or income, not even towels or electricity, yet they sit around all day making Big Decisions such as whether or not to sip cocoa or tea that day. For excitement they argue as to whether men look better in beards or not.
The patriarch of the family wrote a book once, but now just reads mysteries and does crosswords 24x7 in candlelight in his gatehouse room. Topaz, 29, his second wife, is a former artist's model who likes to take nude walks in the moonlight (but modestly wearing her boots, of course), and for some reason seems worried about losing her prize of a husband. Older sister, Rose, 21, sits around all day doing absolutely nothing except looking beautiful/enchanting/ravishing. A yardhand, Stephen, seems to be the sole character with a heart and a working income, but he is looked down as inferior by the layabout sisters and is not considered to be a marriageable prospect. There is periodic excitement in the house like when the librarian stops by with new books (hooray!!!) or the vicar drops in for a chat. Occasionally there is tremendous drama as when Cassandra takes the wrong purse to a restaurant and can't pay for her dinner.
While sitting around doing nothing all day the sisters like to fantasize wondering what might happen if two rich eligible young bachelors might accidentally appear on their doorstep. And, then ..
You'll hear Great Thoughts like, "Getting a trousseau is such hard work," and you'll encounter activities all readers can relate to such as swimming in a moat. And, there's a ridiculously unbelievable comic scene involving a fur coat mistaken for a live bear. Added to the melange of ennui and inertia is the author's pretentiousness, with 17 year-old Cassandra making references throughout her journal to Jane Austen, the Bronte sisters, Leo Tolstoy, great poets, and other classic authors. The dogs in the book are Abelard and Heloise. Pretentious, moi?
I will say, though, that although the characters and plot are boring, and the story line (will the man I love love me?), the author does occasionally put together a nicely written passage describing scenery or moonlight. And, in terms of the reader, Jenny Agutter is outstanding -- too bad her talents are wasted on this tripe. The problem with audio books is that when you encounter a book as vapid as this, you can't skim along any faster than the book reads.
I recommend this book to a) people looking for Prince Charming, b) those who need a Jane Austen-lite fix, and c) men in solitary confinement with absolutely nothing else to do. 12 hours of listening to vacuous people doing absolutely nothing except trying to understand and catch the opposite sex is a bit too much excitement for this reader.
PS. If you think I might not enjoy this genre, I love the books by Jane Austen, and Charlotte and Emily Bronte.
And, now, please pour me my cup of chamomile..