Say something about yourself!
You major in literature and you get over 60 and find time to catch up on all the "classics" you should have read. Hey, some of them are a real crock! This is the story I've been waiting for. How I wish my French were good enough to read the original. No wonder the French have taken it to their hearts! Most of us would like to get revenge or prove something. Most of us think we would enjoy unlimited wealth. This story is about a bright and good-looking hero who has been betrayed terribly by his closest friends. He has every reason to want revenge. He comes into great wealth. He gets his revenge very slowly after a decade of preparation. The bad folks are caught mostly by their own evil, even when the hero gives them a chance to improve. This book is delicious! It is set in a period of French history but the same story can be told many ways. Everyone wants a good address, the prettiest girl, plenty of bling-bling. In the first listen you are trying to keep everyone straight. The hero's friends become nobility with fancy titles and you have to recognize all their names. The Wikipedia article on this helped me. In the first listen you're in suspense. In the second listen, you remember being in suspense and hear new details. It must be said that the narration is absolutely top drawer, so good that you don't notice it. I love the way this author describes the decor and clothing. And I love Dumas for not digressing to show off his knowledge of whales or understanding of what went wrong in a certain battle, or any sort of fancy talk to prove he's smart and in the know. He simply tells a wonderful story with many details and many twists and turns. The ending leaves one in a good space, able to imagine all the good characters sailing off into the sunset.
I enjoyed this book very much and am listening again to catch more details. The narrator is very good. I think this may be Dickens' masterpiece. There are a few tiresome, negative, diabolical, ugly, mooching and under-handed characters. And bad things do happen to good people. All in all, though, the really bad folks get their come-uppance. Alas, I saw a bit of myself in Dora and I was most satisfied when Davey FINALLY chose a proper second wife for himself. Dickens winds it up nicely. I will listen again and again to this one.
Why did it take me so long to discover this spine-tingler? I majored in literature and heard this book mentioned; why not simply read it then when I was young? No matter. I'm on the second listen now and catching more bits of characterization, more details that show the author's careful planning of his story. The book transports you to 1850's England country houses with servants, long walks, dressing for dinner, dependable trains and amazingly fast mail service! Of course you want to know what happens next. Sometimes the book seems slow, as country life can seem slow. Then something is overheard or a letter is intercepted or there is a conversation during which you want to tell one of the characters to listen, pay attention and make the connection! Or don't do what you're about to do! On subsequent listens you notice how the attitudes of some characters change with time. One of the villains is mulled over and considered quite a nice-looking man, and a real charmer despite kicking dogs and yelling at servants!! So while I was commenting to myself "Gimme a break!" I was also captivated by the Victorian language and concerns in the story. ... Gabriel Woolf is an excellent narrator. Except for a couple froggies in the throat, his reading is perfect. . . I enjoyed that while the book is set in England, its scope is global. The characters go abroad and return. Or they have lived abroad. Or they are from elsewhere. . . . Collins ties everything up at the end. Lovely happy ending with our favorite characters plus of course a new little person facing their fortunate future. . . . A last comment: audible's blurb about the book suggests that it is multi-layered or a demanding mental puzzle. Yes it is, but for a reasonably bright person it is an effortless listen. I received some life-changing mail yesterday and push myself now to write this review quickly and badly to tell everybody to READ THIS BOOK -- YOU WON'T BE SORRY!
The first two-thirds of this book set the standard for suspense in the genre. It is SUCH good stuff. Was there ever a more extraordinary villain than the coruplent Count Fosco, with his little wire pagoda of white mice and his (self-described) "volcanic ardor" for the unfortunate Marian Halcombe? The last third, wherein matters are resolved, is a bit more rote, but still has some wonderful moments. I loved the scene where the noble drawing master finally confronts the evil Count, and in the silence can hear the chittering of the mice's teeth as they nibble the wires of their cage. The narration is simply fabulous--Bailey and Preble's appreciation and enjoyment of the material is obvious.