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Historical

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Lulu

Lulu KANSAS CITY, MO, United States Member Since 2006
HELPFUL VOTES
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1
  • "The hero was understatedly heroic ..."

    Overall
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    in spite of the goofy picture on the cover. I usually don't pay much attention to the picture on the cover of a book on Audible. For some reason though, this guy was creepy.

    I am glad I overcame the creep factor and read the book. It was very enjoyable. This was actually one of the more romantic Heyer books I have read. There was actually a clutch and a kiss near the end. Heyer did such a good job of presenting a hero who knows exactly what he wants by the end of the second chapter, a heroine who never really believes him until the very end and still makes everything that comes in between interesting and enjoyable. She fleshed out several of the secondary characters more than she does in some of her other work. And the Nonesuch's male relations were pretty entertaining, as was the cross the heroine was forced to bear - the young lady she served as a companion to. Eve Matheson does a great job on Georgette Heyer books.

    If you like Heyer you will enjoy this book.

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    The Nonesuch

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 49 mins)
    • By Georgette Heyer
    • Narrated By Eve Matheson
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (440)
    Performance
    (288)
    Story
    (286)

    Sir Waldo Hawkridge, wealthy, handsome, eligible, illustrious, and known as The Nonesuch for his athletic prowess, believes he is past the age of falling in love. But when he comes north to inspect his unusual inheritance at Broom Hall in the West Riding, his arrival leads to the most entertaining of ramifications.

    Carl Smith says: "Simple pleasure"
  • "Delayed Gratification"

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    Story

    For some reason this book didn't pique my interest when it was first available. It didn't sound remotely interesting. I kept hearing great things about the book but I had no motivation to read it. I eventually bought it when it was on sale, thinking that some day it might be worth reading.

    When I finally read the book, I realized that the praise I kept hearing was well deserved. Elizabeth McGovern did a great job with the narration. She matched the period and the main characters perfectly. The characters were extremely well developed and the author did a great job of laying out a complex and multi-staged lifetime in a little over 13 hours. Not that long of book - when compared to other life-spanning fictional sagas. The plot was never predictable. I was continually surprised by the unexpected twists and turns taken.

    I assume it is difficult to write about a real person who has a somewhat mythical persona, someone considered "larger than life" through at least a portion of their life. It must be even more difficult when you are attempting to write about them as just a person, not a myth. The author brings Louise Brooks to life, not as a movie star, but as a young lady and then a middle aged woman with the same problems and issues as they rest of us face daily. She made Louise more human and so more likeable.

    I am extremely glad I finally read this book. I found it terribly gratifying and satisfying and recommend it heartily.

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    The Chaperone

    • UNABRIDGED (13 hrs and 18 mins)
    • By Laura Moriarty
    • Narrated By Elizabeth McGovern
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (2127)
    Performance
    (1875)
    Story
    (1862)

    >The Chaperone is a captivating novel about the woman who chaperoned an irreverent Louise Brooks to New York City in 1922, and the summer that would change them both. Only a few years before becoming a famous actress and an icon for her generation, a 15-year-old Louise Brooks leaves Wichita to make it big in New York. Much to her annoyance, she is accompanied by a thirty-six-year-old chaperone who is neither mother nor friend. Cora Carlisle is a complicated but traditional woman with her own reasons for making the trip.

    Amanda says: "Perfection."
  • "Fills in Several Blanks"

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    The first 15 minutes alone of this short novella are worth reading. Gabaldon's ability to start her stories with a bang is one of her greatest skills. The beginning to this story rivals the first 15 minutes of The Scottish Prisoner.

    Jeff Woodman has become the voice of Lord John to me. So much so that this is the single character in the Outlander series that I wish someone other than Davina Porter would narrate. And since I think the Porter and Outlander combination is pretty close to perfection, that is saying a lot.

    A lot happens in a very short period of time in this piece. And by the time it is finished, a few more questions are answered and blanks are filled in about the Lord John character, his history and how he became the man he is in the Outlander series. I highly recommend it.

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    The Custom of the Army: An Outlander Novella

    • UNABRIDGED (2 hrs and 37 mins)
    • By Diana Gabaldon
    • Narrated By Jeff Woodman
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (203)
    Performance
    (183)
    Story
    (186)

    London, 1759. After a high-society electric-eel party leads to a duel that ends badly, Lord John Grey feels the need to lie low for a while. Conveniently, before starting his new commission in His Majesty’s army, Lord John receives an urgent summons. An old friend from the military, Charlie Carruthers, is facing court-martial in Canada, and has called upon Lord John to serve as his character witness.

    Grey voyages to the New World,a land rife with savages (many of them on his own side) and cleft by war.

    Di says: "Excellent Interpretation"
  1. The Nonesuch
  2. The Chaperone
  3. The Custom of the Army: A...
  4. .

A Peek at Robert's Bookshelf

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Yamhill, OR, United States 212 REVIEWS / 346 ratings Member Since 2009 2120 Followers / Following 12
 
Robert's greatest hits:
  • The Book Thief

    "Glad I took a chance."

    Overall
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    I had my doubts about reading this book. I have a hard time with books about WWII Germany. I knew this would probably be a heartbreaker too but for some reason I decided to take it on. Maybe because the book was about books, and I usually like that genre; maybe because the reviews were so good; certainly not because I read it was appropriate for "sophisticated teens and adults." For whatever reason, I am glad I selected The Book Thief. It was incredibly well-written. The characters completely came to life. While there certainly was heart-brake, the heart-warming more than made up for it. This is a book for all ages. The narrator was outstanding and all and all, it was a book I will not soon forget.

  • The Winds of War

    "A Masterpiece"

    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Winds of War is the first in a two book historical fiction series about WWII. The time span of this first installment begins six months before the German invasion of Poland and ends with the attack on Pearl Harbor and the official entry of the US into the war. I found the story’s prelude to the war to be one of the most fascinating aspects of the book and it all mostly revolves around the life and naval career of one Victor “Pug” Henry, his immediate and extended family.

    Prior to the war, this fictional character Pug, a naval attache to Berlin, draws the attention of FDR after writing an insightful prediction of the German-Russian nonaggression pact. Thus begins the relationship between Pug and FDR that will keep the former on land instead of at sea as the personal, though mostly unofficial, “intelligence” officer to the President. Pug’s goings and comings including his meetings with the likes of Hitler, Mussolini, Churchill and Stalin serve as the backbone of this novel.

    I generally avoid books of this ilk aware that so many dwell on the Nazi atrocities that are more than this reader can handle. While mention is made of these, it is not what the book explores in detail and again, the novel is about the antecedent and beginning aspects of the war when not a great deal was known about what was going on in camps behind barbed wire.

    I sometimes had issues with the book’s editing. The book is 46 hours (~900 pages) in length. I do not hesitate to take on a tome of this length as long as I don’t encounter too much fluff. And, while I felt there was not an inordinate amount of triviality, there were episodes of detail about the personal lives of friends and relatives of Pug that I could have done without. That said, this was still a “driveway” book; a book I would sit in my driveway upon returning home after my drive from work and continue listening to because it was just that captivating. Not to be misunderstood, I believe that the relating of the lives of Pug’s family and friends were essential to the book. It made the historical events personal, not just cold hard facts. I did feel, however, that the emotions of his immediate family were sometimes rather cavalier with respect to war in general. But they were what they were.

    IMHO, the book is a masterpiece. The three E’s are all there contained within its covers. The book is educational, enlightening and entertaining. The text is peppered with excerpts from a fictional dissertation by a German General Armin von Roon. I found his [Nazi] German perspective on Hitler and the war to be particularly fascinating.

    Finally, the book is made even better by the superlative narration and performance of Kevin Pariseau. I do not believe a book has ever been better performed. I would recommend this book to everyone.

  • The Persimmon Tree

    "Not for everyone."

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    This is another one of those times when I agree with both the positive and negative reviews of a book. With a greater than 4 star rating, clearly the positive ones outnumber the negative. However, I always try to read the lower scoring reviews of any book I’m interested in to glean something valuable possibly missed by the popular audience. If you have not read it and are interested in this book you already enter with a preconception that you will probably enjoy reading it. I suggest that you read the negative reviews.

    I have read many of Bryce Courtney’s books. With the talented Humphrey Bower reading/performing any book it is hard to go wrong especially when he teams up with this author. But I think this particular book was not either’s best effort. What is surprising to me is that The Persimmon Tree is not one of the author’s earlier books written at a time (2007) when perhaps his writing skills were less finely honed.

    While I don’t agree with many of the negative reviews for their stated reasons, personally, I think the writing itself of this book is at best only mediocre. I’ll almost always bump up a book’s rating because of good writing even if I’m not crazy about the story/plot itself. This lacked both of what we find in Courtney’s earlier works.

    Bottom line, while the book is not for everyone, particularly if you are offended by some of the S&M sexual content (I was not), many will probably enjoy it. I cannot say this book was bad nor can I say it was good. I can say that it is not of the calibre of Four Fires. It’s at best only 3 stars for me.

  • The Good Earth

    "Reread and comment as an adult."

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    The good earth was published in 1931, awarded the Pulitzer Prize in 1932 and probably contributed to the author winning the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1938. While it can be considered a stand-alone work with its satisfying conclusion, it is the first installment in a trilogy. Set in post-imperial, pre-WWII China, it helped foment poor relations with Japan going into that war.

    The book is primarily about the rise and fall of one Wang Lung, his family and fortune. The protagonist begins the book as a hard working farmer who later becomes a rather successful business man as he accumulates more and more land (hence, the good earth theme). Wang Lung loves the land above all other things. That love comes with a price, as all farmers know, in the form of adverse weather, drought and famine. The value that Lung puts on the land in the face of starvation, death and despair represents perhaps the central theme of the book.

    I read this book as a youngster when the view and position of China in the world was a great deal different than it is today. I read a review of the book just prior to this reading which blasted the book for its collection of racist stereotypes. On this, Andrew Nathan in Foreign Affairs writes that in his view, Buck delves deeply into the lives of the Chinese poor and opposed "religious fundamentalism, racial prejudice, gender oppression, sexual repression, and discrimination against the disabled." I don’t think that we can criticize a book for telling a story about that way things once were and that seems to be the focus of much of the criticism. Further, I think that the book speaks more to who we are as human beings than the Chinese as a race. Apparently the whole notion of race in China is a new one. Chinese intellectuals translated “race” as “zhong zu” (种族) a combination of the word for “seed” (种 or zhong) and an old Chinese term (族 or zu) used to describe the lineage of patrilineal extended families. What a coincidence that is: a book about the earth where seeds are placed and the male-centric families that tend them. Does that make the book racist? Me thinks not.

    Now about that rating. For a book that brought its author the Pulitzer and Nobel Prizes, it’s hard not to give the book top ratings. Would not less than the highest rating say more about the reviewer than the book? But sometimes we must be bold. Many of us read this book as YAs and, especially because of its simplicity, it fits that billet well. As an adult, however, I look for more layers, depth and complexity in my reads. Not that simple isn’t good. For me too, simple can put a book over the top. This was just not one of them.

connie

connie Sydney, Nova Scotia, Canada 06-12-09 Member Since 2007

trying to see the world with my ears

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  • "not run-of-the mill chick lit"

    44 of 44 helpful votes

    This is a delightful mixture of light Austen-like comedy of manners with a dash of P.G. Wodehouse mania. There is no bodice ripping, violence, or sex (but no gritty social realism or insight either,of course) -- just "happily ever after" written (and read) well enough for the listener to suspend disbelief.

    Heyer's books have stood the test of time, while I don't think most chick lit will. If you are in need of distraction, may Heyer be as pleasant a discovery to you as she was to me. I think if you are new to this author (I am a relative newcomer but have zoomed though five novels in the last stress-filled month), then I think either "Frederica" or "Cotilion" is worth a chance download. (But warning, this stuff can be addictive -- when tired or tested, I keep thinking that I will download "just one more...")

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    Frederica

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    Rich and handsome, the hope of ambitious mothers and despair of his sisters, the Marquis of Alverstoke sees no reason to put himself out for anyone. But when a distant connection applies to him for help, he finds himself far from bored.

    connie says: "not run-of-the mill chick lit"

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    Jan says: "What a great surprise!"
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  • A Breath of Snow and Ashes (






UNABRIDGED) by Diana Gabaldon Narrated by Davina Porter

    A Breath of Snow and Ashes

    • UNABRIDGED (57 hrs and 46 mins)
    • By Diana Gabaldon
    • Narrated By Davina Porter
    Overall
    (3705)
    Performance
    (3217)
    Story
    (3198)

    A Breath of Snow and Ashes continues the saga of 18th-century Scotsman Jamie Fraser and his 20th-century, time-traveling wife, Claire. The year is 1772, and the rift between Britain and its American colonies has put a frightening word into the minds of all concerned: revolution. In the backwoods of North Carolina, violence has already reared its ugly head, as cabins have been burned to the ground. To preserve the colony for King George III, the governor pleads with Jamie to bring the people together and restore peace. But Jamie has the burden of knowing that war cannot be avoided.

    jerry says: "Unabridged!"
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  • The Signature of All Things: A Novel (






UNABRIDGED) by Elizabeth Gilbert Narrated by Juliet Stevenson

    The Signature of All Things: A Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (21 hrs and 44 mins)
    • By Elizabeth Gilbert
    • Narrated By Juliet Stevenson
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (921)
    Performance
    (843)
    Story
    (850)

    In The Signature of All Things, Elizabeth Gilbert returns to fiction, inserting her inimitable voice into an enthralling story of love, adventure and discovery. Spanning much of the 18th and 19th centuries, the novel follows the fortunes of the extraordinary Whittaker family as led by the enterprising Henry Whittaker - a poor-born Englishman who makes a great fortune in the South American quinine trade, eventually becoming the richest man in Philadelphia.

    Dina says: "An Educational and Epic Oddity"
  • The Space Between: An Outlander Novella (






UNABRIDGED) by Diana Gabaldon Narrated by Davina Porter

    The Space Between: An Outlander Novella

    • UNABRIDGED (4 hrs and 13 mins)
    • By Diana Gabaldon
    • Narrated By Davina Porter
    Overall
    (174)
    Performance
    (164)
    Story
    (165)

    Joan MacKimmie is on her way to Paris to take up her vocation as a nun. Yet her decision is less a matter of faith than fear, for Joan is plagued by mysterious voices that speak of the future, and by visions that mark those about to die. The sanctuary of the nunnery promises respite from these unwanted visitations...or so she prays. Her chaperone is Michael Murray, a young widower who, though he still mourns the death of his wife, finds himself powerfully drawn to his charge.

    Kathy says: "A Delight!"
  • The Pillars of the Earth (






UNABRIDGED) by Ken Follett Narrated by John Lee

    The Pillars of the Earth

    • UNABRIDGED (40 hrs and 54 mins)
    • By Ken Follett
    • Narrated By John Lee
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (12476)
    Performance
    (4868)
    Story
    (4904)

    Why we think it’s a great listen: Got 40 hours to kill? You’ll find the time when you start listening to Lee’s take on Follett’s epic – and widely celebrated – novel of 12th-century England. The Pillars of the Earth tells the story of Philip, prior of Kingsbridge, a devout and resourceful monk driven to build the greatest Gothic cathedral the world has known...of Tom, the mason who becomes his architect - a man divided in his soul...and of the beautiful, elusive Lady Aliena, haunted by a secret shame....

    Joseph says: "Good historical setting, but loose story."
  • The Golem and the Jinni: A Novel (






UNABRIDGED) by Helene Wecker Narrated by George Guidall

    The Golem and the Jinni: A Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (19 hrs and 43 mins)
    • By Helene Wecker
    • Narrated By George Guidall
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (2325)
    Performance
    (2147)
    Story
    (2148)

    Helene Wecker's dazzling debut novel tells the story of two supernatural creatures who appear mysteriously in 1899 New York. Chava is a golem, a creature made of clay, brought to life by a strange man who dabbles in dark Kabbalistic magic. When her master dies at sea on the voyage from Poland, she is unmoored and adrift as the ship arrives in New York Harbor. Ahmad is a jinni, a being of fire, born in the ancient Syrian Desert. Trapped in an old copper flask by a Bedouin wizard centuries ago, he is released accidentally by a tinsmith in a Lower Manhattan shop.

    Tango says: "Enchanting Debut Novel - Delicious!"
  • And the Land Lay Still (






UNABRIDGED) by James Robertson Narrated by Jonathan Hackett

    And the Land Lay Still

    • UNABRIDGED (33 hrs and 25 mins)
    • By James Robertson
    • Narrated By Jonathan Hackett
    Overall
    (0)
    Performance
    (0)
    Story
    (0)

    And the Land Lay Still is the sweeping Scottish epic by James Robertson. And the Land Lay Still is nothing less than the story of a nation. James Robertson's breathtaking novel is a portrait of modern Scotland as seen through the eyes of natives and immigrants, journalists and politicians, drop-outs and spooks, all trying to make their way through a country in the throes of great and rapid change. It is a moving, sweeping story of family, friendship, struggle and hope - epic in every sense.

  • Der Russe aus Nizza [The Russian from Nice] (






UNABRIDGED) by Leif Davidsen Narrated by Samy Andersen

    Der Russe aus Nizza [The Russian from Nice]

    • UNABRIDGED (13 hrs and 32 mins)
    • By Leif Davidsen
    • Narrated By Samy Andersen
    Overall
    (0)
    Performance
    (0)
    Story
    (0)

    Marcus Hoffmann, ein erfolgreicher Geschäftsmann aus Dänemark, hat sein Leben im Griff. Zumindest, bis ihn seine Frau zu einer Reise in ihre russische Heimat überredet. Die Kreuzfahrt auf der Wolga beginnt vielversprechend, doch zwischen Moskau und St. Petersburg verschwindet Nathalie und kehrt nicht wieder. Marcus macht sich auf die Suche nach der Verschollenen, in einem Land, dessen Sprache er nicht versteht und das unterwandert ist von der Mafia und gezeichnet vom Krieg in Tschetschenien.

  • Vixen (






UNABRIDGED) by Rosie Garland Narrated by James Lailey and Alex Tregear

    Vixen

    • UNABRIDGED (13 hrs and 7 mins)
    • By Rosie Garland
    • Narrated By James Lailey and Alex Tregear
    Overall
    (0)
    Performance
    (0)
    Story
    (0)

    Devon, 1349: In Brauntone, where seagulls screech across the fields and the wind has a mind to change, Father Thomas arrives as the new priest. Determined to impress his congregation, he quells fears of the coming pestilence with promises of protection. For Anne, the priest's arrival is an opportunity that at 16, she feels all too ready for. Convinced a grand fate awaits, she moves in as Thomas' housekeeper, though hopeful of something more. But his home is a place without love or kindness.

  • Tree Soldier (






UNABRIDGED) by J.L. Oakley Narrated by Jim Mentink

    Tree Soldier

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 28 mins)
    • By J.L. Oakley
    • Narrated By Jim Mentink
    Overall
    (0)
    Performance
    (0)
    Story
    (0)

    A government forestry camp set deep in the mountainous forests of the Pacific Northwest might not seem the likely place to find redemption, but in 1935, Park Hardesty hopes for just that. Blaming himself for the fiery accident that caused his brother's disfigurement and the death of the bootlegging woman he loved, planting trees, building bridges, and mentoring tough, homesick New Jersey boys brings him both penitence and the renewal of his own self-worth.

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  • Private Peaceful: A BBC Radio Drama  by Michael Morpurgo Narrated by Paul Chequer, Michael Morpurgo, Full Cast

    Private Peaceful: A BBC Radio Drama

    • ORIGINAL (1 hr and 27 mins)
    • By Michael Morpurgo
    • Narrated By Paul Chequer, Michael Morpurgo, Full Cast
    Overall
    (0)
    Performance
    (0)
    Story
    (0)

    This is the story of Thomas "Tommo" Peaceful, a young soldier who finds himself in Belgium, in the trenches of the First World War, with his brother Charlie. It is also the story of Tommo’s life, growing up in Devon with his brothers, and of his love for Molly, the beautiful girl he met on his first day at school. As the story unfolds, from past to present, so approaches the hour when Tommo and Charlie will be separated forever.

  • All Quiet on the Western Front: A BBC Radio Drama  by Erich Maria Remarque Narrated by Robert Lonsdale, Simon Trinder, Full Cast

    All Quiet on the Western Front: A BBC Radio Drama

    • ORIGINAL (1 hr and 28 mins)
    • By Erich Maria Remarque
    • Narrated By Robert Lonsdale, Simon Trinder, Full Cast
    Overall
    (0)
    Performance
    (0)
    Story
    (0)

    First published as a novel in 1929, All Quiet on the Western Front tells the story of a group of young German soldiers who are enduring, and then coming to terms with, the realities of the First World War. At the age of 19, following the outbreak of the First World War, Paul Bäumer enlists in the German Army. He is deployed to the Western Front, where the experience of life and death in the trenches has an enormous effect on him.

  • Über das Wasser [About the Water] (






UNABRIDGED) by H. M. van den Brink Narrated by Sebastian Dunkelberg

    Über das Wasser [About the Water]

    • UNABRIDGED (4 hrs and 52 mins)
    • By H. M. van den Brink
    • Narrated By Sebastian Dunkelberg
    Overall
    (0)
    Performance
    (0)
    Story
    (0)

    Wenn David und Anton, zwei Jungen aus ganz unterschiedlichen Stadtvierteln, in perfekter Harmonie über den Fluss gleiten, sind sie wenigstens zwei Sommer lang zu einer idealen Einheit verschmolzen. Anton hatte sich mit seinem jüdischen Freund David im Zweier auf die Olympischen Spiele vorbereitet, bevor die politischen Veränderungen alle Pläne vernichteten.