USA, Listener Since 2005
I need to start out by saying that I was unsure that I would like this book. Further, based on reviews I read over at amazon I was wary about giving it a try. It sat in my wish list for quite a while before I finally took the plunge. What a jump into the deep end it was! Gruesome, fascinating, terrifying and enthralling are words that come to mind. The mystery is just a part of this amazing tale of life in Victorian England, the US during the Civil War, the relationship between the two countries, and yes the business of Undertaking. The book leans heavily on true events and in the author's notes at the end of the book she discusses liberties she took with actual events in her writing of the story.
Be aware that every detail is drawn out and examined in great depth. There were so many facts and back stories that it was almost overwhelming at times. At hour eleven I was willing the author to get to the point and even thought of giving up. But by then I was so wrapped up in it all that I just had to finish the book. And finish it I did!
Polly Lee did a wonderful job with the narration. Her voice was stilted and difficult to adjust to a first but she added depth to the story telling and I enjoyed her reading once I got over the initial surprise.
As to some of the reviews that concerned me over on amazon--I'm not sure those kind folks actually read/finished the book. Their comments were puzzling in hind sight. This recording even has the first 30 minutes of book 2 in the series after the author's comments at the end of the book. So, you can jump right into the next installment--though I might need to take a breath for a bit.
Not your ordinary mystery story. Not for the faint hearted. A bit gruesome. No plot spoilers allowed-- but if you would like to try something totally different and completely enthralling this might be for you. I loved it in the end! Wouldn't have missed a word of it!
Well if you ever sit back and think about the good old days of the past with the simpler life think again. This book depicts just how hard it was farming and keeping house in Oklahoma in 1912. Dawn to dusk chores and oh my the cooking for these very large families! Alafair is a smart hard-working good neighbor who keeps her family on track and solves crimes on the side. Fascinating look at life in rural Oklahoma-mules and wagons as transportation--and dinners that include 3-4 pies! Recipes are included at the end of the book. An interesting first book of a series which I enjoyed.
Overall a beautifully written story about Ireland and Irish history. This is a book that entwines mysteries from both past and present which in the end fit together fairly well. It uses archeology, forensics, history and local lore together nicely.
However, I can understand the negative reviews that others have written. To me this was related to the lack of a clear voice telling the story. Instead the book was written from a variety of perspectives and this slowed the flow of the story and made the book seem scattered. The disjointed threads at times did not fit together making it difficult to follow a clear path. This wasn't because there was too much information, but instead because there were a few spots where things became implausible. To me, these unbelievable parts distracted from what was an engaging interweaving of past and present in the story.
Recommended if you don't mind a slower story and are able to overlook a few far fetched bits.