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Historical

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karen

karen United States Member Since 2004
HELPFUL VOTES
920
ratings
REVIEWS
171
143
FOLLOWERS
FOLLOWING
187
0
  • "Excellent book!"

    Overall

    I'd never heard of the author or 'Maisie Dobbs' before, but since the locale and time period are of interest, I decided to take a chance.

    Lucky decision.

    There's so much of value in this book, all in addition to the perfectly acceptable plot and complex, well-formed characters.

    Maisie Dobbs is one of the newly-independent women in England, forced to become so because so many millions of men were killed or damaged during the Great War, they had no alternative to supporting themselves. She becomes an inquiry agent -- and this is one of her cases. She's also a psychologist, and througout the book, her psychological insights help her find the answers she was hired to find.

    If you like 'period' mysteries -- Anne Perry, Charles Todd, Victoria Thompson, Michael Cox -- you'll like this series.

    I like the detection alpects of these books, of course I do. But beyond that, it's all the tidbits of information the author includes -- how people lived, dressed, spoke, thought and interacted -- that adds to the charm.

    A bunus in the audio version is a half-hour interview with the author, who tells how hard she works to keep the books technically accurate. Of particular interest were her comments about how words bounce back and forth between the continents, coming into vogue here or there, at various times throughout the centuries. For example, the word "smog" was in use in 1904 London -- we just think it's a modern term.

    I'm looking for more "Maisie Dobbs" books -- and hope they're all narrated by Orlagh Cassidy, who gave a marvelous performance. I was sorry to see the book end.

    "Messenger of Truth" is a fine book in every sense. You won't be disappointed.

    More

    Messenger of Truth: A Maisie Dobbs Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 12 mins)
    • By Jacqueline Winspear
    • Narrated By Orlagh Cassidy
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (518)
    Performance
    (308)
    Story
    (308)

    London, 1931. The night before an exhibition of his artwork opens at a famed Mayfair gallery, the controversial artist Nick Bassington-Hope falls to his death. The police rule it an accident, but Nick's twin sister, Georgina, isn't so sure. For help with this case, Georgina seeks out Maisie Dobbs, psychologist and investigator.

    karen says: "Excellent book!"
  • "What a strange book..."

    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Can't quite get my mind around this one yet. I have few doubts that book clubs, having picked this book, will spend many hours debating what it all really means.

    The plot swings from one extreme to another -- at points, it's almost too harsh to bear. A young suicide victim is refused burial in the "regular" part of the cemetery, shunted off, instead, to the section for the damned, those hopelessly beyond salvation. And then there's the 'prairie raw', parts, where the bleak and bitter nature of farm life is laid on with a trowel. For me, the dead animal quotient came perilously close to being too high. Time after time, I was within a hair of signing off, finding something a little easier to listen to.

    But I didn't turn it off -- which says something else about this book.

    It has its delightful moments too, some of them hilarious. This is a German Lutheran town -- seriously judgemental and harsh in its own right, in terms of how 'newcomers' are treated, in terms of what's done and what's not done. In that sense, Clara is a fish out of water. As a pastor's wife, certain standards of conduct are imposed upon her, and she is expected to comply. But she seems blithely unaware, or better yet, doesn't much care. One absolutely hilarious scene has her showing up, seriously pregnant, at a women's circle meeting in shorts, an incident that will no doubt be recounted with titillation and delighted horror for the next hundred years or so. That vignette is wonderful, exceptionally well written and insightful. I wish there'd been more scenes like that.

    The narrator? Once again, this one didn't do her homework. I don't understand why professional narrators don't check for the correct pronunciation of local place names. In this one, Hillary Huber, who otherwise does a good job, repeatedly renders the Minnesota town of "Mankato" as man-KHAAT-o, whereas any real prairie kid will know it's man-KAY-o. Stupid error -- would only have taken a moment to check, and instead, it renders her as less than professional.

    Would I recommend "Little Wolves"? Maybe. Sort of. I guess. I'm glad I listened, and I know parts of it will stick in my mind for a long time. Other parts are sufficiently disturbing I can't forget them soon enough. If you like prairie stories, with all that entails, you might find it as intriguing as I did.

    More

    Little Wolves: A Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 24 mins)
    • By Thomas Maltman
    • Narrated By Hillary Huber
    Overall
    (19)
    Performance
    (16)
    Story
    (17)

    Set on the Minnesota prairies in 1987, during a drought season that is fostering the demise of the family farms, the story features two intertwining narrators: a father searching for answers after his son commits a heinous murder, and a pastor's wife who has returned to the town for mysterious reasons of her own. A penetrating look at small-town America, reminiscent of Russell Banks' Sweet Hereafter or Affliction, driven by a powerful murder mystery, Little Wolves is a literary triumph.

    karen says: "What a strange book..."
  • "Fabulous -- and a puzzler"

    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Quite possibly one of the best short stories ever written. An amazing little tale, lots of authentic details, unparalleled suspense, an ending... well, no spoilers here. Scott Brick's narration is perfect.

    I listened to it, was so taken by the story I wanted to send a print copy to an elderly friend who only reads paper books, not audio or electronic. Surprisingly, the book is not available. In fact, it's not available as an audiobook from Audible right now, either.

    Not sure what's going on, but I will continue to look for a paper copy -- if you haven't read/heard this one yet, you've missed something. Hope it will be available again soon.

    More

    Rendezvous

    • UNABRIDGED (1 hr and 2 mins)
    • By Nelson DeMille
    • Narrated By Scott Brick
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (268)
    Performance
    (232)
    Story
    (235)

    In this tense, riveting mind game, New York Times bestselling novelist Nelson DeMille delivers a suspenseful short story in the tradition of his classic military novels The General's Daughter and Word of Honor. A band of soldiers in its last month of service in Vietnam goes out on a patrol through enemy territory with a female sniper in its path. Recounting the mission in shattering and sometimes gruesome detail, DeMille creates a concise masterpiece of moody suspense.

    karen says: "Fabulous -- and a puzzler"
  1. Messenger of Truth: A Mai...
  2. Little Wolves: A Novel
  3. Rendezvous
  4. .

Katherine

Katherine Georgetown, Ontario, Canada 10-22-12 Member Since 2011
HELPFUL VOTES
103
ratings
REVIEWS
125
123
FOLLOWERS
FOLLOWING
8
6
  • "Lovely"

    16 of 16 helpful votes

    I didn't actually like the Jacqueline Winspear books, although I wanted to, but I did like this one. I've started the second in this series and it's even better. In this first book, I think the writing was a bit 'loose', if that makes sense. I mean that sometimes people seemed to talk too long about a topic, but overall I liked it very much. It really is, as someone said, a cozy spy book, which I think is a new genre. There was a lot more plot than I expected, with some real surprises and the heroine is definitely the 'heroine', meaning a bit larger than life. It's many decades since I read Nancy Drew, but I remember admiring her as a young girl and this heroine is worth looking up to as well, as she solves problems that don't tend to happen in everyday life.

    One always associates the "Keep Calm and Carry On" motto to the British and the 'stiff upper lip", but I had never really connected it to wartime, Winston Churchill, and that resolute attitude he helped the Brits maintain, before it was known that Hitler was not going to be able to steamroll over Britain as well. I find it a more inspiring quote now, plus we learned a variation: KPO for Keep Plodding On and another variation in Book 2. Good for some days at work! Also, helps one to remember every day to be grateful for NOT being in a war zone.

    More

    Mr. Churchill's Secretary: A Maggie Hope Novel, Book 1

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 48 mins)
    • By Susan Elia MacNeal
    • Narrated By Wanda McCaddon
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (728)
    Performance
    (639)
    Story
    (638)

    London, 1940: Winston Churchill has just been sworn in, war rages across the Channel, and the threat of a Blitz looms larger by the day. But none of this deters Maggie Hope. She graduated at the top of her college class and possesses all the skills of the finest minds in British intelligence, but her gender qualifies her only to be the newest typist at No. 10 Downing Street. Her indefatigable spirit and gifts for codebreaking, though, rival those of even the highest men in government, and Maggie finds that working for the prime minister affords her a level of clearance she could never have imagined....

    Katherine says: "Lovely"

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    Overall
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    Story
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    Jane screeched at this further betrayal and went for Henry. They began to struggle. Henry was the stronger out of the two, yet the woman's pain was unstoppable. His hands wrapped around her throat and Jane clawed at his face until she fell. She lay there, across the tracks, and was quite still. Mrs. Cavell gasped in shock and Henry ran past us back to the train. We stared down at Jane's body.

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    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 17 mins)
    • By Max Byrd
    • Narrated By Dennis Holland
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    Paris, 1926. Newspaper reporter Toby Keats, a veteran of the Great War and the only American in Paris who doesn't know Hemingway, has lived a quiet life - until one day he comes into possession of a rare eighteenth-century automate, a very strange and somewhat scandalous mechanical duck. Highly sought after by an enigmatic American banker, European criminals, and the charming young American Elsie Short, the duck is rumored to hold the key to opening a new frontier in weapons technology for the German army, now beginning to threaten Europe once more.

  • The Vanishing Witch (






UNABRIDGED) by Karen Maitland Narrated by Jonathan Keeble

    The Vanishing Witch

    • UNABRIDGED (17 hrs and 16 mins)
    • By Karen Maitland
    • Narrated By Jonathan Keeble
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    The reign of Richard II is troubled, the poor are about to become poorer still and landowners are lining their pockets. It's a case of every man for himself, whatever his status or wealth. But in a world where nothing can be taken at face value, who can you trust? The dour wool merchant? His impulsive son? The stepdaughter with the hypnotic eyes? Or the raven-haired widow clutching her necklace of bloodstones? And when people start dying unnatural deaths and the peasants decide it's time to fight back, it's all too easy to spy witchcraft at every turn.

  • The Reckoning: John Madden, Book 4 (






UNABRIDGED) by Rennie Airth Narrated by Robert Ian Mackenzie

    The Reckoning: John Madden, Book 4

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 19 mins)
    • By Rennie Airth
    • Narrated By Robert Ian Mackenzie
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    Inspector John Madden - who debuted in River of Darkness - returns in a gripping post-World War II murder mystery. On a quiet afternoon in 1947, retired bank manager Oswald Gibson is shot in the head while fishing. In Scotland, a respectable family doctor is killed in the same manner - and with the same gun. What is the connection? Scotland Yard’s Detective Inspector Billy Styles and local detective Vic Chivers are baffled until a letter from Gibson is discovered that might shed some light on the case....