I have enjoyed reading other Roberta Gellis novels; she researches the time and period well, puts in a great many details to make the story come alive. One gets attatched to Gellis characters. Nadia May reads well and adds further dimension to the story. My hope is that more Roberta Gellis books are added to the audible library and that Nadia May is available to narrate them.
I ignore genre labels. Some of my favorite books are outside my genre comfort zone. Listening to audiobooks is still reading. Not theater.
This book was not exactly a fun read. But the author did such an amazing job of introducing the reader to a specific place and time that it was fascinating. And she told it not from the perspective of a celebrity of the time - a king, a duchess or a famous knight, but from the perspective of one of the least discussed types of person who existed at that time - a prostitute. It was a time when a prostitute evidently had a more institutional, integral and accepted role in society so she was a perfect observer, but wasn't really part of the history that was being made all around her.
The mystery itself was secondary to the characters and the plot was at its best when it was introducing or explaining one of the characters or a specific event that we know as History, but was just a part of any given day then.
Ms. May's narration is often too tremulous and old-fashioned for me. But I thought she did a wonderful job, especially as Magdalene.
medieval england is alive with intrigue, emotion and the not so everyday trials and tribulations of life in a whorehouse. it's easy to find a kinship with these characters whose lives are so distant in time, but similar in the need to survive.
Books are better than TV -- Except for Outlander. That rocks!
Roberta Gellis has written four wonderful mysteries set in medieval London. They all revolve around a very unique whore house and the woman who runs it.
Magdalene La Batard, the owner of the whore house, is an educated lady. Once married to a jealous and abusive husband, she flees when he is murdered, fearing to be blamed. Alone in a world where women are nothing more than chattel, Magdalene is determined not to be hung for the murder, or at best, to be forced to marry another man. Instead she uses her body, beauty and brains to make her own fortune and to be her own mistress.
But this is not a novel about a whore house. It's about an intelligent and courageous woman who is respected by the men and women in her life. She is involved in the life of a medieval town, and she is also engaged with men of power during that period.
With the help of a wealthy and powerful protector, she establishes her business in a former convent adjacent to a priory, where her women cater to the wealthy men of the city. Her customers pay a high price for the unique and special services her house provides.
I love all 3 of the books as read by Nadia May. Unfortunately, the 4th book, Chains of Folly, is narrated by Susan Duerdan and she really ruins it. It isn't available on Kindle or in paperback yet, but you can find it at the public library.
I love listening to anything narrated by Nadia May. She is one of the best. I enjoyed the book and characters. I would have given it four stars except for a huge plot hole related to the murder that occurs near the beginning of the book. A papal messenger is murdered after visiting the "guest house" and the women of the house work to cover up the fact he had done more than just ask for directions. Yet when his horse, which is in their shed, and his saddle bags are searched, it never occurs to them that someone must be aware of how the messenger spent his evening, because someone knew about the horse. This nagged at me the entire book and I felt it was never adequately addressed in the resolution. A big DUH moment for me.
This was only so-so. The premise was good, but the characters were a bit formulaic and the main character could have been MUCH more interesting than she was! She lacked any strong emotions or convictions from what I could tell, no matter what she tried to express.The mystery was good tho, although I doubt I'll rush to follow up in a second book.
Very interesting premise. Unfortunately, the author overuses phrases...if I hear the word "whore" one more time, I think I'll scream. >.<
I have enjoyed everything by Roberta Gellis and this book is no exception. It's great for both history and mystery lovers. Nadia May is,as always, an excellent narrator.