This was an interesting period piece; England before the Great War (WWI); manor houses and housemaids; Grace goes to work at the big house when she's 14. She goes from poverty to posh; even though she works hard. She is nearly 100 and is looking back at her life; and, in the meantime, there is a movie being made of the events at the house. You get a very nice flavor of the first part of the century and the changes made by the war. but its like a fancy box with a cracker jack ring inside; the guts did not measure up to the packaging, in my opinion. the narrator is very good; has a nice way to make different voices different. there are no bad words, although there are love affairs. Not really a book for children, anyway; although teenagers might like it.
I was disappointed, as I really enjoyed her book, the Forgotten Garden -- could not put it down but did not want it to end -- and had hoped for another like that. Well, this wasn't it. But it was done well and you could get lost in the gothic drama of it all.
This one took a little longer to get into than her other book,The Forgotten Garden, but this is up there with some of my favorite listens. You don't know the answer to the mystery (completely) until the very last word. It is a well written and brilliantly crafted story, that proves that the smallest choices and minor ommissions create the most dramatic results. I thoroughly enjoyed this book. My only minor complaint is the narrator's inability to get an American accent right. Apparently we sound incredibly nasily and flat. : ) I just winced, ignored it, and went on listening. I'm ready to download another of Kate Morton's books. Don't miss this one if you love a good mystery.
I think the only emotion I did not feel in this story was scary. And that is Great!! This is absolutely an emotional story. You feel as if you are a spirit and seeing all of the events happen. Loved it!!
The unabridged version is very long, but all the details are interesting. The storyline and writing are incredible and I savored every word. At the end of the book, I started to cry with some sadness and a little joy. I only gave the book 4 stars because, althought I didn't guess the correct ending, what really happened wasn't worth the 11 hours I put into this book. But don't let that stop you from listening to it. I had a truly enjoyable journey back to the early 19th Century, and as a bonus, may have some ideas how I would like to conduct myself at the end of my life. AND the narrator was a talented delight.
A classic tale seemlessly shifting from the present to memories of the Edwardian period forward. The author's phrases and words fit beautifully the era and the bittersweet tale. And the reader is utterly convincing as the storyteller and main character. Hovering in the background is a mixture of longing and inevitability. Here is a story that is satisfying and complete in its telling.
I enjoyed this book, as it was long, and absorbing. However there were a couple of things that were a bit annoying. The narrators accent was more Australian than English at times and this was distracting. Also although there was quite a big build up to some of the "revelations", there was then very little follow up or exploration. I would probably scored this 3.5 had that been an option - it wasnt amazing, but i'm glad I downloaded it.
I thoroughly enjoyed this book and especially enjoyed the reader and her interpretation of the different characters. There were certainly enough interesting twists and turns and the author did an outstanding job of starting with the ending and making the reader hungry for every detail that it took to reach that ending. There is something in this book for everyone; romance, war, social change and unheaval, complex interpersonal relationships, secrets, mystery and lots of human interest. I'm hoping to see another book by this author on the audible list.
Did you know that this book is sad, tragic even? Because I sure didn't, so I just thought I would warn you. To be fair, I probably should have seen it coming, but I assumed that it would be more about the events after the suicide and how they changed Grace. Be warned, it is not.
As for the story, while it was really long (and some parts really dragged), it's very engrossing and almost addictive at times. But I hated the fact that it was so sad... so I have about 30 minutes left, and a minute away from the big reveal. However, I'm not going to listen to the end. Instead I'm just going to imagine my own ending. It's better that way...
I enjoy mysteries, NOT thrillers, contemporary fiction, especially about diverse cultures, and sometimes history, if it doesn't involve too many dates. I often listen to a book multiple times, discovering unnoticed details in the retelling.
The story was rambling and hard to make sense of.
In essence, I think the story line needed improvement; it seemed to drag on forever before anything came to conclusion.
a Cleo Coyle mystery
she does different voices very well and she gave the impression of being interested in an uninteresting tale!
it was fairly useful in inducing sleep!
I won't seek out other titles by this author
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This was a listening that didn't flow for me in the same way as Morton's The Forgotten Garden. I suppose I was feeling that the reader's voice didn't work with it quite as well -- young, girlish -- though it would be unrealistic to give her the voice of a 98 year old! But could there have been a better match? Furthermore, the narrator's voice had an accent that didn't belong to England, where it was set -- and although other reviewers have commented on Caroline Lee's Australian accent, Australian though she may be, accent (particularly her vowels) she is not.
It also took me a while to get involved in the story. But in the end, I was fully engaged and thinking about the many windows into the society of early twentieth century that this book was opening. What came over most strongly was what was the human requirements to be 'in service' to the rich -- the acceptance by both servants and masters of the concept of superior and inferior beings. And on the other hand, how profoundly these sort of myths were destroyed in the terrible mud of Flanders and other immense social changes.
This book puts a life, Grace's life, into words. The emotions, the fears, the hopes, the love, the boredom, the loss of self and so many other losses, the sacrifices -- in the end, words.