Not in love with the vocal performance on this one-- Archer affects a kind of breathy voice that, in conjunction with Rayburn's iffy plotting and worse dialogue, make Lady Julia seem like kind of a dimwit. I might like these better if they were plain romances-- as a mystery, they leave something to be desired. BUT you could do worse!
I enjoy all of these books. I have read and listened to them each, at least half a dozen times.
Good characters, interesting mysteries, and dynamic relationships.
Kept my interest from start to finish. I'm looking forward to the next one. Excellent narration. I will be looking for more of Ms Raybourn's work.
I am glad I decided to pick this one. The plot was very interesting and I could not guess who the murderer was. The narrator, Ellen Archer was very good. I will be following the series.
I had high hopes for this book for the first half of the story, but as more twists were revealed it became tiring. It's almost as if the author was trying to put forward modern age progressive thinking by setting the story in the past, making it unbelievable. The acceptance of so many things that were "unspeakable" by so many in the story in that timeframe makes this book more fantasy fiction than historical fiction. And the narrator was awful. Too many weird pauses, plus a monotone voice for the main character.
The story telling and the narration are highly addictive. From the description of the novel you may not be quite sure of what you are in for, but you will be pleasantly surprised by a wonderful blend of mystery and slight romance. The style is remancisant of Austen's "Northanger Abbey", but the skill level is just shy of Christi's "The Secret Adversary". The detail gives you clear visions of the scenes and the plot just quirky enough to hold your attention. While Ms. Raybourn's writing is a great deal of what keeps you on the edge of your seat, Ms. Archer's excellent narration is what will keep you listening. There are many stories that read well on the page, but when put to the ear are just dull because the narration is lacking. This is not the case with this book. Once introduced, you will instantly recognize the many characters throughout the telling, even before their name is spoken.
Again, you have been warned, this book will lead you down a path of pure listening pleasure and story addiction. If you are looking for something a bit cheeky and fun, set in a very different time, give it a whirl. Just remember, depending on the number of credits you have banked, the first story is free...if you become hooked, this could become a costly pleasure. (But it will be worth it!)
Read from July 16 to 30, 2014
Story: 2.5 stars
Narrator: 2 stars
This barely maintained my interest enough to keep me listening through to the end. Rather than being a true mystery novel, it's more of a "lifestyle of the rich and widowed in Victorian England" story, which is interrupted at the end by the climax of the minor plot of the murder mystery. I never grew to like Lady Julia---she's one step up from a typical Too Stupid to Live heroine. Anytime she's told: "DON'T DO THE THING," of course she has to immediately run out and do the thing. And because it's written in first-person, from her POV, I never grew to like Brisbane all that much, either, because I was so disconnected emotionally from her and from everything she did and thought.
So, at least I avoided getting sucked into yet another series.
The narrator, Ellen Archer, annoyed me with her fake British accent (repetitive mispronunciations and accent slippages made it VERY obvious) and pauses/breaks in odd places in the middle of sentences and paragraphs. I've heard samples of other books she does in a regular (generic American) accent, and she sounds much better--with a better rhythm--in those. (She also does commercial voiceovers, including a series for MetLife).
I'd actually purchased this audiobook back in 2008, before the audiobook boom, and before there was much information available about the narrators online. I might have enjoyed the book much more had it been narrated by Charlotte Parry, who did the other book of Raybourn's I've listened to twice and enjoyed both times: The Dead Travel Fast.
With a narrator that puts you right in the mix and charming characters this is an instant classic. I live returning again and again
.. Wonderful series..
read them all!
Deanna Raybourne's first several books in the series are quite entertaining in the vein of period mysteries with high-born characters solving crime. For those who romanticize the British peerage, this will be a fun read. But the story is done considerable violence by the truly execrable accent. It is not so much the pacing or the quality of Archer's' voice but rather her ridiculous rendition of the Queen's English let alone Scottish. Stilted at times, it sounds as though she has a speech impediment. Some of the pronunciations are just incorrect. She cannot hear the difference in 'a' sounds. For instance, there is a difference between cat and cart, bat and bar. She gets them horribly mixed up. She slips into what sounds like it might be American (tweny as opposed to twenty). On occasion it is so garbled, it is impossible to tell which English-speaking country the accent originates. And the terrible placement of emphasis on certain consonants--part-TING, slight-TEST.
If Ms. Archer had wanted to do a creditable job of it, she might have started with actually listening to someone who speaks English and emulating those words phonetically. As it is, this is grating and after a while, it's laughable. And the worst, for those who are used to hearing English, it is incredibly distracting.
If you're used to hearing Scottish accents, do yourself a favor and do not bother, you will be entirely disgusted.