This is an engaging and quite well written book, tho in parts a bit sub-Dickens, with descriptions of "mudlarks" (scavengers from the river Thames)and other characters almost directly lifted from Dickens. Unfortunately the Australian reader has only two accents: Australian and Irish. So all regional English accents (eg Cornwall and Northern England which both have very distinctive accents), are rendered in a brogue: like portraying a southern belle with a Bronx accent. Apart from this annoyance, she reads well, however. If you don't know how the characters ought to sound, this might not bother you.
This started out as one of those books that would put me to sleep. It seemed like nothing was ever going to happen. After starting and stopping a few times I went to read the reviews and see what folks had to say. What I found was that the book does, indeed, pick up at some point. So I decided to stick it out, and I'm glad I did! While the story's current time is 2005, the flashbacks to 1905-1913 and 1975 make you forget that these characters are are gone. The author does a great job at breathing life into them as their descendant in 2005 uncovers their story. Because these events have already happened, there is a pervasive sense of futility against a larger power, an inevitable sense of fate -- no matter how much it is struggled against. It's like watching a historically-based film where you forget how it ends because you've fallen in love with the characters. I especially liked how Fairy Tales were worked into the story and how they were developed by the Authoress and their relevance in her life. I didn't really understand or appreciate it until about half way through, but when I finally caught on... wow! Great! I also really enjoyed the way the storyline developed -- the interplay between past and present. Whenever you got an inkling for the truth, the timeline would shift and it would play out in front of you. Great story!! Definitely worth trudging through those first couple of hours! Thank you Kate!
I bought this book because it was long, a bargain price, and had lots of good reviews. I didn't expect to enjoy it as much as I did. I really like multi-generational stories, and this one had a lot of interesting facets. The characters were well-developed and likable. The narrator's voice was lovely and she did a great job distinguishing characters. Overall very worthwhile. As a young girl I loved "The Secret Garden"; this was sort of a Secret Garden for grown-ups.
I LOVED this audio book. The reading was first rate, and the story was captivating. It drew me in slowly but then took off to the point that I couldn't leave it even when I had other things to do!
Do we really need all the music interludes between chapters!?! Distracting at best... Caroline Lee is a fine reader and her skills do not require artificial music breaks.
Albeit an enjoyable listen with a fine tip of the hat to The Secret Garden, the book dragged a bit at the end. The plot twists and mysteries were not so complex that the last 4 hours listening time could have been condensed into 2 hours.
Story line too slow for me, maybe later. Narration accent too hard to listen to when the story could not pull me in. Maybe I will try again later.
I just loved this book! It was a bit hard at first to keep the characters straight until I realized the dates stated at the beginning of a change helped keep it straight. Otherwise, a great story and great narrator. I wish Audible had more than 2 of her books available. My new favorite.
Wonderful narration almost redeems this much-too-long melodrama. It wasn't too hard to figure out where the plot was going, so there were no surprises.