I"m a audible addict. My eyes have gotten really bad so I really hadn't read much in the last 10 years until I discoverd books on CD and Audible. Now I'm a fiend. Other than audio books I enjoy my family, work and dabbling on the computer.
Slow start but gets better through the chapters. I understand the reasoning behind all of the ground work. The narrator is exceptional. She's got me interested in the characters around them now. Can't wait for more audio from Joanna Bourne.
From the hundreds of Audible titles I have downloaded, no title has entertained more in this genre. Joanna Bourne and Kirsten Potter are an incredibly magical duo offering excellence and originality in both writing and narration. I have listened to "The Spymaster's Lady" so many times that the characters seem like old friends. Unfortunately, only one of Ms. Bourne's books is offered by Audible even though her reviews and ratings exceed those of the formulaic authors regularly offered in abundance from the same genre.
I will definitely listen to this book again because the reader is excellent, the characters are very realistic and it's simply a great story.
I've read all Joanna Bourne's books and I love that the same characters show up in them, in addition to others who are equally interesting. The time period (Napoleonic) is fascinating, the relationships between men and women in the French and English secret services provides great fodder for these thriller/mystery/romances.
She did a fantastic job with Annique's accent, and did all the characters well, males and females.
No, I wanted to prolong the pleasure!
I very much hope Kirsten Potter can narrate the other books in this wonderful, unique series. She is masterful.
This is one of my favourite novels, which is why this critique may sound too critical, but the standard in my mental reading is quite high.
Kirsten Potter delivers a fairly good reading of a truly brilliant novel. I don't mean to damn with faint praise, because the demands placed upon her were extremely difficult. The variety of accents and dialects required (French -- and, trickier yet, English spoken as if French were really being spoken, aristocratic British, Cockney, German [or rather, English spoken as if German were spoken], Somerset county, etc.) for both men and women of different ages is extensive.
Most of the British dialect was American-sounding to my ear, and the French accent was simply not correct (Annique's pronounciation of "Robert" -- which was called out *in the text* as starting and ending with a long R drove me mad.). Consequently, I *never* believed Annique was French, which is a huge point in the novel.
Nonetheless, this is a simply fantastic novel -- and if the narration isn't perfect, it's still an extremely enjoyable audiobook.
The quality of the reader made this good historical romance story great. A very enjoyable time, even though I had read the book myself.
The story line was unexpected. It was something you have not heard before. The narrator was also very good. She handled the different characters very well. The only thing that I could wish for is a sequel. The Hawker needs his story told.
I read the book when it first came out and loved it. Joanna Bourne is a very gifted writer and prose-master. But the thing that makes this book such a delight to listen to is the narration. Kirsten Potter does a fabulous job with the French names and prose. She has done justice to this outstanding work of fiction.
Compelling characters (nearly Dickensesque is some cases), rich historical details, WONDERFUL narrator, excellent plot. This book is a winner. I want more by this author!!
I didn't realize this was a romance novel, or I wouldn't have bought it, but I'm so glad I did. I haven't read romance novels since I was a teenager, but this one is at the top of the genre. It still has the requisite elements of the romance novel, however, the heroine is clever, witty, and anything but weak and helpless. There is lots of humor, lots of action and suspense, and less predictability than the usual romance. The narration is fabulous as well. Pure entertainment!
I have NEVER felt a need to write a review for any book...until now. I cannot believe how engrossing, inventive, perfectly paced this novel is. I've read many other authors' works and enjoyed them but this is the first time a romance novel has so thoroughly impressed me. Other works seem so trite by comparison, with the usual he-loves-me-he-loves-me-not, ending in torrid sex romps. Here, the characters, the plots, the twists and turns, the witty dialog, the understated yet powerful love scenes, all blend together in a beautiful, vital background of political intrigue. The narration was the only thing I could fault, when the characters' voice were not quite right from one scene to the next, but that was easy to overlook, considering the excellent writing and the fact that the narrator did a great job with the female voices didn't botch the male voices by overacting but somehow let my imagination add the right level of maleness needed. I look forward to other works by Bourne and Potter!