As a fan on Julie Garwood's books, I'm always excited to see one available on audible.com. This story doesn't disappoint... lots of romance, twists and turns... a nice distraction. The performance by Susan Duerden, however, almost had me turning off the book and scrapping the whole thing. Her portrayal of a child's voice was cringe inducing, and the voice used for the heroine was like nails scraping on a chalkboard... on the rare occasions she spoke above a whisper. In her defense, the author seemed to write a lot of, "she whispered", so I guess the narrator was only doing what was written, but it was so frequent that is was almost comical.
I disliked the narrator so much, the even though I want to hear some more Julie Garwood books, I just can't sit through this narrator ever again.
So, this story is around 9 hours long… I checked to see if I'd accidentally bought the abridged version… now, I mention this because I've listened to the whole series (and loved all the stories), and I was kind of surprised at the brevity of this story. Here's the spoiler: I wonder if the author gave us this short book, with the profound cliffhanger, to hook the audience until he finished the whole tale. The first four books in the series were all stand alone stories (15 - 33 hours each!), and in my opinion, this was definitely a prequel to the next story.
Now, all that aside, the story was still suspenseful and it made me wish the commute to and from school every day was a little longer so I could enjoy more of the story.
Eduardo Ballerini was, and is, the best performer in my opinion… male, female, old, young, dialects… he does them all, and does them spectacularly.
Now, had I known this had a cliffhanger, I would have waited for the next in the series to come out, because I hate waiting.
I grew up in the South, so when a Narrator tries and fails to portray the subtle melody of a deep southern accent, it is really unbearable for me. Not so with Michael Beck's performances of the many different characters in John Grisham's latest. After just one of two exposures to the characters, I could immediately tell who was speaking by Mr. Beck's faithful renditions. Makes me sort of wish for a series with these characters, for whom I am now homesick.
Now, saying that I grew up in the South also means that I listened to this story dreading what I knew was coming… more racial ugliness. The whole story kept me stuck to it through the bitter end, though, and I wish someone would convince Mr. Grishom to start a series with Jake, Lucien, Harry Rex and the whole gang, because even though law practices in little towns seem full of mundane cases, I'm sure Mr. Grishom could spin a few more tales to keep us from missing these wonderful characters too much.
I've read or listened to all of Nora Roberts's books and this doesn't disappoint. If you're in the mood for a little trip to Ireland, this is the story for you. Nothing earth shattering... you'll not need tissues or therapy after this one. Just a nice escape from the doldrums of long commutes or nasty chores.
Katherine Kellgren does a splendid job with male and female voices: lilting Irish brogues, a flat American accent and a few German tourists thrown in the story. I've listened to her narrate about 8 books now, and she never disappoints. If I see her name as narrator, I always stop to see what she's reading next.
So, 5 stars for Ms. Kellgren and 4 for Ms. Roberts.
I know in the current literary world, a mystery set in the days just following WWI, surrounding the ups and downs of a penniless, distant relation of the English royal family might sound a little "Ho hum", but I encourage you to give this series a chance. Start at the beginning and enjoy the wonderful narrator and the fun, often suspenseful hijinks of Georgie and her supporting cast. You won't be sorry!
So I am rediscovering my favorite Nora Roberts stories through audible.com and knew I would love this series since I'd read it years before... which I thoroughly did... heartwarming and unexpected.
I didn't approach the story with a preconceived idea about how the voices should sound, since I'd read the story so long ago, but, my goodness, the voices the reader created for these three brothers were a bit off the mark. One brother was fine. One 30-ish year old brother sounded like a toothless, octogenarian, and one, also a 30-ish year old, sounded like a whiny, pre-pubescent boy... it was jarring, to say the least.
Usually, if a voice doesn't quite match my image of a character, I am able to be swept away in the story by the end of the third chapter and realize that I don't notice the disparity between what I imagined and what I am hearing. But this time, every time one of these brothers entered a scene, the horror of their voice performance was a fresh and undiluted as the first time I heard it.
I noticed that the same narrator performs the 2nd but not the 3rd and 4th books in the series, so I will l probably continue listening... BUT the 2nd book is the story told from the point of view of the 2nd brother (the toothless octogenarian I mentioned before)... and I truly don't know if I can manage to listen to the reader's rendition of this character for a whole book... sad because it was my favorite of the series.
So, I devoured Discovery of Witches in print and through audible.com, and eagerly anticipated this sequel. Throughout the book, there were glimmers of delight, but it was such an obvious 2nd installment of a three-part series, that I wish I'd waited until the 3rd book was released so I could read both books back to back. Perhaps the many facets that were lacking in this story wouldn't be so noticeable if I had the 3rd book to immediately go to once this was finished... as it is, I have a very anticlimactic, unsettled feeling remaining as I finished Shadow of Night.
The story proceeded as expected, but without the intense action and suspense of the first book. The rich historical detail was lovely, but did nothing to enhance this very lukewarm story. There are also a few annoying plot holes that I hope will be filled in once the 3rd book comes out (I don't want to get into details and spoil anything for those of you who haven't read it yet, but the holes are pretty significant).
The performance was good, the reader using a nice variety of distinct voices for the MANY characters in the story (I read in another review that there is an index of characters in the print version of the story... and that there re 85 of them!). There were a few unusual 2 - 3 second pauses throughout the story that were a bit distracting, as well.
I wish I hadn't had my hopes up so much. I wish I had waited until the 3rd book came out.
Sigh... I am kind of regretting using a credit on this book.
I am 3/4 though this book, so I don't know how it ends, but two things are apparent to me at this juncture: I long for the days when handwritten letters were lovingly composed and people listened avidly for the sound of the mail being delivered, AND, I am approaching the last third of this wonderful book and can't bear the thought of it ending and saying farewell to the wonderful cast of characters the authors and narraters brought to life. I am literally feeling a little depressed to think that it will all too soon come to an end and, as much as I want to finish it, I am trying to savor this last bit. I've actually been googling Guernsey to find real photographs of the island and have found a new interest in WWII and the area. I am loving this book, especially the way the different narraters bring each character so vividly to mind. One of my favorite listens, for sure!
I've read books from this author before and always enjoyed the mystery and suspense. This story, however, had many flaws that should have never made it past the editor's desk. The story references back to an incident that occurred about a year ago, involving Rose, the female lead and her large extended family and many of the members of the close knit, New England town where she lives. This was supremely irritating, and actually caused me to stop and consider seeking out what must be a first book in a series, to clear up the cobwebs. I did not ultimately do this, because due to the enormous cast of characters in the book, I never really cared enough about the female and male leads to find out more. The ending was a complete fizzle and I am still left wondering who the villain really was. There are so many characters, throughout the whole book all except the leads are often referred to by their first and last names! Sigh... I'm glad it's over and I'll never venture to Carla Neggers's world again.
I listen while I walk, and took countless extra trips around the neighborhood to be able to finish chapters in this wonderful book. At the risk of repeating the summaries of others, I must say that I found the characters felt like old friends after the story was long over, and the narrater did a wonderful job with pacing, expression and bringing the characters to life. Bravo!
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