Comedic timing and chemistry were great. Some jokes were really simple and silly, a few were more clever. Plenty of ridiculous situations and schemes. It was almost like a good comedy tv show, just with audio only! Harkened back to ye not-so-old days of radio sitcoms. Some of it was patently British style humor, some was more general. I loved it all! And best of all, I can't think of anything else I've listened to quite like it.
Lots of fun and laughs, the whole way through! Each episode brought on a new crazy adventure. And the cast was fantastic. Really brightened my afternoon!
How can I describe this book... Tragic. Pastoral. The end of an era, and a way of life. It was written as a memoir, decades after the action described, and because of that, and the author's melancholy tone, you could tell that things would not be all right in the small seaside community. There was so much sad foreshadowing hiding in the nostalgic and sad passages, that really nothing that happened came as a surprise, but it all still hurt. It was crushing too see a family torn, a love lost, the centuries of tradition and life brought to a halt...
The story, in addition to the subdued tone throughout, was pretty slow-paced. Many passages describing the details of the landscape, the many flowers and birds, the architecture and features of the manor house... but even the actual action was often just a smooth mellow flow - with a few breaks of quick successive events, like a sudden rush to haul in mackerel, or the tizzy at the birthday party, or her outburst and sulking with the viola near the end... It was the slow cadence and progression that influenced me to take longer to read it it think. That, and I needed to pause to read something more cheery before bed.
I liked a few scenes though, which enabled a pause from being so depressed. I was happy whenever Elise/Alice danced. I could not be happy for her and Kit, because I just knew it would not end well. It was clear from the very start, in how she spoke about him in her reflections that that relationship was ill-fated, in several ways, from the start. But he was a fun and easy to love man-boy. I was furious at Lady Diana, the b****. But thank heavens for Molly, spreading a little fun and adventure, a little girl time every so often. Mr. Rivers was a good pillar of strength for her, throughout.
I can't even imagine how lonely it must have been, to be without your family and everything familiar, thrust into a new world where you don't really fit either upstairs or downstairs... By the way, I don't know what it is about some of the reviews and descriptions I've read, but just because the story and characters happen to encompass both the gentry and servants of a country house does not make it in any way comparable to Downton Abbey. Though, I will admit that the butler did exude a lot of Carsen. But that is the end of character parallels, as far as I was concerned. And, Downton is about the *beginning* of the end of the English country manorhouse way of life... rather, this was the *end* of it.
**SPOILERS this paragraph**
I was not at all surprised at the developments with Mr. Rivers... that was foreshadowed from her arrival there. and there were subtle signs as they grew closer after Dunkirk. I can't be outraged or anything by it (as i read of one reviewer who thought it was horrible to marry a. the dead sweetheart's father and b. someone so much older... but in the story, it wasn't something bad.) It seemed almost natural even, that they find happiness with each other, after all they'd been through and been to one another. And I liked the nice bow on the end, reuniting with family at the opera in Vienna.
The narration was beautiful. The foreign and myriad British accents were done well, and Ms. Eyre adapted some of the best male voices I've heard from a female narrator. I remarked not a single dialogue mishap or editing error throughout. She had a way of really pulling you in, so you felt like you were on that cliff overlooking the bay, or in the fields as each detail of flora and fauna were described and marveled at. She was the method by which Solomons cast Tyneford's spell on the reader.
But regardless, the whole situation and war and events that brought the end of Tyneford were just tragic and I am glad to be done with it so I can find something to read that won't keep me so sad. It was touching, moving, even, but I just don't want to be so depressed!
Quite a story... Multiple threads following multiple threats from multiple directions! I liked how the threads were woven together, where each was only revealed bit by bit as the plot progressed.
Maggie certainly is an impressive and intelligent young woman - I nearly yelled with her at the injustice she faced, and I loved her outbursts. Not afraid to speak her mind. She had some good friends too, I liked John and David right away.
Hard to imagine what life was like then though, even though MacNeal describes all of the wartime conditions, it almost doesn't sound real from this distance... the rations and threat of bombs falling, not to mention those from the IRA.
Without giving spoilers, I can say that while I sensed the direction of developments, I did not see some of the twists coming. I expected her finding the code wouldn't get a great reception, but what a thrilling sequence followed from there! It was high tension action, and it just kept coming and coming as more pieces to the puzzle were revealed. I caught myself holding my breath at least a few times. After everything, I laughed when Maggie expressed the same thought I had had for some time - what a story to tell her aunt!
I don't know much about Churchill, but I think he was written well, I got the impression he was portrayed fairly accurately, and his private comments to Maggie amused me. Seemed fitting, given his style of thinking and communicating, with just "KOP" and "kicking!", heh. Such insight tucked in with the rest of the mystery was interesting, and kept it firmly rooted.
Narration was really good. Multiple accents, done well for both women and men. Someone who can voice Churchill and the 'Dingbells' (and several other folks in between) certainly gets my kudos. First time I think I've ever encountered the case of a British-narrated book with an American-accented protagonist. Only noted one slip or two where John had Maggie's/ narration voice, but it was made clear from context. The only thing which I would have asked to make this top notch would have been to add a vocal distinction for Maggie's thoughts, as we were often given them in tandem with dialogue, so they often sounded as if said aloud.
Wonderful story. Look forward to reading further books where Maggie can use her talents in a more appropriate setting and contribute more than she could as a typist.
This installment offered something new to me in the romance genre - the hero and heroine already in love but being stubborn and fighting it at their reunion. And they battled quite amusingly, matching wits and throwing insults. At times I hated how Mairi would react, so sure of his cruelty and betrayal because she refused to see any other interpretation of his actions and motives. Headstrong and foolish. Luckily, Claire and the Queen were there to help things along.
What I really didn't like was the court intrigue - I'm all for a little conflict and obstacles to overcome, but that particular brand just really gets to me. Maybe it's righteous indignation on my part, but I really really hate the plotting and the power struggles, and the religious wars. Nobles are terrible, selfish and jealous people in such stories, as in history. And they were no different in this tale. Absolutely painful. But that made victory all the sweeter in the end, I suppose.
On a side note, I wonder that the lovers weren't just a little more worried about a wee bairn prior to their marriage... no such thought reined in their passions a bit. Not that I'd have those scenes changed a bit. They shared all the fierce sparks there as was foreshadowed by their previous interactions. Passionate and tastefully written.
Narration was good too. I only noted one or two places where a character's voice was swapped by mistake. There was one moment with an editing error and a phrase was repeated. MacDuffie does fairly good male voices, and everyone was distinct. Not my favorite Scottish voice, but a good one.
Overall, a good story. Makes best sense to read series in order, as this one does make reference to the plots of the prior two books, but not cryptically, so it could still be enjoyed with no prior knowledge (but with less appreciation of the background events and characters). I will likely eventually read the next book about the younger brother, but I don't feel compelled to do so soon.
What a delightful cozy mystery. I must say, though, I didn't fall in love with Molly as quickly or quite as much as Rhys Bowen's other heroine Georgiana Rannoch, but she was a great character all the same. I liked her firey spunk and sense of justice - but boy is she ever naive. It's a wonder her misadventures didn't get her killed...
I liked the historical setting too, Bowen painted quite a striking picture of 1901 New York City and its many neighborhoods and lifestyles. It occurred to me that I actually know very little about the era, as far as immigrant and daily life... though I knew the name Tamany Hall of course, thanks to AP US History class.
There were quite a lot of very different kinds a characters (all voiced beautifully by Barber, I thought), just like you'd find in the city even nowadays. It was predictable to a point, partly because I'm familiar with the author, and it's not an uncommon formula for the plot, but nonetheless I enjoyed following Molly around on her leads and worried with her about funds and food and fighting off uncouth men. The culmination took me by surprise though, I hadn't a clue who the killer was until Molly did (perhaps I wasn't paying much attention to figuring it out though). And, without giving away spoilers, the resolution was a bit too deus ex machina for my tastes, the way she survived. But I do look forward to seeing more of Daniel!
Narration by Nicola Barber was great. She adapted many varied accents quite well, and I only noticed one or two small instances early on where a voice seemed mismatched with the intended speaker. I accidentally found myself slipping into her Irish lilt when I spoke after listening to her for a while. She's lovely.
Will definitely be reading on in the series.
I just loved this. Good old Paddington is such a dear and has such wonderful adventures. This particular story was different from the other two I've read, as this time the adventures are all related from the point of view of Paddington himself, in the form of letters to his Aunt Lucy. Many of the happenings he describes, such as the antique camera and the theater, but there were a few that were unfamiliar to me - the school game days, the barbershop, and the uncle's visit among them. Endearing and entertaining. And Broadbent's narration was superb. Hmm, and I now have a hankering for marmalade and cocoa and buns.
This was such an incredible story, it's hard to know just what to say, but that adjective hardly begins to cover it. Makos' research and detail in recounting the events of the lives of the two pilots during the war was so in depth, you would think he had been there, watching over their shoulders the whole time. And it isn't just about the one fateful day when their paths crossed in the air over Germany... It was a full biography of both men and their careers as pilots, everything that lead to them being who they were that day, and their lives after.
It was a sad story in that they were at war and terrible things and death surrounded all of them, but it was uplifting too because they survived it and not only that, they did so with bravery and integrity, answering that "higher call" despite the horrors and hatred all around. And how incredible, that not only did they both survive, but that they found each other decades later...
Makos' words and storytelling were powerful and masterful, adding to the already intense emotions evoked by the story. I ran the gambit of emotions with them, from laughing at a pilot's glib remark, sharing terror in crisis and in suspense with the bomber crew as they fought to fly home, and cried at tragedies and the loss of good men, and also joined in the tears at the reunion of Franz and Charlie.
The narration by Dean was well matched to the tone of the book - he was documentary-like in his narration at times, but kept you feeling connected with the men and action, and adapted adequate character voices for dialogue. He took the authors words to the next level, putting you there in the scene, in the cockpit and the foxhole, praying and wondering when the war would finally end.
Certainly an unforgettable tale, and those images of the wounded Pub and other moments will not soon leave my mind.
This was a wonderful mystery. It was clear to me from the beginning that there were multiple secrets and false suspects, and it was an entertaining cast of characters in that country house. I was especially amused by Barbara. I had figured out the gist of Lucia's troubles early on, prior to the murder, and I was very glad of how Poirot handled them. It took me a little longer to reach my conclusion about the true thief/killer, but I did get it based on the same clue Poirot credits Hastings with pointing out. In this case, I feel like I really was given just the right information, and this time I actually caught on to which bits hidden among some extraneous facts were key to fitting the puzzle pieces together. (I don't always feel that I've been given enough to go on to beat Poirot to the punch, as it were, but perhaps because this was originally a play, it unfolded differently than traditional Christie mysteries?) The reveal however was still a good drama. Classic Poirot. Very dramatic snare.
The odd thing is, I really wasn't a fan of Hastings in this story - usually I like him just fine, as a sounding board and a benchmark to beat, but he really disappointed me in this one; he was thicker than usual, and even abandoned his post at a key juncture... Not sure what was up with him.
Not the usual narrator for the series that I'm accustomed to, but a good one. His Poirot voice was good, as were his multiple female characters, which to me is impressive for a male voice.
Great whodunit, made for an enjoyable evening.
It took me a little while to get into this book, but after a few chapters I could barely put it down, even to go to sleep (my darling fiancé finally made me pause at 3am for a break to sleep, heh). I really liked most of the story, and I loved Judith's personality. Her compassion and determination was incredible, and I was so glad to see what she did for the women around her. And the romance was as frustrating as it was sweet - so silly how people see what they want to in others' motives. We are conditioned to expect the worst, even if we know better. But as exasperating as Iain's reticence was, and her constant worry, it all comes together in the best ways possible. Their passion was evident early on, and I enjoyed how the author carried it out. The bedroom scenes were erotic but tastefully done. But really, I almost liked a lot of the background plot, the social changes she advocated, and her new friends, better than the "courtship".
All that being said, my one major negative caveat is the narration. For female voices and narrative, Duerden is fine, even lovely as Judith and Francis Catherine... However, the moment a man opens his mouth to speak, I cringed. And there were so many men - the book was populated mostly by men- that at times her 'masculine' voices became hard to bear. Some sounded always gruff and angry or constipated, and some were just awful grumbly. Iain's voice bothered me the most - he came off sounding lecherous more often than not, when he was supposed to be considerate or tender... It was awful, but I liked the book so much I pushed through. I would have loved it otherwise, and I wish there was another recorded version I could have substituted. As it is, I'm not sure if I could revisit this audio, as much as I'd like to reread this book.
This was a sweet regency romance. I loved the interactions between Honoria and Marcus, and how others perceived them. It was a fun adventure, seeing them fall for each other and how they dealt with it. Poor girls in that quartet though! I enjoyed the final chapters, the action was orchestrated (yep, pun intended) just right to tie up all the major threads. I found it refreshing too, since physical romance was saved for the end, as a culmination...
The only part that got to me was the too-good description of the infected wound, which I unfortunately read during dinner and I completely lost my appetite. Awful. But well written. I didn't want to put it down the whole time, made difficult by pesky things like my job. =P
I think Lady Danbury was my favorite character. Loved her attitude, and how she mischievously helped things along. A great light read.
Narration was pretty good too, but not my favorite. Mainly because, as much as I like Landor and have listened to her read many novels, she has only one real voice for men, and sometimes in order to differentiate her females some of them sound too airy and childish. But in general, her timing, flow, emotion, etc are well done.
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