I found the vocal characterization of David Baker to be distracting and unlikeable. I'm not sure how I would have heard the narative voice in my head had I been reading. It is a difficult character with vast swings from the silly to the philosophical. I understand why the narrator made the choices he did, but I felt that it ended up trivializing the wife and the marriage, among other shortcomings.
I liked the outset of this novel, but then it dropped into the past and his activities in all the major events of the 20th century left me cold. It has a sort of dry humor that I associate with British writers, and it was compared to some of those novels, but the story line stretched credulity in a way that was supposed to be humorous, but didn't work for me.
I didn't care for the half of the story set in WWI German-occupied France. I especially didn't care for the choice to read it in a French accent. I almost stopped listening, but then the modern half of the story started, and that I found compelling, so I did finish the book. I had enjoyed Moyes's Me Before You, and wish I had read the description of this one more carefully before buying it.
I have read and enjoyed this culinary mystery series for years, looking forward to each new release. This was my first time listening, and I enjoyed the performance of Barbara Rosenblat. Her slightly raspy voice gave wonderful character to the rowdy Goldy Bear. I look forward to listening to the next one.
This is a fascinating topic, but the book was sometimes so dull I feared I would never finish it. As a science nerd, the development of the vaccine was the most interesting part of the book for me, and I really loved learning about Louis Pasteur and the other researchers of the 19th century. The strength of the book is how they made so many of those historical characters come alive with stories about them and their competitors or families, etc. I enjoyed learning about how the illness was understood throughout history and the crazy, revolting treatments that different societies developed to attempt to forestall the inevitable fatal outcome of a bite from a rabid animal. That being said, I felt the writing style was too wordy with too much repetition of facts and stories, which made it very slow going, even dull at times. If there is an abridged version, that would probably be the way to go--with any luck a good editor could maintain the details in the lively sections and tie everything together more efficiently.
I got a kick out of this book, and thought it was well written. I understand that some other readers didn't like all the coffee descriptions, but for me it was a major part of the main character's personality as well as important in the place setting. Even though I am not a coffee drinker, I can appreciate someone else's enthusiasm for their specialty. I found it lively and fun.
I loved this book with its fascinating look into the odd history of the orphan trains. The quirky modern teen provides an interesting parallel to the story of the older orphan, but could have used a little more fleshing out to help understand her motivations.
My one quibble was the reader's choice to use a somewhat girlish voice to narrate the story. I understand that this was probably motivated by the fact that most of the story is from the point of view of a 9-12 year old, but I found it distracting, especially given the maturity level of the girl in question. I didn't care for the breathiness or high lilting tone, but would recommend the book, nonetheless.
I enjoyed the perspective on Chinese culture from someone who lived there and studied the language. It is probably more interesting for someone who has studied the language, even briefly as I did, than for someone who hasn't studied foreign languages, and particularly Mandarin.
I got a kick out of this funny book. While some of the characters were a tad stereotypical, the situation was unusual in the juxtaposition of British vs. American culture. The issue of adoption and wanting to know where you came from was thoughtfully handled.
I loved the beauty of the writing in this book. The attention to detail in the prose--the lyrical descriptions and wonderfully imaginative word choice made for a very stimulating and artistic read, in keeping with the major theme of the philosophy and creation of a Japanese garden. In addition there is a compelling story of an interesting protagonist set during and after WWII in what is now Malaysia.
I recommend this highly.
Very nice book for tweenagers (and their moms) set in Puritan New England. Has themes of religeous freedom and outsiders who don't fit into the local community. Great topic for youth, and very well written with engaging characters. Probably wouldn't appeal as much to boys.
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