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Anne A. Kennedy


austin, tx | Member Since 2008

  • 4 reviews
  • 18 ratings
  • 180 titles in library
  • 8 purchased in 2015

  • The Irregulars: Roald Dahl and the British Spy Ring in Wartime Washington

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 36 mins)
    • By Jennet Conant
    • Narrated By Simon Prebble
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    Prior to the U.S. entering WWII, a small coterie of British spies in Washington, D.C., was formed. They called themselves the Baker Street Irregulars after the band of street urchins who were the eyes and ears of Sherlock Holmes in some Arthur Conan Doyle stories.

    Sara says: "Spying in Washington"
    "Fascinating, complicated"

    As the child of a former OSS officer and CIA officer, I found this glimpse into British covert operations in the war-time US fascinating. There are so many threads to this story that it can be easy to lose track of who's who, however. I really enjoyed the portrait of Texas newspaper magnate, Charles Marsh, an intensely interesting character who should have his own biography. He plays a larger role in Dahl's life than many of the other names you will see in reviews (ex: Ian Fleming,Claire Booth Luce, etc.). The "what happened next" section is somewhat truncated, as it should be. I suspect that for Dahl and the others involved in the BSC, it was difficult to create a second act for their lives.

    4 of 6 people found this review helpful
  • The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 6 mins)
    • By Mary Ann Shaffer, Annie Barrows
    • Narrated By Paul Baymer, Susan Duerden, Roselyn Landor, and others
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    Why we think it’s a great listen: The best book club you’ve never heard of – but will be eager to join, courtesy of a full cast of true characters. January 1946: London is emerging from the shadow of the Second World War, and writer Juliet Ashton is looking for her next book subject. Who could imagine that she would find it in a letter from a man she's never met, a native of the island of Guernsey, who has come across her name written inside a book by Charles Lamb....

    Kent says: "MUCH better than I ever expected! Give it a try!"
    "From light to dark and back again"

    The light tone that this book begins with gradually descends into darker material as we get deeper into the atrocities of WWII. However, the engaging heroine and other characters keep you wanting more, even as you know you are heading into a plot line with a sad ending. The author's epistolary style effectively conveys the warm comraderie of the island, contrasting it with a chilling portrait of the Ravensbruck concentration camp that I found haunting. I would also liked to have seen more of some of the peripheral characters. There is a lighter, if bittersweet, ending to the whole book that gives us hope.

    5 of 6 people found this review helpful
  • American Wife

    • UNABRIDGED (23 hrs and 28 mins)
    • By Curtis Sittenfeld
    • Narrated By Kimberly Farr
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    On what might become one of the most significant days in her husband's presidency, Alice Blackwell considers the strange and unlikely path that has led her to the White House and the repercussions of a life lived, as she puts it, "almost in opposition to itself."

    jennifer says: "A pleasant surprise"
    "A Unique Perspective"

    Although I wasn't a big fan of "Prep," author Curtis Sittenfeld does a great job with this fictionalized account of the Bush clan and Laura Bush. I found it surprisingly engrossing. I don't see at as fawning, as some reviewers have, but as a different perspective on the events of the last eight years - whether or not you are a fan of the Bushes. I also found her portrait of the Blackwell clan at Halcyon hysterical. You could actuially see these events happening. With the dead-on portraits Sittenfeld creates, it can be hard to remember that this is a work of fiction, after all. As with "Prep," I find a lot the prose in Sittenfeld's bedroom scenes to be somewhat jarring. It doesn't always seem necessary to go there. I did find the Alice character to be passive to the point of irritation but also finished the book wanting to know more about her model, the real Laura Bush.

    3 of 4 people found this review helpful
  • The House at Riverton

    • UNABRIDGED (18 hrs and 52 mins)
    • By Kate Morton
    • Narrated By Caroline Lee
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    Summer 1924: On the eve of a glittering Society party, by the lake of a grand English country house, a young poet takes his life. The only witnesses, sisters Hannah and Emmeline Hartford, will never speak to each other again....Winter 1999: Grace Bradley, 98, one-time housemaid of Riverton Manor, is visited by a young director making a film about the poet's suicide. Ghosts awaken, and memories, long consigned to the dark reaches of Grace's mind, begin to sneak back through the cracks.

    Cathy says: "superbly written mystery"
    "Not as good as hoped for"

    While this book does have some good points, I agree with the listeners who found it s-l-o-w. The plot twists are somewhat predictable - you will figure them out hours before the author finally reveals them. It is hard to develop much sympathy for a character whose primary dialogue consists of "Yes, Miss" and "No, Miss." I agree that the narrator's accent was distracting. There are some good character sketches, though.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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