This book did keep me listening, although the latter half was definitely a lot less involving than the first half, and the whole genesis for the murders required a complete suspension of belief (unless you accept as fact that a heretofore solid citizen can be derailed into a psychotic killer within days after learning of a decades-old event). Also, I still want to know what the episode was that split the three siblings completely asunder in young adulthood; unless I dozed off, that was referred to but never explained, and since some of the plot hinged on the fact, it needed to be. But Anna Bentinck has a very pleasant reading voice (I will look for more of her work), and I wanted a nice, long story to listen to during a day in the garden, and this book filled that bill admirably.
I just finished listening to this book this morning, and then in the dentist's office read an article by a woman whose four-year-old was making the family's life miserable because the pink color she had chosen for her bedroom walls two months before was now unacceptable and she wanted dark blue....and right now!! Instead of wondering why her daughter was behaving like such a monster, and dealing with that behavior, she was mulling over (with about 2-1/2 pages) the possible reasons that small children change their color choice.....? It made me remember that while I was reading this book, I actually thought to myself that it wouldn't hurt most of the children in the USA (or at least the ones I know) to live in Cecilia Rose's shoes for a couple months, and that article was perfectly timed to drive the point home. This theme has been visited before, but this is such a very charming rendition, with such excellent narration, that it is well worth a read. It left me feeling good, and with an ardent desire that all children who start out life in difficult - if not impossible - circumstances can then seque into life in Savannah, Georgia. Also with the desire that all children who are born into privilege and love and turn into demanding tyrants can seque into life in Ohio. At least long enough to learn better.
Wow. Just finished this book...and let me say, the negatives notwithstanding, I read it pretty steadily all the way through. The pros: excellent writing, excellent narration, excellent pacing. The cons: *I disliked the main protaganist, Sally, from the beginning; none of her decisions/actions, from start to finish (the last one almost made me abandon the book) were logical or comprehensible, and therefore I disliked her. *There were 3 five-year-old girls involved, all of whom were extremely precocious, manipulative and unlikable, (has anyone read that old book "The Bad Seed"?) and it made me wonder what the author's experience with children has been -I've known lots of 5 year old girls, and only one met that criteria and she was much less accomplished). *It started to drag a littlle towards the end, like the author was spinning out the story to get the right number of words.
Overall: very readable, and kept me tuned in right to the end, so it deserves 4 stars.
Her usual fabulous writing, and either Hugh Ross is becoming a better narrator or I'm just getting used to him. Either way, a thoroughly enjoyable listen.
Skilled writing and great narration could not keep me from being very depressed by this book and actually glad when it was over. I love mysteries, but I guess I prefer cozies. Full of guilt, betrayal, insanity and murderous nervous breakdowns (the only love was of the stalker/obsessive type), this is my third Tana French book, but it will be the last for awhile and I will be very careful about choosing another one.
While Hugh Ross is not the narrator I would have chosen for this book, (James Saxon or Clifford Norgate could have nailed it), everything about the plot and style of writing is enjoyable. One of those books you hate to turn off, even when someone very short and clad in a bathing suit is tugging at your jeans and urgently lisping, "Gramma, I have to go potty...."
I purchased this book due in large part to the glowing review from Lisa, which just illustrates what different tastes and preferences we all, as humans, have. I considered this to be one of the worst choices I ever made. The writing was amateurish, the dialogue unnatural and trite, and the conclusion predictable from the first chapter. And the narration...well, hark back to that awful old TV show called "Dragnet" and the deadpan detective who tersely utters, "Just the facts", and you've gotten the flavor of the narration. I did finish it (admittedly with some fast forwarding), but I certainly wouldn't recommend it.
Well constructed and excellently narrated. I did figure out the "mystery" well ahead of the end, but that did not detract from my enjoyment of this book. I will be looking for more works by both of these artists.
I listened to Crusie's book "Faking It" with the same narrator and some of the same characters and absolutely loved it! So this one has been a rather rude shock. I'm definitely no prude, but at slightly more than halfway through, the overly frequent and interminable descriptions of the sex scenes between Sophie and the mayor are not only NOT a turn-on, they have finally forced me to fast forward through them in irritation. I don't know the actual word count of this book, but at least half of them are variations of "shiver", shudder", and "heat". Especially "heat". Sometimes it appears more than once in the same sentence. I finally concluded that either Jennifer was having a private joke at my expense, or had to meet a deadline by padding out a short story. Save the credit on this one.
I read the reviews and so gave this one a skip until I read another one of Ms Crombie's books, and thought it was great, so back I came to this one (and all the rest as well). In this case, it was just too bad that the other readers weren't impressed, because I thoroughly enjoyed this book. If you like your mysteries less gruesome and more cerebral, you'll probably enjoy it too.
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