I REALLY did NOT want or expect to like this book. First, there was the salacious title; and that and the summary sounded like so many "romance" novels masquerading as mysteries or thrillers with the romance and hot steamy scenes far outweighing the thin and predictable "mystery".
When I first heard the drawling stereotypical Delta characters, I just knew I had made a big mistake getting this book. Boy, was I in for a surprise. This is one of those books that could not possibly be enjoyed in book form as much as in the hands of such a talented narrator. This narrator absolutely nailed the southern dialect! And he perfectly distinguished the women from the men--there was never any question. No one was made a ridiculous stereotype by the author or narrator. Of course, the author wrote the words, but unless they were drawled just right--it wouldn't have hit its mark. I have friends who have such an unusual (to me) accent and way of expressing themselves, and find it is almost like a different language--quite lovely when you stop to really listen. That and the manners and mannerisms that are peculiar to that region were flawlessly characterized.
It seemed like a generic boiler-plate plot at first--cultured city girl moves to the boonies where she is culture-shocked and infuriated by the locals, particularly the outspoken handsome landowner. Naturally, you know they will get together; but that is only a minor part of this long 3-part story. The culture clash is significant, and the love scenes steamy, but not dominant. The mystery just keeps evolving. Then, when you think it is formulaically a foregone conclusion, it isn't. It just keeps disorienting the listener so that you are never really sure who is "good" and who is "bad". Or, more to the point, it is not predictable.
Having grown up on Agatha Christie, I got pretty good at predicting the culprit early on in modern mysteries, and always felt cheated when I did. They were just rehashing old and overused plot lines rather than thinking outside the box.
I have not read much that I can remember by this author before, as many female mystery writers never seem to live up to Dame Agatha. But Nora Roberts did an extraordinary job of fleshing out full characterizations for all her characters, injected humor and clever repartee into the dialogues, and didn't "cheat" by pulling the villain out of a hat with no foundation, as would a magician with a rabbit. The clues really are there, but I missed them!
This is an excellent listen, and is essentially irresistible. I look forward to finding more masterpieces from Ms. Roberts.
(spoiler alert?) Emily becomes a children's author, and writes books about just what this book is about. It is predictable, allegorical life lessons, as though written for children. Children would be better at suspending belief with a dog angel. The pure of heart triumph, and the impure are shamed.
I don't know if it was just my recording, but it is the only book that I have heard that repeats phrases and sentences occasionally. Bad job of editing?
I can't imagine how TWO narrators, male and female, can both be so misguidedly awful! For some reason, they eggageratedly enunciate as though English was their second--or third--language. And I don't mean when they are characterizing a foreigner--everyone sounds stilted with way too many consonants pronounced in a heavy handed manner. I liked the author from the other novel, but this is a disaster. I would never listen to these narrators again, particularly the male.
Trying hard to show that Nazis are alive and well in the very countries that they brutalized decades ago, the terrible narrator literally speed-reads this. I thought that my iPhone must have accidentally switched to double speed; but no, just awful narration.
The premise is valid, the scare warranted, but the book is not literature. From this sample, I would never consider this author or narrator again, and it was a waste of even the token amount spent on this book. It is not a "story", it is a warning.
A huge fan of the "armchair mystery" genre of Agatha Christie (intelligent plots and puzzles requiring thought sans gratuitous violence), I thoroughly enjoyed Jury's crime solving methodology. While not as much of a fan of the narrator's scope of characterization (why did the sergeant's voice have to be created with the narrator seemingly holding his nose closed?), the clues were all there (fair play a la Christie), and it was just a race to see whether the reader could put the puzzle together before Jury. Jury was a little biased in favor of his personal emotional instincts (Poirot would never do that), but nonetheless, it was a good puzzle and very satisfying mystery. I look forward to reading more of Grimes, and hope there are just as many interwoven literary references, as it makes it all the more enjoyable!
This was a pretty good attempt at a sympathetic, fumbling, self-effacing character, but just missed the mark. The distractions of the constant "no way!" "Way!", "no way!", "way!", and the interjections of "I said", "she said", "he said" were distracting. The book tried to create a Sophie Kinsella type of character, but didn't quite have the same result. Waverly was not as likable or sympathetic. A fun read, but a predictable ending, and annoying rinkydink dialogue.
I didn't expect much from this, with the time travel element added to the fantasy, but it wasn't bad. Kind of a combination of Alice in Wonderland, Cinderella, and The Wizard of Oz--even down to the ruby red shoes. It gets into a bit of trouble with the ending resolution (do babies en vitro time travel too?), but somewhat entertaining if you get it inexpensively.
The narrator, aside from being out of character with a rough southern accent for a society boy from Philadelphia's Main Line, managed to mispronounce most of the difficult words. It was very distracting, as there was little or no character development, either. The rambling plot just rambled and it was a tedious listen. By the end, I didn't care what happened.
I truly expected the worst from this book, after all, "Secret Desire" would have to be a provocative "bodice ripper", wouldn't it? It turns out to be not unlike Nora Roberts, only set in the Shakespearian era. The absolute delight of this book is partly due to the excellent narrator, whose voice has the ability to quaver at just the right time, and she does justice to male narrative, as well.
Although the premise is somewhat cliche (a la Nora Roberts) and certainly predictable, the entertaining journey of a young woman bucking the chauvinistic male-dominated theater and writers of that time, as well as antiquated marriage contracts and self-support, is worth the listen. It is cleverly written and truly evokes the era.
It is just plain fun, with just enough "bodice ripping" to be entertaining, without centering around that aspect. Even though I got it at a reduced price, I would recommend it for the regular price or a credit.
Most Baldacci books are worth reading, and those with Will Robie and Jessica Real have been interesting in the past. On the whole, I'm not sorry I got this book. However, it is really chopped up into seemingly short plots, each with their own ending. Not really one big assignment for the pair, or even two; but several short bouts of action each being completed before the final and very predictable outcome.
It can be persuasively argued that each of the sub-plots somehow link to the finale, but some are tenuous links, at best.
It was as though Baldacci wrote down plot ideas at different times, then quickly ties them together in this book. Not the best Baldacci--too bad.
I don't buy "romance" novels, and after reading all the Sophie Katz books by this author, had no reason to suspect this would be a dramatic change from the humorous, self-effacing, witty and clever Sophie Katz mysteries.
Boy, was I wrong! This is total eroticism VERY thinly disguised as a woman's search for independence and a sense of self. When it began with a woman on the brink of marriage reluctantly trying to have a good time in Las Vegas in provocative and revealing clothing, I still thought it might be a humorous example of how badly that could turn out.
However, the book is a continual venture into all eroticism, all the time. The message seems to say that to find yourself, you first have to act out all of your sexual fantasies (generally in front of others). Only after doing this again, and again, and again....can you stand on your own two feet (or generally lie down).
There is no humor, no wit, and certainly no mystery. Sophie Katz is much too smart to be caught dead in this book! What was this author thinking??
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