I have a certain affection for the Mitford series as it was one of the first audiobooks I ever read and John McDonough's fabulous narration really hooked me on both the series and audiobooks in general. However, I found this installment in the series trying too hard to be a proselytizing "Christian" genre book, instead of a charming, sometimes funny, sometimes moving story that happens to have an Episcopalian minister as it's main character. Too many threads and plot lines were just set adrift in this book with no decent conclusion to them. All of them in fact. Then the book ends with a full thirteen minute sermon on being born-again and having a 'personal relationship with Jesus Christ' which has nothing do with any of the plots of the book, just smacked in there for good measure. It really wasn't up to par with the previous entries in this otherwise great series.
Jenny White clearly knows her setting and uses it to good advantage in this story. But there are too many characters that are not clearly enough drawn to distinguish them from each other, and it makes the intrigues difficult to follow at points. At times the writing drags a bit. It could have been tightened up some with a good edit. And there were a few too many loose ends for my liking. Still all-in-all not a bad read and a reasonable freshman effort. I understand that the next in the series copes with some of these issues (though I haven't read it yet). Those who like the Amelia Peabody series will probably like the Kamil Pasha books.
Nadia May is an excellent narrator for the most part, but her "American" is pretty atrocious: I believe Bernie is from Boston, but she gives him a stereotypical "western" drawl. Still, I'm fond of her as a narrator and recommend her.
I gave up on this and got the two-volume Neville Jason version instead --what a difference! If I hadn't been reading this for a book group, I probably wouldn't have made the effort to try a different version, but it's well worth it. This one is so bad, I'm surprised that Audible even carries it. Run away.
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