Victoria Vane has given us a witty novel set in Georgian England and she does an excellent job of transcribing an era that was elegant and more extravagant; a time when maneuverings and manipulations of romantic liaisons were deemed necessary in order to alleviate the boredom of the idle rich.
I really got caught up in the story. It just flowed by so quickly, yet the dialogues sounded very much of that era, without having any Purple Prose. Quite a trick, that, considering it was known for an emergence of Romantic poets. Ms. Vane has a distinctive narrative voice that is pitch-perfect for her settings; evocative, atmospheric, and fun.
What can I say about the Viscount Ludovic, AKA ‘The Devil DeVere’? I shouldn’t like him, or adore him, let alone fall for his wit and charm any more than the proper Lady Diana Palmerston-Wriothesley. However, despite his taunting arrogance and manipulations, he doesn’t resort to mendacity; you are assured, deep in his core, he is a nice person.
**coughcough** The love scenes. Very nicely done.
Eva Hathaway is a new to me narrator, and I must admit I had to get used to her reading. Nevertheless, once I did, I quite enjoyed her. She certainly improved – or I adapted – as this delightful story moved along at a brisk pace. Her “S” letters have a strong “sssss” sound, giving some of them a bit of a whistle, but it isn’t too bad. (Better than a hiss, certainly.) It was something I didn’t even notice by the middle of the book; I wouldn’t be opposed to listening to her again.
Ms. Hathaway did a nice job differentiating the characters; this was probably due more to her getting the characters’ personality right in her mind. An audiobook is always more enjoyable when you can tell the narrator is enjoying the story as much as you are, and understands the characters.
I’m not big on adultery, but Ludovic is a product of his times; still, he manages to rise above the common libertine. He is both vivid and true to life. I even forgave him when he jumped to a conclusion about the heroine – whom I also liked – near the end of the book, and I don't think I would do that with any other.
I can’t recommend this novel enough; it was wonderful! I look forward to listening to the rest of this series.
P.S. I recommend you have the next one ready to listen to – or read – as this is a story in two parts! The rest of the series is coming out on audio soon, not all by the same reader.
Listening to Rosalyn Landor read me Devil in Winter:
1. A favorite book, as narrated by Ms. Landor, is ALWAYS kicked up a notch; it is so worth a re-visit via your ears.
2. She does the American accents, for both Daisy and Lillian Bowman, with authenticity and still manages to distinguish them by infusing the fundamental nature of their characters into their voices.
3. Even better, the multitalented Rosalyn Landor’s Scottish accents for the citizens of Evie and Sebastian’s runaway wedding to Gretna Green, a village in the south of Scotland, are PERFECTION.
4. With each flawlessly enunciated word, she brings the essence of Ms. Kleypas’ wonderful characters to life by knowing how to deliver the author’s incredible prose.
5. Whether you’re listening to this while doing your housecleaning chores, traveling, or escaping the stress of Real Life, Ms. Landor lightens your load with the right amount of humorous – yet cynical - inflection in Sebastian’s aristocrat tone.
6. The arrogant tenor of Sebastian’s voice holds just the right balance of self-importance and self-mockery.
7. Thus, bringing one of Victorian London’s notorious scoundrels - and sexiest of rakes - into a new dimensional existence between your ears, to your brain, and onto your heart, making you easily understand how Ms. Kleypas is one of those authors talented enough to pull off turning a villain into a hero.
8. Yet, when scenes have a different tone, such as the slow evolution of Sebastian falling for Evie, or when he is wounded, vulnerable, and at the mercy of her ultimate medical intervention dilemma, Ms. Landor pulls that off brilliantly, too.
9. The sweetness of her voice for the shy, stuttering, but nevertheless spunky, Evie is spot-on.
10. And the BEST reason: she narrates the sigh-worthy love scenes beautifully, causing you to fall in love with Sebastian over and over again. **sigh**
In fact, I cannot give a high enough recommendation for listening to all of The Wallflowers series - as read by Ms. Landor. They are just too wonderful to miss.
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