As I have written 2 disparaging reviews in a row I thought I'd better write a positive one. This is a beautifully crafted, story with credible characters. A good rip-along yarn.
The narrator was a joy to listen to and he certainly made the book most exciting. Mr Barrett gave a performance so skilful that I didn't notice it... I was ' living in the story' rather than being told a story. I wish there were more readers like this.
To explain my heading to non Australians, in Oz we call fools Dills and tearaways Hoons.I was SO disappointed. I thought I was buying historical fiction but found it more hysterical than anything to do with ANY dynasty in China. If you like to pick up a bit of history with your fiction, don't bother with this one. The writing was immature. The plot was simple and predictable. The factual content was zilch. Lord above knows how it won an award - the Golden Heart award is unknown to me and I guess it must be equivalent to the Mills & Boon style. The performance was OK.
Why do Americans assume they can do a British accent just because they've watched 1940 style movies supposedly set in England?
Jesse Bernstein read with ease and with meaning WHEN he was being American, but his accents were laughable. He needs to do far more research before he attempts this sort of work again.
The British (and I say this very loosely because they were occasionally Scottish, sometimes the American version of Cockney London, but mostly just plain unrecognisable) accents were delivered so slowly it sounded like the characters were all imbeciles.
It really spoilt a good story for me. Random house usually do better. Shame on them for letting this one get through to the buying public.
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