I'm being generous to give it three stars, but there's a reason for it. The author is a romance writer, and I knew that going in. I went ahead and downloaded, even though it's not my favorite genre. I have only myself to blame if it contains some of the silly and juvenile things that are standard for the type. I had hoped for a little better mystery and Sci Fi, but I should have known. I enjoy believable romantic elements in the course of a story, but you won't find those here. The narration's good, and if standard Harlequin stories are your thing, this may appeal.
What a surprise to find this. I enjoyed listening in on this great conversation about writing. It's so intelligent and entertaining. I hadn't thought of Connie Willis in years--I don't know why, but it seems I have some catching up to do with her books. I'll be checking into Carrie Vaughn's work, too.
The story's fast-paced and entertaining. The narrator is superb, and that's a help, too. This author takes a fresh approach to material that's been touched on before. Her heroine is flawed, but that's what makes her interesting. Nice descriptions, good writing, and an interesting cast of characters.
The first problem I had was with the all-wise teachings of Maurice. They simply don't belong in the era. Even a man who was perceptive about other human beings would not embrace all the new age ideas of today. And that's an issue with Maisie, too. Having her assume the lotus position and being taught to "breathe" correctly--it very much doesn't belong in the WWI era. Not for a working class British girl.
I was also thrown by the long flashback in the middle. Suddenly we move from adult Maisie to 13-year-old Maisie, and all the teddy bear people who enter her life. It felt as if I were watching a pale imitation of a Shirley Temple movie. Everyone loves and supports "our Maisie." The poor, but noble-natured girl who is so intelligent and plucky. Both her fellow servants and her patron employer love her dearly. As a nurse, even though she is underage, she is recognized as fine and above the crowd.
Back to the present, we are treated to some truly grisly descriptions of wounded soldiers from WWI. I won't even talk about the mystery. It seems secondary to the story, which is more a life's story of Maisie. I won't give it away, but the ending is ridiculous and maudlin. I can't believe this book was ever nominated for an Edgar. Wow.
I love this story, but the audio is muddy to the point that the narrator seems to lisp. I know Michael Prichard does not have a lisp--it's the sound quality at fault. It's still a very enjoyable part of the Nero Wolfe series, but buy a print version or an audio CD set.
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