Davina Porter is by far my favorite narrator and listening to her narrate the poetically written The Secret Countess is a happy experience. The story itself is enchanting and you'll come to love the main character, Anna, who is a displaced Russian countess working as a housemaid in a country manor and has a true love for life. The slow building love between Anna and Rupert is believable and the descriptions of each character, the countryside, and simple things such as a dessert in the shape of a swan weave a web of magic. I could listen to Ms. Porter read this book several times over and never tire of it.
This is by far my favorite Georgette Heyer regency romance and Eve Matheson is perfect in her narration. To pay his gambling debts, Lord Sherington (or Sherry as his friends call him), must marry in order to receive his inheritance two years early. Sherry offers for the incomparable, Isabella, but is flatly rejected on the grounds that he is a gambler and a libertine-both true. In an agitated fit he declares that he will marry the next woman he sees. That woman happens to be his childhood playmate, Hero Wantage who is about 8 years his junior, a penniless orphan living with her tyrannical auntie and plain looking cousins (sound familiar?), and who has loved Sherry most of her life. Of course she doesn't divulge her feelings to Sherry and they marry much to his mother's chagrin. The rest of the story describes how Sherry slowly comes to love his "loving and giving" wife with the help of his three loyal if not somewhat clueless friends. I've listened to this story 3 times now and each time the three friends-Gil, George and Ferdie, have me in stitches. Ferdie is such a slow top, George a loose cannon, and Gil is the brain of the group but all three have Hero's best interest at heart. Of course there is an evil character and several misunderstandings transpire but this all culminates in a smashing ending where everyone gets what they deserve.
I've listened to Eve Matheson narrate several of Heyer's books and except of Lady of Quality, I find her narration most delightful and entertaining (LoQ was just an obnoxious book so I don't fault Eve Matheson). Her "Ferdie" voice has a floating quality where you can visualize a feather-brained fellow.
I'm slowly devouring Heyer's books (listening and reading) and fervently wish that BBC or some independent will start making movies out of her books. Please start with Friday's Child!
I was totally charmed by Georgette Heyer's The Unknown Ajax and Friday's Child but I found myself irritated and frustrated by Lady of Quality. I found the romance lacking and quite humorless. With Friday's Child I found myself chuckling and liking every character in that story (save the villain, of course). But the romance and comedy in Lady of Quality was almost non-existent. To top it all off, the character Maria made me want to scream. Eve Matheson is a wonderful narrator and I don't for a second blame her for Maria's annoying voice since I believe it is congruent with the character that Georgette Heyer wanted to portray. So I ask myself: Did I enjoy this story? Will I listen to it a second time? I answer with a resounding NO!
The story is of the beautiful and cunning, French spy Annique Villiers who is trapped between an unscrupulous countryman and the handsome British spymaster Robert Grey. She eventually forms an uneasy alliance with Grey but it soon becomes apparent that Grey is after more than the elusive Albion plans (Napoleons plans to invade Britain), he burns for her as well. This story is filled with twists and turns that had me on the edge of my seat. But the narration rates among the best that I've heard. Kristen Potter has a husky voice that lends itself well to smoldering sex scenes. She has a variety of British accents (Cockney, aristocratic, country) but she would revert to an American accent when portraying a persons thoughts. This was extremely helpful in sorting out speech from narration from a characters thoughts. In any case, I thoroughly enjoyed this audible selection and look forward to more Bourne/Potter stories!!
Is it the story or the reader that is putting me to sleep? I've read other Victoria Alexander books and have enjoyed them. But this audio book is a snoozer. The cadence of the reader leaves much to be desired. During the love scenes, I wanted to throw my mp3 player against the wall out of frustration. The story starts out okay but then it drags on so that when we finally get to the love scene you just want to strangle the reader.
Diana Gabaldon is a genius of the first order. Ms. Gabaldon has woven a story that mesmerizes, captivates, and excites. Of course, Outlander is more than a romance novel, but that doesn't take away from the fact that Jamie and Claire's relationship makes each page sizzle. And Davina Porter is a first rate narrator. I've listened to Outlander at least 3 times and each time Ms. Porter drew me in with her beautiful lilting voice. Have a great time listening to this wonderful tale of a love that transcends time.
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