Somehow I was led to this book after reading and thoroughly enjoying Kate Morton's book The House at Riverton. But there is no comparison. The beginning is intriguing. An infant girl, Rosa, is left at a nunnery. She is raised by the sisters and fifteen years later she leaves to become governess for the daughter of a wealthy Italian family at the time when Mussolini is coming into power. That she has some connection to this family is immediately obvious. From there on it is amazingly contradictory. While she displays seemingly great knowledge of child rearing, Pythagoras, music, language and philosophy, she is apparently ignorant of how babies are conceived and born. This becomes obvious after Rosa is wrongly jailed because of an accusation that Rosa aided another servant in aborting her child, by the evil step mother (an Italian noble woman by marriage) of her charge . Rosa is in jailed for ,over a year and is raped by one of her jailers. She doesn't realize she is pregnant until another inmate clues her in. This is 3 hours into the story. I kept trying but was so bored an irritated by both the writing and the plot I had to stop. For me a wasted credit. I prefer more subtlety and realism..
I think I expected something different after reading some of the Wallender series and the Girl of the Dragon Tatoo. I realize this is stereotyping (Scandinavian) but I found this book totally boring. I am halfway through and have given up. The plot drags and the characters are uninteresting.
As much as I may enjoy the stories, I seem to be the only one to criticize the narration. I find the narrater's tone oddly nasal and monotone. I realize how subjective this is, but after listening to several of Louise Perry's Inspector Gamache novels, this is my biggest criticism. It keeps me from downloading another.
I don't object to dark or graphic on principle. Have read all of James Lee Burke (love his work), as well as other crime and war novels and non-fiction of the genre. I found this to be unrelentingly dark. The description of vomit nearly made me vomit. Killing animals and children. It bothered me, I am obviously an outlier on this, but simply cannot understand all the 5 star reviews. Realism itself does not make good writing in my humble opinion.
Although there structure of this book has worked well in other books I have enjoyed, in this one I found it somewhat forced and unnecessary . I kept wanting the pace to pick up. It dragged for me.
Wish I had not wasted my credit.
I have to agree with others who disliked the narration by Dick Hill. He ruins books for me. All characters seem to speak in a kind of nasal drawl with no change in tempo, pitch, whatever. Other male narrators are able to portray female voices in a more realistic, less irritating manner.
The story itself was disappointing, especially after having recently listened to DeMille, Clancy and Baldacci. Despite all the "action", it was a tedious plot. The characters and their relationships were not believable. The gorgeous female head of the Sacramento FBI office (supposedly in charge of 500 people) gushed at least 4 times to the protagonist, Nathan McBride, that "she had never known a man like him". Oh please. He believed his father, a senator, hadn't done enough to rescue him from horrible torture in NIcaragua over a decade ago. They had never talked about this before? I cannot believe that security at an FBI office is so lax, especially post 9/11. I am willing to suspend credibility to enjoy a good story, but this just was too predictable.
Some of the technical info on being a sniper was interesting.
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