Moss Beach, CA, United States | Member Since 2009
Yes, it was like watching a good movie unfold in my head. The point of view kept shifting from major to minor characters, from protagonists to antagonists, which kept the story moving along at a quick clip.
It was fast paced, tightly plotted, and the romantic sub-plots and the intersection of main story and backstory kept me turning the pages. Of course, we know up front that the Nazis lost the war, and in a series such as this we know that the main character will survive. So the dramatic tension revolves around how she uses her wits and training to prevail, and in the survival or death of the peripheral characters. Maggie keeps getting deeper and more resourceful as the series goes on, and her relationships keep changing with changing circumstances. She stands as a reminder that most of the people who fought that war were in their 20's, and the reality of a world gone mad required and demanded that they mature quickly.
While I think Susan Duerden's performance was much improved over her last outing in Princess Elizabeth's Spy, her German accent here was heavy handed. A sentence might read, "This is the way we work," while her attempt to make it sound German was more like, "Ziss is ze vay ve verk." Such distortions aren't necessary, and were in fact a bit distracting.
I'm afraid I'm not up on young British actors and actresses, so I can't comment on who the stars should be. However, it would make a great mini-series, and I expect the BBC will do just that after a few more titles are added to the series.
I don't know if Karen White has any more adventures planned for these characters, but this book provides a very satisfying conclusion to the Tradd Street quartet. As genre fiction, Romance novels tend to be predictable. The question isn't where the author is taking us, but how she gets us there. What sets the top echelon apart is the writing. A few (Diana Gabaldon, Susanna Kearsley, and Karen White, for example) can write circles around many authors of more "serious" literature. Their plots, characterizations and power of description are a step above. Yes, the men tend to be tall, dark, handsome, available and incredibly patient, but that goes with the territory. Here Karen White melds Romance and Ghost Story genres into entertaining stories. Each of the four Tradd Street books could, theoretically, stand on its own, but the series is best appreciated when read in order. Enjoy.
Jeffery Deaver never disappoints. His thrillers and mysteries are always fast paced and have so many twists and turns you never really know the truth until the last page. This full cast recording is presented like an old-fashioned radio drama on steroids. It's like watching a movie with your eyes shut. It's entirely revealed through dialogue, a few sound effects and mood-setting music. It runs a little over 4 hours. If he'd written it as a printed book it would have included description, a bit more stage direction and perhaps a more elaborated backstory, which would make it run 8 or 9 hours. Since this is a plot-driven story, leaving out some of the extraneous material works just fine. It's set up for many sequels, and I'd be surprised if it doesn't find its way to the Big Screen. Great fun.
I probably would have enjoyed reading this as much as listening to it, but I must give credit to the narrator, Jim Broadbent. This is a novel that unfolds at a sedate pace, with observations, recollections and philosophical speculation that requires a certain unhurried delivery. Broadbent inhabits the character and lets us discover his world at a pedestrian gait. The book is deeply affecting, both heartwarming and heartrending, a book that will make you laugh out loud, smile and weep at the decency that can be found in ordinary lives. It's also beautifully written. The prose is simple, yet concise, as illustrated in this brief passage:
"They had made assumptions. They thought it was a love story, or a miracle, or an act of beauty, or even bravery, but it was none of those things. The discrepancy, between what he knew and what other people believed, frightened him. It also made him feel... that even in the midst of them he was unknown."
This is a book that you can open at random, read a few paragraphs, and find something new each time. Mysteries, thrillers, Romance, Comedy and Fantasy all have their place, but so does old fashioned, character-driven literature, of which this is a refreshing example.
I love getting two books in one as the story jumps from the present to the past and back. The historical story is richer for its details, as well as its more diverse characters, but both stories were satisfying. As with all the best writers, Kearsley's prose seems effortless. She's a master of setting mood through description, and her characters are well delineated. The only fault I can find in this one is that all of the young males are stock Romance characters (tall, well-muscled, enigmatic, masterful and never crude). That may keep the ladies coming back for more. As for me, I'll try anything Miss Kearsley puts her hand to, because the power of her writing overcomes any cookie-cutter characters that may insinuate themselves into her stories.
I probably would have enjoyed this better in print, but the audible offering is still worth the credit because the story is so strong. I agree with all of the comments regarding Barbara Rosenblat's narration. Her voice is simply too old for the part. That aside, I was in awe of Susanna Kearsley's evocative writing and her ability to weave a complex tale. Having read The Rose Garden and The Winter Sea, I assumed I'd be encountering a Romance novel with some supernatural or Time Travel angle. Instead, this is like a finely tuned, more literary version of an Agatha Christie tale, where disparate characters are brought together and we slowly learn their back stories and how they all relate. I wasn't aware that this was to be a Mystery. It was obvious that there would be a bit of the romance here, but it was subtly drawn out, and the mystery only slowly revealed. In the beginning the reader is simply getting to know the characters, and my hat's off to Ms. Kearsley for such a finely delineated cast of characters. Each one is distinct and plays his or her part in the drama/mystery/romance. When you finally realize that there is a mystery to be solved, you come to realize that virtually every previous scene was filled with clues that are relevant to the denouement. A wonderful book that will stay with me for a long while.
I debated about the headline, as this is a beautifully written book. But I kept thinking that the same story in other hands (Barbara Kingsolver and Ann Patchett come to mind) might have lifted it to another level. Nonetheless, it's totally worth your time. Ms. Joy Fowler is articulate, her characters are sufficiently compelling and the plot is adept at hanging the carrot just enough out of reach to keep me turning the pages (does that make me an ass?) Suffice it to say that It was good enough that I'm interested in trying some of her other books. Orlagh Cassidy's narration was unobtrusive and easy on the ears.
Another reviewer complained that "the plot of 'Revival' serves as a vehicle for Mr. King to spout off about drug addiction, aging, the existence of God, and guitar playing." All I can say is "Hallelujah!" Those are the very things that make this book so satisfying. King knows what he's talking about when he writes of addiction, aging and guitar playing (and any thinking adult will have to agree with the book's "terrible sermon"), which gives the narrator depth and inner demons and gives us reason to root for him. Other reviewers didn't think the story was scary enough, and while certain descriptions may be a bit formulaic, the very concept scared the pants off me and has left me with an uneasy feeling when looking into the abyss, which I guess can be viewed as a positive in the horror genre. The tone of the whole book, and the elegiac reflection of the coda, are reminiscent of Lovecraft's "At the Mountains of Madness." King is so good, he makes it look effortless.
I hope narrator David Morse gets to do future King books. His tone and pacing are just right and he's good at differentiating between the characters.
I didn't realize until I'd finished it that the book was written 60 years ago and that the author was famous for her children's book 101 Dalmatians. I had hoped that this was from a contemporary author and that there would be more books in the same vein. Though others have remarked on the similarity with jane Austin, I felt the tone and ability to set mood was far more reminiscent of Daphne du Maurier. The prose is beautifully restrained, the narrator is superb, the characters are full and delineated, and the world Dodie Smith recreates here (of English country life in the 1930s) is vividly drawn. Just my cup of tea.
The Gilded Age is one of the few Twain works I hadn't read, and I was pleasantly surprised. The American penchant for get-rich-quick schemes, and the corruption and hypocrisy of Washington politicians was already in full-force 150 years ago! The southern dialect of Senator Dilworthy is vintage Twain. Great satire, though the second half, which involves a murder trial, drags on a bit too long. It's all the more ironic that Twain followed the example of his characters who dream of quick riches, only to be bankrupted by their greed. Excellent narration by Bronson Pinchot.
I give Elizabeth Wein high marks for writing a compelling story, and the narrators are superb, but it's hard to give credence to the conceit of a confession written in literary style. There is another incredibly illogical action that I can't divulge without spoiling the book for other readers. But it makes no sense and that absolutely ruined the book for me.
Report Inappropriate Content
If you find this review inappropriate and think it should be removed from our site, let us know. This report will be reviewed by Audible and we will take appropriate action.