I buy Heyer's comedies whenever Audible adds them. I hope they soon add more of her mature, best books: Frederica, The Grand Sophy, Sylvester, The Unknown Ajax, Cotillion, False Colours . . .).
That said, try Devil's Cub (good-humored dashing romance), Sprig Muslin (light-hearted comedy), or A Civil Contract (surprising twists that reverse stereotypes and expectations) before this one. Frankly, they're better books, and Michael Drew, Sian Phillips, and Phyllida Nash each give far better readings Cornelius Garrett does with The Quiet Gentleman.
Garrett's reading here is uninspired, and his shrilly over-the-top characterization of the stepmother makes the recording hard to listen to. Heyer's world is fun despite these flaws; the other recordings are just much better places to start.
I'm giving these stories to my nephews and nieces, but I also got a copy for myself. These are funny, lively, and inspire a second--or even a third--thought. They're well-informed by older versions of the Arthurian stories, without being one bit stuffy.
Three cheers for Steve West's excellent performance, and at least a dozen cheers for Gerald Morris's great storytelling. His scholarship gives his stories life and backbone, but his exuberant imagination and his smart, perceptive characters make them sparkle.
Phyllida Nash's excellent performance lets the quirky, likeable characters sparkle in this wonderful, witty comedy.
After a few calm pages that let us find our balance, Kit learns that his mother and brother are teetering on the brink of crisis. After that, it's unexpected turns and convolutions all the way to the end.
The story would be amusing and thoroughly satisfying even if you've never heard of Regency England. But having more background lets you appreciate its breadth and depth of authenticity.
If this were a movie, it would get a whole bundle of Oscar nominations: screenplay, leading and supporting character performances, costumes, setting, cinematography, and direction. It all seems light and effortless, but wow, it's a delightful masterpiece.
These stories are hilarious. So is the introduction. As the author points out, if you think about this story, every line is worth a chuckle.
"What big eyes you have, Grandma."
Really? The kid notices size but not the fur, the claws, even the tail?
All the stories are clearly "Little Red Riding Hood," but every one is different. They range from just plain funny, to very surprising, to even kind creepy, to stand-up-and-cheer.
Can't say more without spoiling the twists and surprises--but I'm giving this to all my favorite family members who have a witty, wry, or snarky sense of humor.
Wonderful characters with believable friendships, tensions, and resolutions in a small old-fashioned village. This book makes me smile. Gwen Watford's performance is perfect.
I wish all the Miss Read books about Thrush Green and Fairacre were available on Audible--I'd buy them in a minute.
Daniel Thomas May's performance is outstanding. It's insightful and compelling, going beyond just making all the book's vivid characters distinct and memorable.
This book is at least as good as the first three. In fact, I thought Precursor had even more action and suspense than the first three volumes. It introduces people and places of great interest. And the plot takes surprising twists that sometimes made me cheer out loud.
One heads-up: by now there's a lot of background needed by new readers. Cherryh provides the backstory while moving the action ahead, so you might not even notice unless you're reading the books back-to-back. However, since I'm gulping them down one right after the other, I found backstory slowing the usually-brisk pace now and then. Once, when the story had me sitting on the edge of my chair, I wanted to shake Bren and holler, "Stop brooding and do something, already!" (He did.)
I admire how well Cherryh makes each book a complete, satisfying whole. These are NOT cliff-hangers. Each book resolves its story's issues. (Well, so far, at least. I can't swear about the rest of them.) Each book is a complete novel, but they all tie together, and it's worth reading them in the correct sequence.
Audible has released the first six of the 14 books in this series. (The hard-back of volume 14 is due to be released in April.) I hope Audible quickly adds the other eight!
Everybody's on the brink of war: humans against atevi, atevi against atevi, even humans against humans (small surprise). And trying to balance on that brink is Bren Cameron, a human/atevi language expert plunged into politics and violence.
He's struggling to understand alien motives, to find decent answers to explosive problems, to advise and explain without betrayal, and to hang onto his humanity while submersed in alien culture. Oh--and while Bren dodges lies and bullets, his mom is ill, his brother's marriage is on the rocks, and he himself is dangerously attracted to the younger of his alien bodyguards.
Daniel Thomas May does an outstanding job narrating this fresh, in-depth, and fascinating look at the dangers and rewards of alien contact.
C.J. Cherryh is a great writer, Legacy is one of Cherryh's best works, and Dina Pearlman reads it splendidly. Legacy works as a stand-alone book, even though it is a grand encore to the four-volume Pride of Chanur series. It would be a good introduction to Cherryh's universe.
Hilfy Chanur, captain of the Hani space merchant ship Legacy, does two things that send Hilfy and her crew on a port-to-port scramble in a tangle of five-species complications. She takes what ought to be a simple contract to deliver a ceremonial object, and she agrees to deliver a stranded Hani male to the ship that "accidently" left him.
The tensions and adventures that result are exciting, suspenseful, funny, inventive, and fascinating. Cherryh is a fabulous world-builder, and is the best, bar none, at creating characters, species, cultures, and situations that drive the action forward and bring the reader along cheering for more.
There's enough perceptive, useful information in this book to keep me listening despite the author's unending, heavy-handed plugs for himself and his products. He should have complied when his editor told him to prune out all the plugs. (If his editor didn't tell him--repeatedly!--to prune them all out, he needs a different editor.) The biggest problem with them is that it's distracting to have the writer keep switching character between credible-professional-explaining-an-important-subject to self-serving-snake-oil-salesman-pushing-his-wares.
The reader did well, not exactly undercutting the author's moments of preachiness, salesmanship, and condescension, but not emphasizing them, and conveying the actual meat of the content straightforwardly.
My impression is that the author does know his subject, that he has worthwhile things to say, and that he is capable of saying them clearly. I'm not sorry I bought this, but I'm not sure I could recommend it, and I'd be reluctant to buy anything more by this author. (Maybe the plugs and the author's moments of preachiness and condescension are less troublesome in a print book where it's probably easier to skim over them.)
Hooray! Audible is offering the first book about life in the small English village of Fairacre.
Miss Read's Fairacre and Thrush Green books are delightful. Reading them is fun, but listening to Gwen Watford's beautifully-nuanced readings is even better.
For a while it was hard to get hold of even the hard-copy books in the United States; now many are back in print, and even more are available as eBooks. But they're best as audiobooks!
These are peaceful, relaxing books. Don't expect a white-knuckle roller-coaster ride. The stories involve problems and tensions, but action is small-scale, in situations that are plausible, amusing, and touching.
The characters vividly drawn. Even those that are not downright eccentric are satisfyingly quirky--and they seem like entertaining versions of people we know. And the sense of community may be the best part of these books. People have patience with each other. They recognize each other's foibles, but don't feel compelled to try to fix their friends.
Listening to these books (and Mrs. Pringle of Fairacre is one of the best) means seeing the world from a very different point of view. We feel akin to Miss Read's characters, but their attitudes, assumptions, and pace of life are half-a-world and at least half-a-century away from ours.
That's part of the fascination. The books actually become more fun each year, as their world becomes more distant and quaint. I hope that eventually (and the sooner the better) Audible offers the Gwen Watson recordings of all Miss Read's books.
Richard Armitage's reading is outstanding, but even that can't quite save this poor abridgement, which cuts out the original book's lively dialogue, strong conflicts, unexpected plot twists, vivid characters, and convincing motivations. What's left is plodding, flat, and trite--the reverse of anything Georgette Heyer would write. Still, the excellent reading may carry listeners all the way to the end.
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