This is the second book I have read by this author and the second I have reviewed. I've never done this before. They are the epitome of chick-lit romance. They come across as light and fluffy. The whole "Marriage to a Billionaire" tag line screams "shallow".
But the author has a way with words and a great sense of humor. Even though the plot in this book, just like in the first, is totally implausible, the characters that move the story forward are totally believable - if you take away the "billionaire" part, the repetitive fake marriage plot and the disconnected issues with the language - the American character uses Italian slang and only some of the Italian characters use any Italian and then only rarely. They sound like they are from Chicago.
The characters are complex, sympathetic, quirky and funny. Several of them have unexpected depth.
With just a little push, the author could become a really great talent. She doesn't have to give up the romance or chick-lit genre, she just needs to make her plot more plausible and realistic. Her characters are ready for it.
I enjoyed the narrator as well.
This book is actually an anti-romance. The main character is in love with a woman other than the one he marries for money. And his wife is well aware of that fact. Nevertheless they form a close and strong relationship that grows to the point that at the end the hero realizes he is with the wife best suited for him. I can't say he grows to love her and ceases to love the woman he did not marry. It is more that he accepts his lot in life and realizes it is actually a very pleasant lot.
I found it a little depressing and sad, although I don't think that was the intent. Marriages such as this were commonplace at the time among this class of individuals and we are told many were very successful. But I had a great deal of sympathy for the wife in this one. The narration was very good.
This was one of Heyer's last books. And it was the first Georgette Heyer novel I ever read. I absolutely fell in love with the book and the author. I found the book and the characters in it utterly charming. The book was full of gentle humor and unstated affection. I later learned that a stoic, thoughtful and well regarded hero and a younger, genteel, educated and mentally adept heroine is a consistent standard in her books. The woman is never who society expects the gentleman to fall for, and the gentleman seldom does either.
Her books are considered romantic, but there is little obvious romance in any of her novels, although she occasionally allows a kiss at the end of the book. This is one of those books where you see romance develop but never overtly and it is seldom recognized as romance by the parties involved.
This book includes younger children, which aren't typically included in her books. They add to the charm and bring comic relief.
If you are new to Heyer books, I heartily recommend starting with Frederica. It was wonderful.
Not my favorite Heyer book. But enjoyable. Typically Heyer wraps up her books quite neatly. The ending to this book - the final resolution, wasn't quite as smooth as I typically find in her books. Phyllida Nash is always an effective narrator on Heyer books.
Not your typical Heyer Regency because the heroine is not "quality" or even impoverished gentility. But it follows the successful formula of many of Heyer's novels, and was thoroughly enjoyable. Narration was great.
Early effort and pretty weak story. It was written in early 1990s and because of the subject matter (and the cigarette smoking) seems incredibly dated now. But there are well written moments that show this novelists future promise. I wonder when fiction ceases to be "contemporary" and becomes "historical."
All of the Cynster books Recorded Books produced with Simon Prebble narrating are worth listening to, if only to wait for and truly appreciate the way he says "... and ... then ... she ... shattered!" That alone makes these books listen-worthy. It is in every single book. Wait for it...
Devil's Bride seems to be considered Ms. Lauren's best work. I probably agree. It started off with a very unique twist, especially for an historical romance. And the two main characters are both larger than life. I give Ms. Lauren's credit for creating heroines every bit as brave and stubborn as her heroes. And I also like that in her books it is typically the man who falls first and he has to work hard to convince the woman of his dreams to take him on. I also appreciate that she puts a plot in each of her books. It may not be plausible or complicated, but it is much preferable to so many historical romances that focus solely on the relationship between the two main characters.
But again, Simon Prebble's narration alone makes this book and all of the Lauren's books he narrated worth listening to. I doubt that I would ever have picked this book up in paperback.
I was very pleasantly surprised by this book. Rob Lowe either had a talented ghost writer working with him or he is a very entertaining author. I think he actually wrote it himself. One of the things that made this most enjoyable was I listened to it on audiobook and Rob Lowe narrated it himself. He is an excellent narrator. He does gloss over a couple of events and circumstances that I wish he spent more time on, but all in all, the book was very satisfying. And he does a great impression of several of his contemporaries.
About a year before I read this book I read Robert Wagner's autobiography, You Must Remember This and after I finished Lowe's book I felt like they were bookends. I know Rob Lowe played a young Robert Wagner in the Austin Powers movies, but there are so many similarities to me, that it was almost like reading the same story, 30 years later.
I think Lowe is under-utilized in Hollywood. If he ever gets frustrated enough, he can always quit acting and write full time. He seems to have the talent to do so. I am looking forward to reading Lowe's second book. It is in my tbr stack.
I think I would like this book. I have liked the two other Dee Ernst books I have listened to. And I have several Joyce Bean narrated books in my library. She isn't on my "absolute-favorite narrator of all time list" but she is generally a good "reader". However she affects such a stereotypical New Jersey accent in this book, I could not finish it. It grated on my nerves so badly, I had to stop reading. A strong New Jersey accent is challenging to listen to even if it is authentic. This was so affected and such a caricature of the real thing, if I was from New Jersey I would be insulted.
I will probably pick up the ebook and read it eventually. It is going to take awhile for the awfulness of the audiobook to be wiped from my memory though.
If you are a huge Dee Ernst fan, the narration might be acceptable to you. If not, listener be warned.
To me, Chick-Lit describes books written about twenty-somethings. Or maybe up to mid-thirty-somethings at best. Once the main character moves beyond that age the term "chick", which is already slightly insulting, becomes even more so. But there isn't another genre to describe this, except for "Contemporary Fiction", which is entirely too vague. It definitely isn't a romance novel. There isn't much romance in it. Maybe it is a "coming of middle-aged" novel.
Whatever the label, this was a well written, enjoyable, easy to read, fluffy with just a little weight to it, book. The characters were portrayed realistically and sympathetically. Even the "bad guy", whom I suppose is the ex, had his better moments.
My only complaint was that the romantic interest comes to play at the very end of the book. It seemed to be an afterthought. I imagined an editor or publisher reading the draft and saying "This is really good, but it needs some romance", so rather than weave a romantic component throughout the book, the author added two more pages at the end of the book that dealt with the heroine's budding romance. I would have liked it better if she just left that out entirely.
I thought the narrator did a very good job. Other than the anti-climactic romance element, I really enjoyed this book and highly recommend it.
I don't think I have ever read a book about Zombies. Unless they were some minor character that I wasn't aware of before I read the book. Something in the synopsis and various reviews I read about this book though, made me want to break my no-Zombie rule and take the plunge. I am very glad it did.
This book successfully does what I think the best of the books in the Sci-Fi/Fantasy genre do. The creature or monster become the vehicle to move the plot along, rather than becoming the plot itself. Early Anne Rice books did this very well. I will probably never pick up a book where the plot is described as "a Zombie invasion takes over the earth". But a book about the devastating after affects of a world wide virus, and the human survivor's attempts to rebuild society when they face the scariest threat possible - an evolved version of themselves, will capture my attention. The fact that the evolved versions are children super-Zombies won't deter me.
I will admit that it is probably the blood and gore as Zombies feast on human flesh that bothers me the most when I think about reading Zombie books. And it seems to me that this feasting is often the purpose and the climax of the book. There was some feasting in this book. But by the time that occurred I was so caught up in the main character and her attempts to understand the world around her, that I was able to gloss over the gory parts and move on.
I followed the plot line most of the way through. I got a little confused by the wrap up explanation and felt that part was rushed. I am still not sure I understood the climax and what remained after. But the characters were well developed and understandable. I am not sure if this was intentional, but I liked that almost all of the characters had character flaws that were ambiguous at best. No one was entirely good or entirely evil.
I am very glad I read this book and highly recommend it.
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