I got this book mainly for the history. I thought getting the history via an exciting yarn would be good. The story line and characters are good, but part I goes very slowly as the family characters develop, Too many pages with little action or adversity to grab you. Part II made listening to Part I worth it, that is, for an ok read. The narrator does a respectable job.
I think one should know that the main characters, the Grimke sisters, did exist and did the things the book describes. The author tells that in the epilogue. I would save the details of the true story to the last, where the author places it. But, knowing Sarah Grimke was a real person takes away any doubt you have as a listener that the story is realistic.
We listened to this book as we drove across the country to visit the battlefield. There is nothing bad to say about the book. Assuming one has not studied the battle, one learns a tremendous amount.
Someone recommended Benjamin Black. I wish I remembered who it was so I would know to ignore them next time round. The atmosphere is dark. The characters, all of them, are unattractive people. The protagonist is by far the most unpleasant, with snide remarks and axes to grind; he is unnecessarily obtuse with his family, making driving everyone nuts. A depressed alcoholic. His only arguably redeeming quality is his book long effort to discover what happened to the baby Christine. But, it's an obsession that seems out of character.
The narrator is a famous actor with a beautiful deep voice. But his narration, which fits the book's style, is harsh and, for me, it became tiresome, almost oppressive.
Why did I persist in listening to the whole book. Well, I'm rather ashamed of myself for thinking so little of the value of my time. But, I'm retired.
I expected a story of Australia. And yet, the first third (almost) of the book is spent in London. The intrigues abounded and when I realized that much of what I read had actually happened. The story grew, the characters expanded into the most interesting people. As with many of the best audio books, the narration is so very good, reminiscent of Simon Vance's performance of David Copperfield.
I've liked all of the Shardlake books for their history and cleverness, Crossely is a great narrator. He, of course, is Matthew Shardlake, I wouldn't be able to listen to a Shardlake book if Crossely wasn't the narrator. I did think this book was a bit too long.
I found the story a good one. I did not find the premise to be plausible though I see some reviewers did not. The writing style was fine. Nothing special but straightforward.
The protagonist is as the Audible blurb says, “deeply flawed.” I second that. He isn’t a drunk as many detectives are. I was going to call him a sociopath, but checking the traits of sociopaths (sometime charming, delusional), he isn’t that. I think antisocial fits the bill. He doesn’t like anyone. He is rude. He is lazy and irresponsible for the first half of the book. As the book nears its end, he improves a bit, but he really isn’t the least bit likeable.
I give the narrator a rating of 4. Overall, he is excellent. The one downside is that the Danish accents he affects makes is hard to distinguish one character from another. One reviewer suggests simply using the narrator’s native English. Still, the Danish accent does give the English listener a Danish ambience, which is nice.
Memoirs read by the author are special. Amanda L. does a good job telling her story. Amanda, and others who travel the world with reckless disregard of others, engender mixed feelings in me.
One gets an intimate view of what it is like to be a hostage. Things that occur are not surprising to anyone who reads the news but an unflinching first hand account. Amanda L. has taken an amazing tour of some of the most dangerous places in the world. One cannot help admire her bravery and inquisitiveness.
That said, I could not help but be troubled by her trip to Somalia. She admits it was a mistake, but most would have known that at the outset. She put her family through a terrible ordeal. She endangered others.
I didn't and don't dislike her. I admire her and I admire the work she has done since her release to help the women of Somalia. Still, my admiration is tinged with a bit of sadness that these events occurred.
The book is well worth a listen.
A bit too long is my only complaint. Well, also, for me the book wasn't the equal of "I've Got Your Number" and "Can You Keep a Secret?".
I’m a big fan of Donna Leon so I had to try this book. First, I listened to an hour of the book. Then I went to other pursuits. Two months later, I tried again and made it all the way by stubborn perseverance. While well written and wonderfully narrated, the story is simply not very interesting. One follows the protagonist’s research about an 18th century composer/prelate of sorts, which I found I didn’t care about. The protagonist’s travails as the hired researcher to go through the papers of the composer are only mildly interesting. I’ll stick with Bruneti.
I love Willig's other books. This one, however, didn't do it for me. Too much romance, too little history.
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