Told from the viewpoints of sisters in an impoverished family with ties to the ballet, the story is surprisingly charming and engrossing -- I say surprisingly because I'm not interested in ballet and don't usually read period fiction. The narrator has a pleasant voice with a likable personality. I would call this elevated light entertainment - you won't learn anything but you won't feel like you've wasted your time on utter fluff, either.
I wasn't expecting much - I like to download a few undemanding fluff-books for when I am out walking my dog. But this fails to deliver even that. The plot is less than banal, the writing is poor and repetitive, and as other reviewers have noted, the whole thing is made still worse by the extremely annoying narrator. The inappropriate, constant happy twinkle in her voice is hard to take.
This was just spectacularly amusing, well written, well read, with an unexpected depth and wealth of characters and story lines. I have no idea why I bought this, but it was my lucky day. The apparent story -- the queen of England decides to "run away" and experience one ordinary normal excursion - is only the thread that holds together the stories of several persons all associated with the palace staff in one way or another. The narrator manages to render all of them compellingly, and even the silly-seeming plot is told in a charming way. I can't think of anyone who would not enjoy this story.
I read volume 1 out of curiosity and found it reasonably diverting so thought I would try the audio version for volume 2. Not a good idea. In part the book just does not lend itself to being read aloud -- all those email exchanges are unbearably tedious to listen to (from: to: subject:). And the narrator is completely unsuitable, sounds like they grabbed some girl at random from a high school parking lot. Her male voices are headache-inducingly awful and incompetent, the main guy sounds especially ridiculous, she can't even sustain the same voice for more than one sentence, so you have no idea who is talking. It would be better if she had just spoken in her normal voice. Maybe she's secretly a feminist offended by the book and trying to put us off it? That's the only theory I can come up with to explain this terrible performance.
Obviously this is not War and Peace, but if you are looking for a few light-hearted hours or some good distraction in stressful waiting rooms or while traveling, this is perfect. The characters are well drawn, and the performance is delightful. I gave it five stars within its genre. Amusing without being dumb. This one is worth its credit.
Yes, I think I would, and that's saying a lot because I almost never listen to or read books a second time.
It's actually quite unique. On the one hand it is obviously absurd, but it never leaves the realm of the just-barely-possible. You are constantly thinking - yes, there ARE people like this, and they MIGHT do things like this. It's not like someone waking up as a cockroach...And, despite their overall weirdness, you grow to like and care about each of the characters.
What I actually liked best was that there were several instances where I thought I had reached the end of the book - only to discover that it was another plot turn and the story continued to yet another fabulous entertaining chapter.
I almost didn't buy this book because it sounded too weird. What a mistake that would have been. This is definitely one of the best books I have ever read, EVER. You can read it on many levels, think about it - or not - be surprised and entertained and moved. Trust me. Get this one.
This is just not her best book - I have listened to and enjoyed all the others, but this one is not on the same level.
It's OK - noone can hit a home run every time. Her other books are great.
I didn't even listen to the end.
I won't blame the reader, I'm sure she did her best, but this book was hopeless.
I just purchased The Heart and the Fist
I would cut the whole book
There is no plot, no tension, the characters are one dimensional. I bought it principally because I love Maine, but there wasn't even any local description that I could have enjoyed. Just a boring story about a family - slightly dysfunctional but not enough to hold my interest.
The introduction, while a tad too long, does help by explaining the method and the underlying rationale. By the end of the second lesson you can see that it works, that the pace of the repetitions mixed with new combinations actually does enable you to remember the words.
Once is definitely enough, but for
If they are looking for something light, that you can put down and pick up again when you feel like it, then yes. For me it was perfect as a dog-walking accompaniment.
She has a great voice, a real asset to the book.
I would not make a film out of this.
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