It's hard to believe that that this book got written. Collins & Lapierre have left no stone unturned. Everyone, whether a big or a small player in this dramatic story, has been interviewed. As a result, the book is a gripping account not of just the big event - the liberation of Paris - but the hundreds of people involved and their emotions, actions and rationale during the days and weeks leading up to the Allied forces entering the city.
The reader is somewhat arch and this detracts somewhat from the story - but not very much and I wouldn't let that deter you. It's a wonderful tale that reads almost like a novel. And it's very intense.
This is not a violent or horrifying war story. It is horrifying because it is war, it is children, it is waste, but Doerr has written one of the most beautiful, moving and lyrical novels I've read in years.
Zach Appelman's narration added immeasurably to the experience of reading this book. His inflections, sympathetic tone, and clear intention to sweep us forward and into the story made this a wonderful listen.
The narrator is pretty good but the story is so annoying - because the main character is so annoying. I'm assuming she must be gorgeous because I cannot imagine another reason why any of the men in the story want to spend time with her. There seem to be no women in her life which is perhaps not surprising; she's endlessly self-reflective and self-absorbed and thinks of no one but herself.
The story is wonderful but the narrator - he's just awful! Every single sentence is uttered breathlessly. He speaks as if there is an exclamation point at the end of every sentence. I can no longer listen to him so am splurging and buying the actual book to read.
The fact that the book is written from a teenager's point of view (or at least much of it is) doesn't mean that the narrator should read it as if it is a children's novel.
I have generally hated P&P spinoffs -- too wordy, too internally focused and generally poorly written.
Not this one. Jo Baker is a literary writer and this novel stands on its own , as absorbing and interesting (even without the modest involvement of the P&P characters). These people have real lives, real struggles and problems and loves, and we sympathize with their strategic and hopeful efforts to maximize their future security and happiness. The Napoleonic Wars may not have had much effect on the Bennets, but it's very present for the lower classes, where the men were strongly urged to enlist without any understanding of the horrors of that war.
The limited glimpses we see of the Bennet family seems to round them out into real people, too -- Elizabeth is still a very nice person and generally considerate mistress, but it is clear that her maid's happiness and security is never really on her mind except as it pertains to Elizabeth's comfort. This is probably an accurate depiction of women such as she. Mrs. Bennet's efforts to have a male child - over and over and over - elicit some real sympathy for her and deepen our understanding of the source of her current flightiness.
I loved this book.
One of the best - and most gripping - biographies I have ever read. The reader is excellent - even his approximation of various accents is good and not distracting.
Good and gossipy, if not always accurate (of course, it's Lowe's story so he can tell it however he wants to tell it). And, of course, the narration is excellent.
Simply excellent, on all levels. Even better than Seabiscuit (and that's saying a lot!).
I don't understand why people who try to piggy-back onto Austen's works keep missing one of the most obvious aspects of Austen's writing: Austen NEVER tells us what a character is thinking, only what they are doing and saying. And they always miss the sly humor Austen brought to her characters, especially in Pride and Prejudice.
This books suffers from those same faults (this Darcy is absolutely not Austen's austere Darcy; he's more mushy. And, this Elizabeth is downright boring. ). That being said, it's PD James so it's an OK listen. It does drag a bit here and there. .
Carolly Erickson doesn't write intensely detailed political history; it's personal history and this is what you get with this book. But this book is quite interesting and the narrator is excellent (as Mr. Runger always is - e.g., listen to his reading of "Endurance" and you will be hooked on him forever).
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