Best: I'm not sure I liked anything 'best', but I can see how it makes a good set up for the series.Least: The narrator
There was some good history and a twist to the end that shed some light on the character of Maisie Dobbs.
A good narrator is nearly invisible in his or her reading and the listener forgets that they are being told a story, the narrator makes them a part of it. My experience with this novel was the opposite. I was painfully aware of the narrator in this reading. Thankfully this is the only book in the series that she has read. I'm glad I was using Whispersync for this book, as I got to read more than listen.
First, have you noticed when a new television series begins that during the first episode or two, maybe, the writers attempt to introduce the characters in such a way that you feel you know them intimately by the second episode? In doing so they throw everything at you and it is overacted in a way that seems like charicature. Good writers are better at this than most and there are a few series that I have heard are very good, but I won't know because I gave up after the first episode. This book was a bit like that for me with both the characters and the philosophy. A little too much of the 'new age' chit-chat and reasoning, and maybe it is because I am immersed in that every day and meditation, empathy, mirroring, intuition and Buddhist philosophy of the self are things that I don't need spelled out for me, but might have been left for me to inuit, sort of bugged me a little. It seemed to me that the author was newish to this and wanted to throw everything she knew about mindfulness into a novel. I also felt that the characters were not left to be as complex as they could be because so much of who they are was spelled out for me. Having said that, I'm hoping that with all the introductions out of the way the series will go on and be more about mysteries and that in already knowing the characters there will be a familiarity that will leave Ms. Winspear to write the story and less the characters. That is what I love about series like Her Royal Spyness, Flavia de Luce, Amelia Peabody and others. We know what the character is thinking in only a few words of dialogue and can nod knowingly or chuckle in understanding.
I only listened to part of this book and then I read the rest on my Kindle. While I think the story was fine for an Outlander novella and enjoyed it, the audio quality wasn't that great. I downloaded the book to the app on my phone and it had its issues, there were inconsistencies in the volume, it kept fading in and out. So I finished it on my kindle app and either that was formatted incorrectly or there were some mistakes in the text, whether in the writing or the transcribing, I don't remember them as being characteristic of Gabaldon's writing, but I usually listen and may have missed them.I did enjoy the narrator and overall it was a quick and enjoyable read.
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