This audio book has all the earmarks of what COULD HAVE BEEN a great book: terrific characters, humorous situations, and an interesting plot. I didn't expect great literature, but it should have been much more enjoyable. I think I might have been rolling on the the floor, at times, if someone like Judith Ivey, Isabel Keating, Renee Raudman, or Lorelei King had narrated it.
Marguerite Gavin's narration of the story wasn't bad, but it wasn't good, either. Most of her sentences came out as statements, and there was too little differentiation between character voices. As with any book set in the South (as those whom have lived, or do live there, or even visit often know) the possibilities of pitch, intonation, and accent - even within the same small town - are almost endless. Unfortunately, Ms. Gavin's reading was pedestrian when it could have been interesting and certainly more engrossing.
In addition, pronunciations could have used a little more research, i.e., bunco should have been pronounced like "bunk-o," not "Bun Co." It seems her pronunciation of New Orleans should have been closer to "Nawlins" than "New Orlins" - but perhaps I'm being too too picky. The real shame is that lines that should have been laugh-out-loud funny are performed as throw-aways. Some of the well-written (if sometimes slightly cliche) characters could have been more endearing in their eccentricity if more individuality had been given to voices and intonation.
To be fair, Ms. Gavin's narration is better in Kim Harrison's Rachel Morgan series, but as I recall, it's not set in the south, and her character voices are better varied. Even there, though, she also has a tendency to make statements out of sentences. All-in-all she's not one of my favorite narrrators, but I've heard MUCH worse.
In the first few minutes this book seemed well written but slightly droning, however at the moment the two main characters met eyes, I was gripped. (Never did I think I would use the term "gripped" to describe my reaction to a book, but nothing else quite fits.) From that instance onward, for me the book was driven by the interaction of the two main characters, Madeleine DuMais and Thomas Blackwood, spies for the British Home Service. All the other characters and even the plot to uncover the smuggling ring became more than secondary. Madeleine and Thomas were interesting and evocative central characters. The main characters and their relationship unfolded slowly and their interactions became more poignant and sensual. This was a terrific love story. It was never cliché, and in addition, plot points and details were rarely foreseeable.
Regarding the 4-stars performance rating, I felt Heather Wilds did a very good job, but not remarkable. I would have preferred stronger male voices, but her intonation was well done. The 4-stars rating for story reflect my dissatisfaction at the very end which was due to Madeleine's thought process in the last chapters: something didn't ring true to, but I'm still baffled as to quite what I found discordant. Even with only 4-stars each for both performance and story, I still rated this book with 5- stars overall because I found it that haunting.
I realize this is a confusing and somewhat ambiguous review, but my ratings stand after two listens - and I still have not deleted it from my device as I'm sure I'll listen to it again in the short-term.
I'm writing this review with a goofy grin on my face, because what can one say about an author who uses "vampire" and "chrysalis" in a sentence, and it makes perfect sense. Molly Harper is sublime.
This isn't my favorite Jane book, but that just brings it down to a solid 5-star, instead of the 5-star+ (in my head) for the previous three books. This book stands on its own: Ms. Harper does an excellent job weaving in past histories without it being jarring or disruptive: seamless. One will, of course, enjoy it even more if one has read the previous books, but that's because the characters are all so decidedly like-able (Grandma Ruthy, aside) and their inidividual stories in Jane's past are hilarious. I hope the wrap-up in this book doesn't signify the (final) end to Jane's series. If so, I have deep hope for more from the "Driving Mr. Dead" spin-off.
Amanda Ronconi, again, does a terrific job with narration, Her intonation is spot on, and her voices are specific and character-identifiable. She truly brings to life Ms. Harper's clever, funny, pleasant, witty, and entertaining writing. (Gush much?)
Brava encore to the team of Harper/Ronconi.
I couldn't possibly say enough about this book or the whole series for that matter or Amanda Ronconi's narration thereof. The book is funny - laugh out loud funny - even after several "readings." The characters are all immensely charming - even the antagonist, in her own way. When I finished this book I IMMEDIATELY listened to it again (because it was so good) and then downloaded the next one in the series.
This book is the first in the series, and it's definitely more enjoyable read in order, but they are all terrific stand-alone stories. Reading in order lets you see the progression of both an overall plot line and the interaction between characters - a repeat "ensemble" cast of endearing personalities in impossibly improbable situations.
This whole Jane Jameson series is romantic, funny, witty, clever, charming, engaging, without cliches, and never predictable. As of this writing, I have over 400 hundred titles in my Audible library and this is the book (series) that I download several times a year: my "go-to- books" when I want to listen to something I know I will enjoy - literally time after time.
Ms Ronconi's narration amps up the liveliness of Ms Harper's writing and this amazing team is the epitomy of synergy, as the "parts" are already superb. If I could give more than five stars I would - to both Ms. Harper (story) and Ms. Ronconi (narration.)
This was an okay listen, not good nor really bad. The lead male character was a definite plus and the lead female was likeable - at least at first - but the whole story dragged on and was all over the place. Also, the author spent way too much time in the land of cliche.
This book didn't know WHAT it wanted to be: murder-mystery, political intrigue, family dynamics - it covered them all, and all under the umbrella of vampire romance. Going back and forth between plot lines, and in and out of character back-stories, it ended up a braided mess, no smooth movement, and not even a real climax. As the story moved on, I lost way too much interest in Elena, was predicting too many of the plot "twists," and was underwhelmed by the abuse of cliches.
EDITING was sorely missing, and the publishers did neither the author nor the story any favors. This is the first book that's probably better ABRIDGED.
This is just a really nice romance novel: there's no mystery/suspense, sci-fi/fantasy, or plot twists and turns (not that romances WITH those things aren't good.) Every once in a while it's relaxing to listen to a straightforward, boy (re)meets girl story. The characters are pleasant, the plot is possibly probable, and the ending is sweet. It was a good way to spend roughly six hours while decorating for Christmas alone (kids at school, husband at work.)
Rebecca de Leeuw was a huge, extremely pleasant surprise. Her voices are easy to listen to (they sound nice, even in their variety,) they are character-specific (you know who's speaking) and character-appropriate (young people sound young, etc.) Her intonation and characterization are spot-on. And she has a wonderful British accent, which I assume is authentic. She doesn't sound like (bitter lemon soaked) nails on a blackboard as some (Anne Flosnik) narrators do. There's never a monotone moment, nor an overly dramatic one. Since listening to this book I have purchased two more books that she narrated and have been even more impressed with her work.
I rated this book pretty high because for a simple sweet romance I don't think you can get much better. Sure there are bigger, better books I've rated the same if not slightly lower, but they were in a different category of writing: bigger stories.
Don't let the cover turn you away, or even the title, there's a little more here than one would expect. Because of its price I paid cash, but knowing what I do now, it's definitely worth a credit, too.
This is a LOVELY book. Maggie Alderson's writing brings great characters, an interesting story line, and enough changes to keep us guessing, but still hpoping for the happy ending. Nicky Talacko's narration immediately brings a wonderful intimacy to the storytelling that draws one in fast. Her style here is different from even her other narrations and her adept handling of the emotions adds an additional, brilliant facet to the book. Very enjoyable. I wish I could find this mix of author/narrator again.
I thought this was a great story, given vampires, (explicit) romance, well written scenery, and an interesting twist on an old tale. I was captured from the first few minutes by the interaction between the two main characters. I thought the book had a nice sizzle throughout.
I would have given this audio book 5 stars had it not been for Ms. Parker's performance. Although I have certainly heard far worse narrators, she decidedly lowered my enjoyment of this novel.
Although in general, her narration was OKAY, she had little differentiation between voices (except for the two main characters.) The story takes place in the Carpathian Mountains (Eastern Europe) yet every character has an American accent (although I suppose that's preferable to potentially a poor Eastern European accent.) The worst and most distracting error in her performance was her too often (and sometimes too repetitious) mispronouciation of the author's words. She mispronounced things continually: e.g., blur became "blore", believe became "bleev", assuage became "a-sage", disbelief became "disbleef", crimson became "crimsom." It went on an on AND ON. She added consonants where they weren't required, e.g., replenTish (every single time!) She put accents on the wrong syllable: e.g., CONflagration was pronounced conFLAGration. She was careless with some of the words: nothing was continuously pronounced "nothin'". Etc., etc., etc.
Don't get me wrong, I DON"T think it's an easy job to narrate a book, especially one over 12 hours long, but did no editor at Books in Motion listen to this after Ms. Parker was finished? Don't we who listen to this genre deserve a better narration?
Let me preface this review by saying that I'm a soft-touch for a love story (with or without explicit or implied sex scenes.)
In "Capture the Rainbow" the story line and characters were predictable and cliche. However I probably would have still rated this book a "2" (see preface above) if not for the narrator. Ms. Brazil took this book down another level. I believe the audio sample must be some of her best work of the recording (which doesn't say much about her performance.) Her narration went from mildly uninteresting to downright droning by the end - or I just got so acclimated to the monotone voice and homogeneous performance that I could no longer differentiate between characters or their emotions. Her delineation of voices is minimal at best and her lack of emotion is almost laughable. On a trivial note, you could keep track of your listening hours by the improvement of her french accent and pronunciation: they were finally passable around hour five.
It seems as though BBC Audiobooks America rushed this recording into production, which doesn't make sense since the original publication date was 1984.
I purchased this recording with a 15% discount, and am SO glad I didn't waste a credit on it. My recommendation is that you save your credit and/or money, too, and pass this one by.
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