I bought this book because I absolutely love "The Help." The premise for this story is really interesting, about an Irish orphan girl who lives and works with slaves on a plantation. But I had to stop listening to "The Kitchen House" because it devolved into a series of awful, terrible, sickening events--and dread about what horrible thing would happen next. Yuck, give me a break.
This is one of those books that will stay with me, like a charm or maybe a dream. It is one of the most poignant stories I've ever heard/read about how lives are affected by war. In this case, WWII. I will never think of that war--or of France and Germany--the same way again. And I'll remember these characters as if they had been real.
I enjoyed this on so many levels. McKinty has created a great character here and succeeded in realistically depicting the culture and the politics of Ireland during The Troubles. He brings it alive. I can't wait for the next in this series.
I enjoyed the first in the series, mainly because the focus was more on the very-likable main character and his life as an actual wizard working in Chicago alongside the police. I'm not a fan of the blood-and-gore schtick and tiptoed my way through that part of book one. No way to avoid it in the blood bath that is the second book in this series. Yuck! No thanks.
Sorry to be one of the only naysayers, but this book is so shallow that I can't continue listening to it. Its cardboard characters include over-the-top, really-evil villains sneaking around and manipulating and blackmailing upstanding people who may not be perfect but have integrity and are, for the most part, sympathetic characters. Everybody seems to be sexually charged, and some of them are hopping in the sack on a regular basis. The plot, with its flashbacks, etc, doesn't engage me at all. Think goofy soap opera. Call me cynical, but I'm guessing this plot-driven story was written specifically to be a bestseller. Obviously this is what happened, because a lot of people have given it rave reviews. Whatever...
This book reveals the lives and mindsets of house slaves in early 1800s Charleston. Also: Its enduring (and endearing) characters were pioneers in the antislavery and women's rights movements. The main characters, the Grimke sisters, are based on real people. But this isn't just history; it is elegant, memorable literature.
Why haven't I heard about Louise Penny before? I absolutely love her storytelling. Distinctive characters portrayed with wit and insight into the human condition, a sense of community and place that made me feel I was there (and wanted to be there), a story line that kept me happily tuned in and guessing. My only negative was the narrator. I know, I know--everyone else gives him five stars. But initially I had a dickens of a time "hearing" him and figuring out which of the characters was speaking. I even tried listening to the audio book at half speed. I think it's the steady cadence of his speech and the fact that he seems to drop the last words of sentences. He seems to "read" rather than to act or portray the characters with different voices. I persevered (glad I did), and towards the last part of the book I began getting used to his style of speaking and could follow him better. I realized this required intense listening, rather than the more casual listening I can do when the narrator is using different, or at least more distinct, voices for each character. Now that I have this down, I may re-listen to the book because I know I missed things in the beginning.
I listened to this to the end and found it to be interesting, with some good (though at times, didactic) information about legal proceedings. But I felt frustrated that the investigatory part of this legal case was so thin. Key elements of the investigation were shallow, taken at face value, and not delved into or nailed down. It drove me crazy. Many possible explanations and variables weren't addressed at all. Going to court with such thin evidence seemed implausible to me. On the plus side, a couple of the characters were interesting.
This could have been an interesting listen, but the narrator was not right for it. This needs someone like the narrator for the Harry Potter series, someone who uses inflection and emphasis and wit and differentiates among characters. But this voice churns along with the same tone, on and on. Too bad.
The characters, the sense of place, the plot combined to make a world that engrossed me. It is long, but I didn't want it to end.
I was intrigued throughout this story. It was smart, often funny, evocative writing. Much about the characters seemed real, especially the dysfunctional Irish family. As the mystery unfolded, I gained insights into how the lives of people in a family are forever intertwined, for good or ill.
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