This is a great story with a heroine who despite her obscene wealth, is someone Average Jane can relate to. Take your typical love story with beautiful people and true romance, REMOVE the "beautiful" and the "romance", and what you get is surprisingly good stuff. I applaud Georgette Heyer's mix of talented writing and historic facts, and her little nods to Jane Austen are just sweet. The narration is a treat, Ms. Nash's voices are varied, consistent, and especially in the case of the character who was the Ultimate Stage Dad long before Hollywood even existed, hilarious!
If you are a Pride and Prejudice junkie, you will be horrified at seeing the P&P crew thrown into this unnecessary mess of a story. The subtle humor of the P&P tale is positioned awkwardly beside the abject horror, untouched by any possibility of laughability, of the brutal murder of a beloved, if minor character. The agony of a family watching a young man slowly dying is not exactly light reading, and the Herculean task of trying to reform Wickham from a likeable villain to a model citizen that you fervently hope will be the next victim is cruel to P&P lovers. The whole P&P crew are transformed from a cast of characters that you understand and love, into gang of empty-headed plug-uglies you would find it impossible to care less about. As for Darcy and his pleasant cousin Colonel Fitzwilliam, I promise you will not even recognize them!
If you are a mystery aficianado, your inevitable disappointment will be based on the fact that none of the heavily handled list of suspects have anything to do with the murder, and the one who did the deed had an inside story that the author did not see fit to share with you so you could have the fun of exercising your own powers of deduction.
I feel sure every P&P character, down to the lowest footman, would complain bitterly at being made a part of this affront to the memory and brilliance of Jane Austen. This story could have easily centered around any random family, the presence of the P&P crowd is not necessary in the slightest. It would not have been one bit more interesting, but at least it would not have been an abomination on top of being a deadly bore.
I took a chance on this book because it was written by a seasoned author that I was informed was a class act. This is my first experience with Ms. James, and I wanted to like this. Now all I want is my money back, but I will not pursue this option, because I deserve to pay some penalty for thinking the original Pride and Predjudice saga could be added to by anyone but J.A herself.
PS: Rosalyn Landor did a beautiful job narrating this, and I will certainly look for more of her work!!!
A fun story well-written! I especially loved the narrator's characterizations, and the sequence which involves not one, but two young high-bred gentlemen in their cups while trying to assist a possible murderer is priceless. Miss Heyer is the next best thing to Jane Austen, imho.
...but it finishes well! The hero is like those people you like, but are a little irritated with because of what appears to be simple-mindedness. But I should have known Georgette Heyer better than that! It has all the Usual Suspects, the highborn but slightly impoverished aristocrats, the beautiful daughter, the irrascible old patriarch, disappointed Second Son, and assorted dandies, caustic-tongued young men, and pink-cheeked innocents. Stir in some mysterious ghostly doings, and a nice bit of history, and this story is most palatable.
The story is achingly sweet, sad, and triumphant, and the narration is a marvel. How can such a long story be told so quickly and with so much detail that you feel as if have been in another world for days with it's short telling is done? The narration is superb and endearing.
This story starts out plodding, and it continues to plod for a long time. If I were not a rabid Wodehouse fan, and a great admirerer of Psmith as well, I would have abandoned it long before the end. This one is not for Wodehouse beginners, I think.
Very disappointed with this narrator. Many "verbal typos"! At one point, Anne even seems to refer to Matthew Cuthbert as "no good" when she actually said "so good". Just one of the many mistakes that made it impossible for me to finish listening!
Anthony Heald does this gem of a story much justice! His voices are spot on, and it is magical the way the voice of Wang Lung gradually changes with his age. The narration is done with all the flavor, pathos and gentle humor that this marvelous book contains. The characters are gorgeously expressed, be they young or old men, quiet or clamorous women, or naughty or nice children. You will love this story and the storyteller equally!
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