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If you want to read good period historic fiction, this is a rough way to do it. This is my first Gabaldon book, and I had high expectations. I kept thinking that any moment it would get complex and colorful. Nope. If you are a fan of Phillipa Gregory's work, this hardly even pales in comparison. My title says it all, slow and predictable. The narration is plodding as well. All in all, a waste of a credit.
I loved learning about the early history of St. Petersberg, briefly the lives of the Czar and his wife, and the role St. Petersberg played in the Jacobite era of English history. The modern day romance was predictable, but the Jacobite era story was a satisfying continuation of the first book. The narrator was very loud and strident and didn't match the personality of the modern day heroine at all. Her accents were good, though, and I give her lots of credit for pulling off English, Scottish and Russian accents quite well. It is very hard to not compare this series to Diana Gabaldon's work. It pales next to that, but if you have finished all of Gabaldon and long for more, this is a reasonable replacement. Also, if you are interested in telepathic communication, you may find this interesting.
This is probably entertaining to people who live and thrive in New York City. Lots of place names and iconic experiences, etc. But GAWD so much language, narrative, exposition and flat GOING ON AND ON AND ON. This story could have been told in a quarter the time with far more impact, not to mention far more entertaining. With 9 hours still to go - I was determined to finish because a friend liked it - I started fast forwarding through the mini chapters and found I only needed to hear the first minute of each to follow the thread of the story just fine. I wish I'd discovered that way earlier in the listen. And really, it is hard to care about someone who is such an unremittingly bleak and clueless character. I got so tired of his uttering "Huh?" and "Sorry?" when the most obvious thing in the world is going on. Good lord preserve me from this sort of droning on, existential, dark naval gazing. Run while you can.
This is by far the best fiction I've listened to or read in my lifetime. You cannot go wrong with this entire series, "The Australian Trilogy," of which this is the first book. Bryce Courtney is a genius storyteller, and this history of the founding of Australia is pin-you-to-your-chair riveting listening. Humphrey Bower is masterful in his narration. I understand he narrates all of Courtney's work, and I can see why. Get this book and enjoy!!
What if witches, demons and vampires were all around us, leading day to day "normal" lives? What if they faced discrimination because of who they are and had to hide their true identities? What if witches fought among themselves for old secrets and lost power? What if vampires had a strong moral sense and a powerful sense of family? What if they were all dying out? That's the set up for this well told, beautifully read adventure in magic and time travel. Witches and vampires as scholars at Oxford and Yale, and demons as geeks, artists and sweet oddballs. Throw in the search for an ancient and spellbound alchemical text, and you have the first volume in Debra Harkness' "All Souls Trilogy." Great story that I never wanted to end - thank heavens for the "Shadow of Night" - and masterfully narrated by Jennifer Ikeda.
What if witches, demons and vampires were all around us, leading day to day "normal" lives? What if they faced discrimination because of who they are and had to hide their true identities? What if witches fought among themselves for old secrets and lost power? What if vampires had a strong moral sense and a powerful sense of family? What if they were all dying out? That's the set up for this well told, beautifully read adventure in magic and time travel. Witches and vampires as scholars at Oxford and Yale, and demons as geeks, artists and sweet oddballs. Throw in the odd human as the Queen of England, the Duke of North Umberland and William Shakespere and you have Debra Harkness's "All Souls" trilogy of which this is the second book. Read "Discovery of Witches" first. It's a great read and makes this book even better. The narrator for both is outstanding!
Yes, another great piece of historical fiction told by the incomparable Phillipa Gregory. She combines exhaustive historical research with masterful story telling.
No, I wanted to make it last and last. I was sorry when it ended.
Gregory's inclusion of magic and intuition as legitimate expressions of female power during a time when women were all but stripped of any power is compelling and beautifully rendered. This story of Jaquetta Woodville, a little known character in the back story of the "War of the Roses" is simply stunning. Anyone interested in English history of the 15th century is in for a delicious adventure with this work.
I read The Poet Prince, the third book in this series, first and enjoyed it immensely. That led me to want to read the preceding two. While this book provides interesting insight into the Mary Magdelene information, I didn't enjoy the writing as much as the third book. The characters are fairly shallow, and the emphasis on designer clothes and expensive malls and hotels is trite and boring. All that quickly became something to simply get through in order to get to the meat of the information regarding the Mary Magdelene cults, about which I think Ms. McGowan has done some great research. The Poet Prince is a more engaging story with the same characters more skillfully drawn as well as fascinating characters and information from Renaissance Florence. I will read the second book, The Book of Love, rather than listen to Linda Stephens again.
The reader was far to "prim" sounding in general while her tortured attempts at the various accents were just painful to listen to. In addition, her phrasing and tempo of McGowan's writing sounded completely off. She often split phrases meant to follow one and other as one thought, and most of the time she read the material far too slowly and affectedly. I will buy the next one as a book and read it myself.
A much better read than a listen, I'm sure.
The narrator for the third book in this series, The Poet Prince, is excellent.
I have already recommended this book to all of my "books on tape" friends who enjoy a good tale. The writing is fantastic, the story or I should say stories within the story are expertly told, and the narrators fantastic. The complex characters are wonderfully and believably developed, and the locations, a dim and crowded,antiquarian book shop in London ,and rambliing old manor houses in the North of England, are vividly brought to life. I found the story full of interesting plot surprises,not predictable at all, thank heavens. All very believable, though, and true to the time period.
I'd like to go back and listen again because now some of the early events will have so much more meaning. I love the image of Margaret climbing around in the old ruin of the Angelfield manor house and of her exploring the old, overgrown gardens. And then there's the image of the twins stealing the perambulator with the baby inside and Adeline sailing off down the hill!
I have only listened to short clips of Bianca Amato reading from the White Queen. She is really a pleasure to listen to. I've not listened to Jill Tanner in anything else. She was wonderful here, simply fantastic as Vida Winter. She WAS Vida Winter!
It would be Vida Winter's doctor years after the events in the story. He would have so much background information about Miss Winter's later life and household, and he might feel freer to tell me all about it after years have passed. Or I might go have a pint with John the Dig, simply because he was such a very good and honest man who knew his way around a garden.
If you like an excellent story, you will not regret buying The Thirteenth Tale.
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