I did not find it easy to settle in to this story. I found the narrator's tone too artificial somehow and while the story itself was plausible enough it was also a bit predictable and I nearly gave up a couple of times.
I didn't give up though, hearing it through to the end to learn what the aunt considered to be the most valuable gift. In some ways the story was heartwarming and I grew to like the characters better by the story's end. This is not a book I'd jump up and down to recommend but it's a solid enough story.
Generally, I find Nora Roberts a good storyteller and I have enjoyed some of her books a great deal. This was not one of them. I am guessing this was one of her earliest books, referring as it does (in the story) to old technology like Walkmans. The writing is awkward, saccharine and immature. But the worst part of all was the narrator, whose voice sounded like something from a 1950's movie. Every time the narrator said one of the main character's names -- "Skimmerhorn" -- in that breathless little voice I wanted to smack her, so awful and contrived did it come across. And seriously: who would name a character Skimmerhorn anyway?
Everything. Her voice(s) and "over performance", her pacing. Sandra Burr was absolutely awful and I will go out of my way to avoid any book narrated by her in the future.
If you're a fan of Nora Roberts current books, I would strongly encourage you to avoid this older book with it's stereotyped, flat characters, silly dialogue and boring-as-hell storyline. It is terribly dated and a real waste of a credit. I could not finish it.
This story is beautifully crafted and told. The characters are so real, I feel as if I know them personally and the story is utterly believable. It is a worthy study of the human character, flaws and all. I strongly recommend it.
Save your money or credits for something more worth listening to ... this is as trite as it comes.
This is a thoroughly engaging story. Not particularly original, not serious literature, but an enjoyable story that keeps the listener's attention. I am not a fan of the sound effects that were sporadically added, and think it might have benefited from a couple of additional voices for the various characters, but all in all, a good listen I would highly recommend.
Initially, I thought I'd chosen a dud. It took a little while to get into the story, but it did ultimately engage me and overall, I enjoyed it.
The author employs every tired cliché she can think of and the story is utterly predictable.
Sheer utter boredom
Save your credits and spend them on a more worthy author/narrator.
I found the summary misleading in that it suggests the central tale is about the breaking of horses. That storyline exists, yes, but it serves more as a backdrop to the story of a young woman's emergence into adulthood, than as the main theme.
Early on we learn a little of the hard life and humble expectations of Martha, a young woman who has a better understanding of her four legged friends than of the people around her. As Martha works to break a group of horses (with a gentleness she herself has never really known) the community into which she is drawn also gently nudges her to see beyond the narrow boundaries of her expectations for herself. As the horses blossom, so does Martha, in a quiet, undramatic and yet thoroughly compelling
The narrator, while having a pleasant enough voice, was too clipped and abrupt for my liking and I found there were times when it distracted from the story itself.
I enjoyed the characters and story overall and found it an engaging listen, though the bad guy was a touch too predictable and the romance a touch too trite. I would like the author to have more fully fleshed out the characters of some of the supporting cast instead of just the two leads, but overall, a good read/listen.
This was such a classic & much beloved story in my mother's era that I downloaded it out of sheer curiosity and desire for a good meaty story that I could get into and stay with for a good long while. Sadly, it is so slowly paced that I eventually gave up entirely and didn't quite finish the audiobook - a rarity for me.
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