Cave Creek, AZ USA | Member Since 2007
After having read a half dozen books on Lady Jane Grey's extremely short reign as Queen of England, it's refreshing to finally come across one where her place in history is kept in its proper perspective. And the bios of her two much more interesting sisters is an added bonus. The narrator's voice is perfect for this kind of book, moving the story along at just the right pace. Almost nothing has been written on Jane's sister Kathryn and what little on Mary made more of her disability than the remarkable woman herself. The author provides a well-researched historical account of three tragic lives which is both informative and entertaining.
The first book in this series, "Only Time Will Tell", was well-written with great characters, interesting plot lines, and the perfect narration using both a female AND male narrator to seamlessly blend the two main characters accounts. (Well-matched narrators with quality recording production is the often overlooked cornerstone in well-produced audiobooks.)
So it was with great anticipation that I began the second installment of "The Clifton Chronicles". I'd already added all of the series to my Audible "Wish List" thinking that it would be another masterpiece in sweeping generational sagas, second only to John Galsworthy's series, "The Forsyte Saga". However, this book should have titled "NOTHING OF SUBSTANCE"! It is nothing more than 10 wasted hours, culminating in a lame kitschy cliff-hanger not worthy of a writer like Jeffrey Archer. This book is a long, disjointed, meandering tease written to get readers to buy Book 3. I wish I'd read the Audible synopsis of the third book which overtly and unabashedly reveals the secret and major conflict that took Archer 10 hours NOT to resolve in Book 2. I ended up skipping more than half of chapters, eventually going right to the last one, which turned out to be disappointing. If you've read Book 1 with its engaging cliff-hanger at the end, just skip this one and spend your credit or money on Book 3. As for me, stick a fork in me - I'm DONE with "The Clifton Chronicles"!
I love all of Charles Todd's books, having read 5 of this series. However, this story was just too incredulous for words! It's hard to believe that a nursing sister and a military officer would go tearing around the English countryside looking for a missing injured soldier whom the Army and Scotland Yard is chasing. This, in the middle of a war, as if both of these people couldn't be better utilized elsewhere. I get that Bess wants to save her reputation since the soldier went AWOL on her watch but to waste resources like gasoline trying to outdo the criminal investigators already on the case is a bit much.
I would shorten it. The story is a compelling and interesting one. However, there's too much unnecessary information which adds nothing. Also the dialogue is contrived and written as if this is a fiction novel rather than a true account.
The heroic survivor Jans Baalsrud. His courage and faith was incredible.
Maybe. However, I didn't like him in this work because his tone is too cavalier, almost as if he's reading a fairy tale like "Hansel and Gretel" to a group of transfixed school children.
Overall, this was a great inspiring story of courage under the worst conditions ever. An abridged version would keep the listener engaged. In the hard copy, at least one can scan through and/or skip irrelevant pages.
If the subject matter was even remotely interesting. Gerard Bevan was a boring one-dimensional person. No wonder it is "a forgotten story..."!
It's way too long and contains too much boring minutiae.
If the book itself was worth listening to.
I spent several hours trying to figure out why this book was even written. Finally I had to put myself out of my misery and just stop listening to it. To go on was like plunging a rusty fork in my eye! I see now why no one had rated or reviewed it on either Audible or Amazon. The only redeeming thing is if you suffer from insomnia. It WILL definitely put you to sleep!
This is a surprising well-researched account of the not-so-exciting but gory cold-blooded murder of a husband perpetrated by his Bible-thumping wife and her "chaste" religious lover. (Apparently, kissing, necking, heavy petting, and even oral sex isn't REALLY cheating on one's spouse among the white upper echelon!) Wifey was more ashamed of flirting and inappropriate touching than she was of the prolonged, bloody beating of her husband (suspected weapon: a CROWBAR, purchased by her "Boo" right before the crime!
The interesting thing is that these two squares almost got away with the "perfect crime", but were finally brought down after more than 20 years, thanks to a new Cold Cse Squad! Of course, Wifey initially blamed the crime on the "usual two black men in masks" who just happened to show up in her bedroom in the middle of the night to kill her hubby for no apparent reason. The author does a great job giving an indepth and upbeat account of a really senseless crime. The reader can tell that even the author ain't buying it! Especially since the two "lovers" never spoke again after the crime, each going on with "life after murder" like white people do: Harvard MBA, marrying well, excelling spectacularly in business, making COO, multi-million dollar homes, trips around the world, and every day suburban tasks like taking the kiddies to soccer and piano practice. But being such religious people, each should have known that "God don't like ugly" and their indiscretion was just around the corner, waiting to pounce upon them when the time was right!
Ever since my days of "Nancy Drew", I've always been a big devotée of true crime. However, recently the books in the genre have been weak. Are we readers becoming jaded all of a sudden? This book is a rare find! Totally enjoyable with righteous retribution in the end! This, in spite of all-white juriy and an outrageously expensive legal "dream team", including the flamboyant Kennedy family lawyer Mickey Sherman! Unfortunately, the cards are stacked against the lily white defendants. Nobody will walk but, with a bit of luck and a heap of divine intervine, JUSTICE does often prevail and these cold-blooded killers could have hope of seeing their kids! A hope forever denied the victim, a father of 3 - particularly since one of his eyeballs flew across the bedroom during the savage predatory, lying-in-wait, blitz attack- an unprevoked attack premeditated for weeks! Good stuff!
I get what authors were trying to to here - create a "prequel" to what is widely known about gangster Al Capone, by making up a fictional account of the first 25 years of Capone's life by setting up reasons for Capone's sociopathic behavior later when he took over the Chicago mob. The problem is that the Balsamo's don't have the least sense of what "literary license" means. They just made up things which belie credibility. How are we to believe that a seasoned Mafia leader like Johnny Torrio quaked in the presence of a 15 year-old Capone who was just an errand boy at the time? The episodes of Capone's crude sexual behaviors are more of what is expected of an adolescent - not the lead-in to the St. Valentine's Day Massacre! That's like writing a story about Ted Bundy as a 10 year old killing animals, masterbating, setting fires, and wetting the bed! Who cares? It's just a back-story to the really gory stuff! This could have been a good effort if more time had been spent in research so that the Balsamo's would not found the need to make up things that just don't make sense. Not worth the price of admission! 👎
Anyone who pays for this audiobook probably believes the biggest P.T. Barnum "humbug" of all times - that he is the man who said "There's a sucker born every minute"! The quote is by David Hannum ABOUT Barnum! But whomever published this mess is at the head of the "sucker" line!
This is just a jumble of antiquated nonsense that not only failed to stand the test of time, but likely wasn't that interesting when Barnum originally wrote it down. Or maybe it was interesting to him. Barnum, play your position and stick with what you know - clowns, elephants, and peanuts is your thing! Leave the literary efforts to......well, the literate! Bah, Humbug! 😝👎
This is a great and interesting subject matter. However, it is absolutely not TWELVE-PLUS HOURS interesting!!! Much of the book is repetitive and unnecessary. I saw the documentary based on this work a couple of years ago. It is much, much better than this book! This is truly a account "better served abridged"! Or see if it is still available on Netflix and save almost 10-1/2 hours of your life!
It is such a great honor for me to be the first Audible.com member to review this book. It was with much trepidation combined with excitement, earlier this year, I read the print version of this book about slavery in Britain. The fourth in the author's Dr. Thomas Silkstone series was released in July, but I was lucky enough to get an Advanced Readers Copy (ARC) directly from the publisher. And now I get a second swipe at the brass ring with the audio version! WOW!!!
As a black American, I was curious to learn more about a barely documented part of British history. About 8 pages in, I was so taken aback by a certain scene that I was "thisclose" to abandoning this effort. But, just like passing a bad wreck on the highway, you don't want to look at the carnage, yet you just can't turn away! I'm so glad that I stuck it out.
Much of the subject matter - black magic, voodoo, obeah, etc. - was not new to me, especially as it pertains to enslaved Africans. But I knew nothing about the horrible conditions that existed among enslaved and free blacks in England during this era. However, author Tessa expertly presents a sensitive and uncomfortable issue without interjecting "political correctness" - a habit among white authors that I find to be unnecessary when recounting actual historical facts to a present day audience. Who are alleged "PC" writers trying to protect? As black people, we still feel the pain of oppression whether it is "n-word" or "nigger" being bandied about! "A rose by any other name......" etc.
Tessa Harris does a magnificent job here. As usual in her Silkstone series, the reader is educated on a little known part of history that had a major impact on a small segment of the English population. Yes, there were some parts that were very difficult for me as a black person - they will be just as uncomfortable for ANY human being who claims to be compassionate, fair, and non-racist. But, this novel is well-researched, while being both shocking and plausible. Dr. Silkstone continues to be a respected and likable person with the returning characters still well-developed. The villains are despicable and the heroes sympathetic. Even the black characters are finely drawn with none of the disturbing stereotypes which often pollute such stories.
That said, all of the above goes right out the door in the cliff-hanger ending! I swear I didn't see it coming! I was left with my jaw in my lap, mad because now I have to wait another year for the next installment! I was so distraught that it took a double Black Jack with beer back to steady my nerves - and I don't even drink! Pretty much like MC Hammer totally changed the landscape of rap music with his 1990 eye-popping, nerve-jarring "Please Hammer Don't Hurt 'Em" tour , Tessa Harris really "hurt" me with this book! But it is a "hurt" that's so good, I can't wait for more!
I was so impressed by this work that I purchased from Audible.com, where I usually buy books. That is not the norm for me - once around the park is usually enough. However, how could I pass up the second "go-round" when one of my Top 3 narrators, SIMON VANCE, is onboard here as he was on "The Anatomist's Apprentice", "The Dead Shall Not Rest", and "The Devil's Breath". Just as I expected, the incomparable Mr. Vance's mellifluous voice adds critical layers and textures which make the Dr. Silkstone audio series so outstanding and addictive. Thanks for TWO great literary rides, Ms. Harris!
I absolutely LOVED all of the previous books in this series! When I saw that a new one was available, I didn't bother with the reviews - I just purchased it. The characters are still well-developed and narrator Katherine Kellgren continues in her masterful vien. But the story falls flat here. First, I like British novels because.....well, they take place in the UK! This one has our familiar crew in the U.S. with not so believeable "American" characters. I don't like my posh aristocrats mixed in with "cowboys" and one-dimensional "Hollywood" players. Even "Charlie Chaplin" was lame in his cameo appearance. How can an author fail to replicate a famous legendary person like Chaplin with as much documentation upon which to draw, to say nothing of his huge body of work on FILM? Lead character, Lady Georgiana "Georgie" Rannoch, and the love of her life, the handsome, sexy, Irish nobleman Darcy O'Mara, are still leaving readers with the now-stale cliffhanger on whether they WILL or whether they WON'T! I'm over it! Everyone else in these "Royal Spyness" novels are overtly having big-time sex in the early 19th century, especially Georgie's BFF, Belinda, who would be considered a "golddigging hood rat" even by modern standards. Even Georgie's mother acts "ratchet" when it comes to sex and she's (usually) married! Both Georgie and Darcy are past legal age, in love, and wickedly attracted to one another. It defies imagination that they continue to spend the night together sharing nothing more than a kiss! I could have dealt with the poor plot line if Georgie and Darcy had done the "nasty"' this time! OR I could go along with the chastity angle, if this book was targeted for the Young Adult market and ALL of the "sex-capades" among the other characters wasn't so rampant and blatant. Come on, Rhys Bowen, two broke aristocrats abstaining until they have money is no longer credible!
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