I have been looking for this audiobook for years after getting it from the library long ago. As soon as I saw it in audible's listing, I downloaded it. I noticed right away that it was not the narrator I remember. Researching this, I found that the original narrator that made me love the book so much was Jenna Stern. Laura Hicks is fine. I have no real complaints, but I didn't find her Jaine quite as funny and engaging. I think if I had never heard the original I would have given this narrator a higher rating. There is absolutely nothing wrong with her, I would listen to her narrate any other books, I just preferred Jenna Stern on this one, having had that comparison. But other than that, the book was as good as I remember. The perfect combination of murder mystery, suspense, romance and my favourite part - humour.
I thoroughly enjoyed this. The story made me want to immerse myself in the location and hang out with the characters in a way I haven't felt about a book in a long time. It starts out a little sad and stressful for Evie when she first inherits a little seaside Cafe from her beloved Aunt. Her staff is horrible and some of the townsfolk are unkind to her at first when they mistakenly think she is there is sell the Cafe to developers. But things get better and better through hard work, a few stumbles, some great ideas, and the help of some great secondary characters, from her best friend who comes down from Oxford to help her out for a time, and new people she meets along the way. The locals finally realize what a good heart she has and the cafe becomes an important centre of the community.
I really needed a feel good story right now and this hit just the right chord. The narrator was also wonderful. She does such a great job of all the different characters, both male and female voices, different accents, elderly women, children - they all sounded distinct and appealing. I always knew who was speaking. I have listened to a couple other books Jane Collingwood has narrated and she really is becoming one of my favourites.
I am definitely going to check out some more books by Lucy Diamond as well.
I am a fan of JD Robb books, but don't always love all the Nora Roberts novels as much. I thought this one was one of the better ones. I think the narrator had a huge part in that, but just the way Nora wrote Abigail's character made her really interesting. Maybe part of me was liking her so much because she reminded me of Bones, although not exactly the same personality. Both characters are brilliant, yet socially inept and so literal that jokes or expressions often go over their heads. However, unlike Bones, I find Abigail more vulnerable - even as tough and strong and capable as she has learned to be. Didn't she just need a hug so badly? And didn't you just want to be one of the special few allowed to pet her dog without getting your arm ripped off?
I am so impressed with how Julia Whelan narrated both the main characters' voices, but mainly Abigail's. I think she used just the right tone and expression for all her dialogue. As for Brooks, I enjoyed her portrayal of him most when he was laughing at or just charmed by Abigail's eccentricities. The story itself was pretty good, although not too suspenseful, compared to some similar storylines. The characters and the setting really were what made this book worth listening to. The descriptiveness of the town made me want to move there myself. Am I now a huge Nora Roberts fan? - well maybe a little more than before. But as for Julia Whelan, I am going to have to look into some of her other books now. Maybe I have found a new favourite narrator.
This is the 4th in one of my favourite series and it's as good as I could have hoped. The exotic setting at the foot of the Himalayas is wonderful - there is even a humorous bit where several of the main characters try to figure out where they are (what country they are actually in). The characters are diverse and interesting and you may change your mind several times as to who is actually good, who is bad and what all of their hidden agendas are. Lady Julia and her husband Brisbane, being newly married in this book, are among the most likable detective couples around. Their witty dialogue, especially when they are arguing, is so much fun, while not overpowering the actual mystery and even the sad parts of the story ( and there are a few).
Ellen Archer is a great narrator - ok, maybe her Portia voice is a little odd, but the rest of her characters, particularily Julia, are really well done and pleasant to listen to. I had no problems differentiating voices and accents to know who was speaking,whether male or female. I would have rated this book 4 1/2 stars if I could - only declining to go with 5 stars because Portia's slightly irritating voice takes a little getting used to. (Mind you that's just a matter of personal taste. I've read other reviews on her other audiobooks, where people loved Portia's voice and some where they didn't like Julia's)
I would recommend downloading the first three in the seriest first if possible, but that being said, you would have no trouble following the story in this book, even if this was your first Deanna Raybourn.
I hope this series continues with many more installations and I hope Ellen Archer continues to narrate the audio versions.
I really enjoyed this audio book, both for the story which blended history and romance with a little mystery and fantasy, and also for the narrator.
I disagree with the other reviewer who did not enjoy the narration, although I understand that sort of thing is completely subjective so I can only express my own opinion. I thought the narrator was very engaging to listen to, but maybe that's because I am so partial to Scottish accents. She did a great job of the Doric accent, which is difficult to understand, let along speak if it's not your native tongue. (She's obviously Scottish herself) I had no trouble telling one character from another, even the men's accents didn't sound silly the way female narrators sometimes do when trying to deepen their voices. As for the main character's Canadian accent, being Canadian myself of Scottish descent, I thought she sounded very pleasant to listen, regardless of the occasional twinge of barely perceptible Scots in there, especially considering she was doing an East Coast Maritime accent, which is very different from Central or West Coast Canadians.
I loved the story as it wove back and forth between the current setting of the writer mysteriously drawn to Slains Castle while researching a book, which almost seems to write itself from her dreams, and the past - being the story she is trying to write that starts appearing more real than fiction. It has a satisfying conclusion, although I hated it to end. I listened to it too quickly as I could barely put my IPOD down until it was done.
I wish Audible had more of Susanna Kearsley's books available and I'd be very happy with them using the same narrator again.
Combining geneology with two series of murders - both modern and nineteenth century, the story was fascinating from beginning to end. There is some history thrown in with the story, wich is revealed in an interesting manner by Nigel Barnes, a geneologist enlisted to help the police tie in the clues from the new murders to those which had occurred over a hundred years ago, and you can't help but learn a little, even if history isn't your first love. The main characters, in particular a detective named Grant Foster and Nigel, the geneologist, both have their own secret pasts. They are not perfect heroes, Detective Foster seems a little cold and grumpy at first, while Barnes comes across as a little insecure, and yet you understand and like them both, even more as the story progresses. As the clues start to come together, you feel the excitement of the characters as they are able to gradually discover the links between the old murders and the modern day ones. The peripheral characters have their own purposes but for some of them, you don't always understand their parts of the story until it plays out towards the end.
Besides an interesting and original story, the narrator was brilliant. I found it easy to know which character was which in the dialogues, the differences and accents were never grating or overdone.
I can't wait for the second installment in this new detective series and I sincerely hope that the same narrator will be used again.
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