The good: actually, a well-developed and reasonably innovative plot line, integrating IRA and Islamic terrorists. Good ins and outs the final third of the book.
The bad: mawkish or slavish devotion to the wondrousness of Alex Hawke and the moral virtue of the royal family. Lord Mountbatten in real life as a perv and cruel man in India is substituted in this book by prose extolling his virtue as Prince Charles' ever-wonderful godfather. We finally get to see the motives and rationale of his killer, but they are marginalized because the killer himself was such a murderous lunatic.
Not anything close to my favorite for this genre.
I rarely give 5 stars, but this is an excellent and unforgettable listen. It is not just another WWII story, but it certainly takes you inside what it was like to be in France, with both resisters and collaborators. The story of the two protagonists, a blind girl from Paris, and a German orphan, as they enter adolescence during the nightmare years of the Third Reich, is compelling. The story moves back and forth, pivoting from a liberation day for a town just after D-Day back to years from 1934-1944.
So you have three stories. One is what is happening in a town's liberation shortly after D-Day, the other two track the lives of the French girl and the German boy, as they converge to the liberation day. The story makes clear from the outset that they are in the same town at the end. The character development is deep and rich.
A wonderful and powerful story, and certainly a way to bring history alive.
I have to agree with many others who felt this audiobook was not helped by Scott Brick's narration. I usually like Brick, but for some reason he was not a good fit here. And the story was not the "remarkably fresh perspective" that the Chicago Tribune review promised. I listened and re-listened to several parts of the first 2-3 hours and then pulled this plug, moving on to another in the same genre that I could not put down. Not enough to hold my interest, though I listen to a lot in this genre.
I bought this on a 4.95 sale, and it was a very good choice. I was getting bogged down in "Bleak House" by Dickens, and this really kept me in the story. I was concerned about the reviewer who likened this to a romance novel, and it did have that element in the final third or fourth of the story. Another reviewer commented on the abrupt ending, and I have to agree. It had something of a feel of the author feeling she had done a great multigenerational story, and that was enough - let the readers make up the conclusion.
This was indeed a great multigenerational story, lots of compelling history about discriminiation against women and aboriginals and the displacements of the second world war. The card game was a great part of it - the most that can be said without a spoiler.
In addition to the conclusion, there were other abrupt points in the narrative, to me, so I would give the story 3.5 stars on those merits except, no question, it was an interesting story and i wanted to listen to it, so it comes up to four. In my magic scoring scheme, a 5 shows up once for every ten 4's, fwiw.
The narrator was excellent. I cannot make judgments on Scottish versus Aussie versus Tasmanian accents, and understand one reviewer felt the Scottish was overdone. But to this midwest US guy, it was all good.
i read enough reviews of the most recent reacher offering to think that childs had gone soft on plot in service of political commentary, so I skipped #17. many thanks to reviewers for the helpful notes on #18. this is a great addition to the series. the title is perfect - the one thing you are saying after reacher goes back to his old unit and **early plotline but not critical spoiler alert** gets reinstated in order to face felony charges is that jack, you should never go back.
there were three sequences where reacher was breaking bones, and i thought the narrative did not need to be so graphic. that was a minor complaint. the plot twists and turns in this were clever and as good as any i have seen in the 6-7 reachers i have done on audible.
the samantha character was great.
the tell at the end - the underlying scheming that put everything into motion - was fine but not nearly as strong as the rest of the book. and as i captioned the review, i could not put this book down.
someone confused the narrator with scott brick. this is not a brick narration, but rather dick hill, who has a very different style. (i happen to like both.) when dick hill is at his best, he is the best. this was a great narration by hill, especially including the female voices.
This was such a captivating listen. It was not Shantaram or the Twentieth Wife, or Cutting for Stone. Not epic. But so satisfying, a story that will stay with you and please the mind for years to come.
Well done, Molly Ringwald. The device of telling a story through linked short-stories was well-executed in this effort, with every new short story leaving the listener waiting for the tell-tale line that would contribute a new dimension to the overall plot development involving a family riven by the father's affair.
The book title, "When It Happens to You," is also the title for one of the short stories. The last sentence of that short story is brilliant, compelling, poignant and puts a fine point on the entire volume.
I could not put this story down. It was well-written, with many insights and details, and the narration was very strong, especially the narrator's lowered voice rendering of the protagonist's private thoughts.
The protagonist in this story, Alex, takes his family through the harrowing experience of surviving a pandemic. Alex is more level-headed, observant and wise than everyone else except his loving CPA wife, and certainly more than the neighborhood neanderthals, those who came after the pandemic and those who were already there. The problem is that Alex is ahead of everyone else simply because in his role as a sales agent for a money-hungry pharmaceutical, he is more attuned to the need to prepare for the pandemic. His family is provisioned for over a year with food and supplies and guns locked up in the basement. In that sense, we get to see Alex as he is without facing the survival struggles of the hooligans around him. But the hooligans are reduced in their humanity simply because - they don't have what Alex has. It is a cheap contrast. We sympathize with Alex and can't stand the hooligans, but the truth is that the hooligans could be just as sympathetic as Alex if their families were protected from the pandemic and had plenty to eat, and Alex could be just as contemptible if he was not. It's not so much that the writer wants us to want the good guys to win, but that we want the "people who had more advance warning and chance to prepare" to win. But it is easy to confuse the two in this book.
The book was filled with political statements. Alex goes around in his camouflage outfits and peppers his thoughts with his war recollections, has an impressive knowledge of guns, and an impressive collection of guns. But it turns out that all but one are unregistered. He also, even preceding the pandemic, has built an impressive survivalist complex in his basement, replete with different drug samples he has squirreled away illegally in order to keep his family as healthy as possible. Against this backdrop, the story reminds us that Alex can drop tired canards on conservatives, republicans, and Fox news with the best of the polarized left.
The above are not necessarily complaints, just "mild crititiques".
This was not the formulaic survival story some reviewers claim. It is a great read/listen, a truly engrossing story.
I could not put the story down at the end because of the way it wrapped up the Red Breast story. If you are looking for the right book to pick up after Red Breast, this is it.
Nesbo's stories are complex enough that it is a good idea to have both the written and audible portion. Note to Amazon: Whispersync was not working even though my accounts said it would.
Great detective work, clever lines.
I have followed Harry Bosch and the Lincoln Lawyer, and I came to this one with some skepticism, putting it down after a day because I decided I did not want a detective book about a pedophile and murderer. When I needed a new read, I picked it back up, and I was soon hooked. This was the most multilayered and tightly knit Connelly I have listened to. Performance was excellent, but not at the same level as readers like auberjois or ballerini.
I picked this up on a 4.95 sale but I can't finish it. I wanted to listen to a bright person's coherent and logical progression through a model of the brain. As bright as the author might be, he is astonishingly tone deaf to how distracting the relentless implicit and direct accolades he gives to himself are to the science he is trying to explain. The book might be summarized as a tapestry of ....introduction (all about me!)...look at me again!...science...look at me!...look at me!....science...did you see me?! etc
Assumptions and assertions about research threads other than his own are conveniently packaged with plenty of straw men, when with a little bit more scientific humility he could be so much more effective. I would love to see what he put in his later chapters, but can't deal with all the sludge you have to put up with to get the good stuff.
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