I do enjoy the juxtaposition of murder mysteries and the developing relationship between two difficult people, Lady Julia and Brisbane, that characterize this series. By this book they are married, but they experience the prickly adjustment of two independent minded and very stubborn people learning to live with each other. As always, the writing anchors the story in time even as the characters are definitely outside the normal mode and attitudes of the period. Also Rayburn creates a wealth of engaging side characters in each book, mostly with Lady Julia's family, but in this book we get a range of expat colonialists in India. By moving the venue for each mystery, Raybourn keeps the series fresh and provides unique challenges for the developing relationship. I'm finding the series fascinating and the main characters very enjoyable.
I think Ellen Archer is getting better at reading, but I still find her performance difficult. The books would be better with a different reader. But I'll continue to listen to the series in spite of Archer's delivery.
Phyllida Nash is my favorite reader for Georgette Heyer books. Heyer builds her stories with sparkling dialog, and Nash is spot on with all voices. As with many Heyer book's this one relies on situational comedy, and Nash has unfailingly perfect timing in her reading that makes the most of the comedy. I had read this book in print, and I will say that Nash's performance makes it even better.
As the story unfolds, I was reminded of Shakespeare's comedies and some Wooster/Jeeves misunderstandings, but even when Heyer's characters are silly, she draws them with so much affection, they don't come off as completely ridiculous.
Either Archer is reading better, or I'm becoming less sensitive to her accents - probably a bit of both.
So far each mystery in this series is different enough from the others to keep things interesting. Raybourn changes the venue for each, which helps. This book has moved the main characters to the moors of the north country and the story is more atmospheric, so both Lady Gray and Brisbane are able to express more emotion in this context without it seeming a break in their character. Lady Gray is her usual sensible and intelligent self, but she's gaining confidence and therefore ferocity in fighting for what she wants. I like how she is evolving as the series progresses. Brisbane becomes more accessible in this book as well.
One thing I find uniquely enjoyable in Raybourn's books: she uses extremely good grammar even in dialog, which makes Lady Gray's bluestocking credentials ring true.
I plan on ordering the next book in the series.
I really liked this book. I started it, heard something really intriguing which was a spoiler alert for previous books, and I decided to set it aside and start with the first book in the series. Unfortunately Audible only offers the last three in the series of eight books. I downloaded the first 5 books to Kindle and read them in order before going back to listen to this book. And I am so glad I did. I love this series. It has interesting individual mysteries, which are completed within each book while gradually unraveling the personal history of St. Cyr across the series. Davina Porter reads well, as always. She has particular musical quirks of intonation that don't work for every book, but I didn't find them off-putting. St. Cyr is an engaging and likable main character and I'm certainly hooked on the series. I'll definitely order the other two titles offered by Audible and hope someday the previous books will be available.
I may have to read the rest in print. I have a sensitive ear to accents and I just can't enjoy Archer's reading. I know this must be very difficult work - having to speak for many people in different voices - so I try to be patient when I'm uncomfortable with a reader and eventually I will be immersed into the story - but it isn't working in this case. Her British accent just doesn't ring true. Also I don't like the "voice" she chooses for one of the characters. Out of curiosity I listened to samples of her work with other books, and I think she does much better when she doesn't have to assume a British accent.
But, the story is a good one, Lady Gray is still her indomitable self, Brisbane is still an enigma, and their relationship is moved forward a bit more; so if you aren't particularly sensitive to the sound of a British accent, I think you will enjoy this installment in the series.
I guess this book answers my question about just how much readers affect the experience of a book. Eyre isn't the worst reader (to me, that is Anne Flosnik who overacts throughout every books she reads) but Eyre isn't Kate Reading and the book suffers from it. Willig utilizes character interaction and comic timing in her books to enliven the storyline and a poor reader just can't move it along properly.
Two of the least likable characters match up. It is fun! Willig does a good job of building a humanizing romance between these two without either of them actually breaking character. And the spy/mysteries are getting a bit more sinister and exciting. The modern day storyline is moving along nicely too. I enjoy the double storyline carried throughout the series. Kate Reading's reading is perfect as always.
Not quite as good as the previous book, but it is fun anyway. The mystery/action is still tight, I just didn't find the romantic premise as engaging. Kate Reading keeps it lively as always.
The characters were a little less silly in this second book, and the mystery a bit tighter. Kate Reading is a marvel - she has great voice/accent definition so all the voices stay consistent. She also has marvelous timing so the mystery is revealed properly and the comedy is effervescent.
Fun storyline, likable characters (though silly), and a great reader. What's not to like? It was a romp with a little swash and buckle... I'll try the next one for sure.
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