I enjoyed this book far more than I expected. This is a memoir of a nurse early in her career learning to be a Midwife in the London Dockyards in the 1950's. Her observations of convent and family living conditions are vivid, and the stories are funny, sad, and sometimes downright inspirational. I looked forward to my next chance to listen from the first chapter, with the introduction to Sister Monica Jones.
What struck me as most interesting about this book is how the UK perception of 50 great books differs from a USA perception of 50 great books. I listened to the very end, but it was a chore. At the end I definitely did NOT want to listen to it again, or give it as a gift to anyone else, nor are there any books I heard about that I want to put on my "must" list now.
I bought this on a whim and am glad I did! The story kept me guessing all the way through. The weaving together of the 100 year old man's history through the 20th century and his hilarious present circumstances is a delight. Many times I laughed out loud, and sat in the driveway listening to get to a good stopping point before turning off the car. How one person could meet Franco, Truman, Stalin, Mao, and President Johnson -- oh and save Winston Churchill's life -- well, you just have to listen to see how it all weaves together.
I do not sail. I get seasick looking at pictures of boats on the ocean. And I LOVE the Hornblower series. This is a story of daring, ambition, intelligence, discipline, risk.taking and luck! A co-worker reminded me that Horatio Hornblower was the inspiration for Captain Kirk of Star Trek, and it is an apt comparison!
If you have never read any of the series, this is the perfect book to start with.
The unfamilar nautical terms make sense in the context they are used. Your time and place in history come alive through the narrative. The reader is excellent. Before you know it, the book is over, and you are purchasing and downloading the next one....luckily there are many in the series, so you have many happy hours before you must say goodbye to Horatio Hornblower.
This book brings the sweeping social changes of the early 20th century into vivid life -- socialism, women's rights, the decline and fall of monarchies, trade unions, capitalism. I had never seen the ties between these, or really understood why people were so passionate about them, until listening to this book.
I had also never understood how the assasination of a minor noble swept the entire world into war. The waste of it made my heart ache. November 11th will never be the same for me.
I recommend this audiobook without reservation. I cannot imagine any reason for not liking this book. The reader is excellent. If you haven't listened to one of Ken Follett's historical epics yet, what are you waiting for?
This book totally absorbed me. Wonderfully written, plot twists every time (except the last) that a happy ending appeared to be in the offing, and a totally satisfactory ending.
The description of life in the plague years, the state of medicine, and the resulting breakdown of society were very real. The power struggles between nobility and serfs, and between church and state resonated as the beginnings of the society we live in today. Even the questions of nurture versus nature are explored, as traits and talents are passed down one generation to the next.
I recommend this highly. I don't like Follett's thrillers, but I love his historical fiction. The reader did this extremely well -- it was easy for me to get into the story, and stay there.
I believe I stumbled across this book on a list of "books in a series" one day. I strongly recommend this series to anyone who loves mysteries, strong female characters, and Victorian England.
The Ruby in the Smoke was riveting from the beginning -- always there was the anticipation of "what can possibly happen next"? Sally is a memorable character -- intelligent, unconventional, 16 years old in Victorian England and suddenly a nearily penniless orphan with only the most miserable Aunt to take her in. Sally sets out to solve the mystery of her father's death at sea, after receiving a mysterious letter purporting to be from him but not in his hand-writing. Solving the mystery takes her into danger and into many parts of British life that a young woman is not expected to see, especially not in Victorian England.
This was such a satisfying book that I had to instantly purchase the two sequels; they were even more memorable and well written. I recommend this series without reservation.
The reader does a wonderful job, clear, character voices nicely done, makes it easy to transport yourself into the story.
Over the last week I've been listening to "The Walk" during my morning walks and it's been a great match. I've looked forward to the next installment each day, and I'll be downloading the next book. This isn't a flashy tale, just a story of a man facing Job-like challenges, his life stripped away to nothing, working his way back to meaning.
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