This is the way I like to learn history: as collateral to an engrossing story. I am counting on the author's research in this. The lives of slaves in the 18th century South were depicted realistically, showing how the arbitrary and sometimes brutal decisions by their masters affected individuals and families. However, even kind, well-meaning masters provided an existence for their slaves that severely limited self-expression and growth. All this was wound around the life of an Irish orphan girl's experiences as an indentured servant and her eventual development into a free woman. Most of the characters were well developed, interesting, and very human. A few peripheral characters who were, however, essential to the story, were a little fuzzy. The readers were outstanding and made the story come to life. I enjoyed this book a lot AND feel that I learned a lot. What a deal!
I am really glad I listened to this book. At first, I thought the author wrote it strictly from his head. But in the epilogue, I discovered it was a fictionalized real event. That made it even more meaningful to me. So, it is historical fiction (late 18th century), a love story, a bit of mystery. The main character, John-Baptiste, an engineer, was given the job of demolishing a very old cemetery in Paris. He designed the process and supervised the project. While Parisians weren't very happy about what happened to their families who were buried there, I couldn't help but think about the contrast with the kind of conflict a similar project caused in my city. Watching John-Baptiste grow and change made me feel quite close to him. Other characters weren't developed as much as his.
Supernatural eeriness was not part of this story. However, the weirdness of digging up thousands of bodies, (often no coffins or very flimsy ones) was enough.
This was a good story, a bit on the weird side, that was satisfying and provided a good look at 18th century Paris.
Nancy was a spy during WWII. She had never imagined she would do such a thing. But she was in the right places at the right times to be recruited for this job. She had a distinctive flare and was quite good at misleading the enemy. This book presents Nancy as almost an urchin growing up in Australia, but with great intelligence and drive. She was glad to give up her childhood and eagerly embraced the glamorous prewar life in Europe. With her looks and love of fashion, she was attractive and met many notable people. In her role as spy, she accomplished a great deal for the Allies and for the role of women in the military.
I became quite attached to the characters in this story. They were dealing with tragic circumstances, but did so with courage and humor. Dealing with terminal illness as a young person is an all too common experience. For many, simply getting the diagnosis could mean the end of joy, maturing, and loving. But John Green showed how these teens went on living their lives in spite of their illnesses. I'm glad I listened - I came away feeling sad, but also glad to have been a part of their lives.
I found this book to be what other reviewers said - a satisfying and moving description of a life long friendship between two couples. But I also saw more: these couples had experiences and tragedies that changed and molded them in unique ways. How they reacted was really the heart of the story.
While this is a book of fiction, it told a very real story of an event in WWII and its profound impact on those who lived in Guernica. The characters were well drawn and I felt the tragedy they suffered. I'm glad I listened to it.
Listened to Fever Dream first, and this one next. Maybe my expectations were too high, but did not enjoy Brimstone nearly as much. The plot was interesting, but not compelling and I did not like the ending.
Overall, I liked this book. The main plot was entertaining and kept me guessing. I liked how it turned out. The subplot, which had the most impact, left me feeling sad and dissatisfied.
This is the way I like to learn history. I actually researched some of the incidents in this book to see if I was getting a pretty good picture of what actually happened. The characters were well developed and I really liked all of them. While the plot was pretty good, it became a little unbelievable toward the end. Very dramatic throughout with a well rounded presentation of many differing characters and their motivations. This is the first narration by Scott Brick that I liked. He did not use the sarcastic, condescending voice that I have heard from him before.
A pretty good story, but the execution of both the narration and the writing made this just so, so. Sue Grafton definitely matured in her writing skills as she continued with this series. The narrator was just not appropriate for this type of novel - a very "down home" sound and way too cute. However, the plot was good and kept me guessing, making the book worth listening to.
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