You no longer follow Constance

You will no longer see updates from this user when they write new reviews, or suggestions based on their library or recommendations.

You can re-follow a user if you change your mind.

OK

You now follow Constance

You will receive updates from this user when they write new reviews, or suggestions based on their library or recommendations.

You can unfollow a user if you change your mind.

OK

Constance

New York, NY, United States | Member Since 2009

319
HELPFUL VOTES
  • 68 reviews
  • 92 ratings
  • 329 titles in library
  • 17 purchased in 2014
FOLLOWING
0
FOLLOWERS
79

  • Miss Buncle's Book

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 57 mins)
    • By D. E. Stevenson
    • Narrated By Patricia Gallimore
    Overall
    (148)
    Performance
    (101)
    Story
    (99)

    The scene of this entertaining story is laid in a charming English village. The plot centres round Miss Barbara Buncle, a maiden lady who was obliged to write a book because – as she naively explained – her dividends were so poor. Unfortunately, Miss Buncle had no imagination, so she wrote about her friends – quite kindly and truthfully, of course, for she was a benevolent and veracious soul.

    Heather says: "So good, I'll read them all!!"
    "Adorable, hilarious book"
    Overall

    A gentle, yet extremely funny book about the doings of a small English village of a bygone era. Miss Buncle writes a book based on the characters of her friends and neighbors "because she has no imagination" (her own assessment). The descriptions in the book are hilarious send-ups, although the innocent and unworldly Miss Buncle only means them as accurate depictions (which they also are). The villagers who are selfish or bad tempered are enraged by the book and want to find out the real identity of the author (Miss Buncle has used a pen name) so "he" can be horse-whipped! Will they find out Miss Buncle's secret? It's a darling of a book, beautifully narrated, and immensely amusing. If you like gore and real hard-core meanness, stay away from it. If not, be prepared to be charmed by this book's and old world wit and tenderness.

    6 of 6 people found this review helpful
  • The Catherine Wheel

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 38 mins)
    • By Patricia Wentworth
    • Narrated By Diana Bishop
    Overall
    (42)
    Performance
    (37)
    Story
    (40)

    There was a certain heavy air of intrigue and mystery emanating from the old inn high on the cliff top. The Catherine-Wheel had once been a home for pirates and smugglers, but now it looked like it was harbouring a murderer. It had begun with an advertisement in the paper requesting descendants of the late innkeeper, Jeremiah Taverner, to stay for a weekend at the inn. They had arrived, a mixed assortment, to the family reunion eager to discover the secrets of their ancestry. But one of them had been hideously murdered, bringing the inn's stormy past into frightening focus.

    Constance says: "Unlistenable Dud from Usually Wonderful Writer"
    "Unlistenable Dud from Usually Wonderful Writer"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    What disappointed you about The Catherine Wheel?

    I usually love Patricia Wentworth and I usually rate her books 5 stars. I consider her as good as Agatha Christie--an intelligent, interesting writer of Golden Age mysteries. Unfortunately, this story opens with long, agonizing lists and descriptions of complicated family relationships. A central character is tracing his many relatives and choosing some of them to come spend the weekend. The relationships are quite labored and unless you are insanely into genaology (not your own) you may find this deadly dull. I tried and tried but could not get past this indigestible clump of relationships. ANY of her other books are vastly better than this one. Latter End is a particular favorite of mine...The Fingerprint, Lonesome Road, Through the Wall---you can't go wrong with these wonderful titles if you like an old fashioned classic British mystery, but I cannot possibly recommend The Catherine Wheel. The usual reader reads this one and she is great. But not enough to save this dud of a tale. So sorry!


    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • Return to Longbourn: The Next Chapter in the Continuing Story of Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 16 mins)
    • By Shannon Winslow
    • Narrated By Marian Hussey
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (52)
    Performance
    (50)
    Story
    (48)

    What will happen to the Bennet females now that Mr. Bennet has died? With Mr. Tristan Collins on his way from America to claim his property, Mrs. Bennet hatches her plan. The new heir to Longbourn simply must marry one of her daughters. Nothing else will do. Will it be Mary or Kitty singled out for this dubious honor? When the gentleman in question turns out to be quite a catch after all, the contest between the sisters is on. Which one will be the next mistress of Longbourn?

    Constance says: "Decent but not fabulous Jane Austen knock-off"
    "Decent but not fabulous Jane Austen knock-off"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Any additional comments?

    This is an amusing and well narrated story based on Jane Austen characters. The writing is mostly fine, but there are some lamentable lapses in diction, for example, a character says: "The thing of it is..." I find these stylistic lapses inexcusable. Even a single read-through of Jane Austen's novels should be enough that the author would know to write "The plain fact is" instead of "The thing of it is..."

    That said, lovers of Jane Austen will probably enjoy this lively story that features many of the familiar faces of Pride and Prejudice.

    7 of 8 people found this review helpful
  • Eleven Pipers Piping: A Father Christmas Mystery

    • UNABRIDGED (17 hrs and 5 mins)
    • By C. C. Benison
    • Narrated By Steve West, Jean Gilpin
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (43)
    Performance
    (39)
    Story
    (38)

    Father Tom Christmas, the recently widowed vicar adjusting to life in the English village of Thornford Regis, would do almost anything to avoid attending the annual Robert Burns Supper at the local hotel. But as chaplain to a traditional Scottish pipe band, Father Tom must deliver the grace - and contend with wailing bagpipes, whiskey-laced parishioners reciting poetry, and the culinary abomination that is haggis.

    Constance says: "Multi-layered, character-driven mystery"
    "Multi-layered, character-driven mystery"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Any additional comments?

    This is a "village cozy" in the tradition of classic British mysteries. It is well written, with fully developed characters in a wide variety of personalities and tones. The plot is complex and even a touch bizarre, but all the dots connect at the end. I highly recommend this for people who enjoy Agatha Christie and Dorothy Sayers. The narrator is top notch.

    10 of 11 people found this review helpful
  • The Art Forger

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs)
    • By B. A. Shapiro
    • Narrated By Xe Sands
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (900)
    Performance
    (787)
    Story
    (788)

    Making a living reproducing famous artworks for a popular online retailer and desperate to improve her situation, Claire is lured into a Faustian bargain with Aiden Markel, a powerful gallery owner. She agrees to forge a painting - a Degas masterpiece stolen from the Gardner Museum - in exchange for a one-woman show in his renowned gallery. But when that very same long-missing Degas painting is delivered to Claire's studio, she begins to suspect that it may itself be a forgery. Her desperate search for the truth leads Claire into a labyrinth of deceit where secrets hidden since the late 19th century may be the only evidence that can now save her life.

    Cynthia says: "The Art Forger"
    "Very Entertaining Art and Crime Story"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Any additional comments?

    Not a towering literary feat, but a good strong story that I thoroughly enjoyed. Wonderful writing about impressionist art and forgery techniques. Art lovers will particularly like this book, but even if you don't think of yourself as an art love you might want to try this---it could well turn you into a fan of the impressionists. Highly recommended.

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
  • The Golem and the Jinni: A Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (19 hrs and 43 mins)
    • By Helene Wecker
    • Narrated By George Guidall
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (3029)
    Performance
    (2788)
    Story
    (2789)

    Helene Wecker's dazzling debut novel tells the story of two supernatural creatures who appear mysteriously in 1899 New York. Chava is a golem, a creature made of clay, brought to life by a strange man who dabbles in dark Kabbalistic magic. When her master dies at sea on the voyage from Poland, she is unmoored and adrift as the ship arrives in New York Harbor. Ahmad is a jinni, a being of fire, born in the ancient Syrian Desert. Trapped in an old copper flask by a Bedouin wizard centuries ago, he is released accidentally by a tinsmith in a Lower Manhattan shop.

    Tango says: "Enchanting Debut Novel - Delicious!"
    "Fascinating but Flawed Fantasy"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Any additional comments?

    This well written fantasy places a Jinni and a Golem in turn of the century New York City where each is taken in by a member of the burgeoning immigrant community. Each is stranded by circumstance in this alien environment, compelled to conceal their magical identities, struggling to live with dignity and meaning in a situation where their magical abilities must be hidden with extreme care. What a great premise for a book! We see them assessing and grappling with the social and cultural conditions of humankind in this particular time and place. Many readers will enjoy this book.

    I stopped listening about half way through despite all the book's good qualities---and excellent narration by George Guidall--because I found the character of the Jinni increasingly repellent: egotistical, selfish, and emotionally cold as ice. I kept comparing this book to Jonathan Stroud's The Amulet of Samarkand, in which a demon is summoned by a young wizard and forced to interact in the human world. He is a demon, but he has abundant charming qualities: funny, witty, and at heart a force for good in the story. To create a "good" demon, Stroud created a character who is not consistent with the classical definition of a demon, and to this extent one can say that he "cheated" in order to make a better story. The author of The Jinni and the Golem has not "cheated" in this way with her Jinni. The Jinni's character is consistent through and through with a god-like being that has existed for thousands of years without any moral compass. And maybe, if the author had made him into a character whom I loved to hate, it would have worked. However, his behaviors do not inspire an enjoyable hatred in this reader--nor do they inspire any affection. He is just depressing to spend time with.

    The Golem on the other hand is a sympathetic character---and so are many if not most of the human characters. I wonder how this story will turn out. Will the Jinni develop a heart? Will the Golem find the friendship and a sense of belonging for which she yearns?

    The narration by George Guidall is typically wonderful.

    1 of 4 people found this review helpful
  • The Fever Tree

    • UNABRIDGED (12 hrs and 50 mins)
    • By Jennifer McVeigh
    • Narrated By Jayne Paterson
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (27)
    Performance
    (24)
    Story
    (24)

    Frances Irvine, left destitute in the wake of her father’s sudden death, has been forced to abandon her life of wealth and privilege in London and emigrate to the Southern Cape of Africa. 1880 South Africa is a country torn apart by greed. In this remote and inhospitable land she becomes entangled with two very different men - one driven by ambition, the other by his ideals. Only then the rumor of a smallpox epidemic takes her into the dark heart of the diamond mines does she see her path to happiness.

    Constance says: "Colorful Historical Fiction"
    "Colorful Historical Fiction"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Any additional comments?

    A childhood of pampered luxury does not prepare Frances to be left penniless and friendless on the death of her father after his business fails. In desperation, she marries a young man whom she despises. This man brings her to South Africa, where he is trying to build a medical practice. We are now in the milieu of the 19th c. diamond boom, in which unscrupulous white men exploited the Africans without mercy. Just as Frances begins to make some tentative steps towards contentment in her new life, her husband is transferred from a field station where he inoculates people against small pox to the city of Kimberly, a rough town built up around a huge open pit where the workers are beaten, tortured, and routinely crushed in the unsafe mining conditions. To Frances' dismay, her husband is an outspoken critic of the mine-owners' corrupt treatment of workers. His speeches and articles put both of them at risk for their lives.At this point, Frances makes the disastrous decision to reach out to a man with whom she had an affair on the boat from England. Readers recognize this man as a stinker through and through, but Frances' characterization is done with such skill that we understand and almost sympathize with her.This is a good story, a vivid historical novel, and a fun romantic narrative. It is not among the very great historical novels like Amitav Ghosh's Sea of Poppies, but it is thoroughly entertaining and interesting, especially in its evocation of mining in South Africa. The narration is absolutely terrific.

    I should just add that some of the love scenes are fairly explicit.

    6 of 6 people found this review helpful
  • Frequent Hearses

    • UNABRIDGED (6 hrs and 52 mins)
    • By Edmund Crispin
    • Narrated By Philip Bird
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (29)
    Performance
    (27)
    Story
    (26)

    Gervase Fen is more at home in his ivory tower than in a London film studio, but Murder can take place anywhere, and aspiring actress Gloria Scott's suicide definitely looks like murder. Oxford don Gervase Fen is at the film studios to advise about a film biography of Alexander Pope. Gloria Scott appears to have had little reason for wanting to kill herself by jumping off Waterloo bridge, but someone has taken great pains to hide Gloria's real identity, and Gervase Fen's detective nose begins to twitch.

    Constance says: "Intricate, Witty, Engrossing Classic Mystery"
    "Intricate, Witty, Engrossing Classic Mystery"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Any additional comments?

    In earlyish 20th century England a young and ambitious actress is victimized by political and sexual politics. From this evil deed a tide of murder and revenge is unleashed. The egotistical, striving world of film is evoked in wry observant tones as we meet various eccentric characters, most of whom have deep secrets. For lovers of British Golden Age mysteries, this will be pure catnip! Superb narration.

    9 of 9 people found this review helpful
  • Swan Song

    • UNABRIDGED (6 hrs and 2 mins)
    • By Edmund Crispin
    • Narrated By Philip Bird
    Overall
    (33)
    Performance
    (31)
    Story
    (30)

    When an opera company gathers in Oxford for the first post-war production of Wagner's Die Meistersinger its happiness is soon soured by the discovery that the unpleasant Edwin Shorthouse will be singing a leading role. Nearly everyone involved has reason to loathe Shorthouse, but who amongst them has the fiendish ingenuity to kill him in his own locked dressing room?

    Constance says: "Clever, elegant classic British mystery"
    "Clever, elegant classic British mystery"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Any additional comments?

    Author Edmund Crispin writes in a vein similar to Ngaio Marsh---interesting, quirky characters, a murder victim everyone hates, a baffling mystery, and best of all great use of language. It is a sheer total pleasure to bathe in this cascade of vivid writing and witty turns of phrase. The narration of this audiobook is perfect. If you like these mid-20th century British mysteries I think you'll enjoy Swan Song.

    7 of 7 people found this review helpful
  • The Case of the Gilded Fly

    • UNABRIDGED (7 hrs and 23 mins)
    • By Edmund Crispin
    • Narrated By Phillip Bird
    Overall
    (52)
    Performance
    (46)
    Story
    (44)

    Yseut Haskell, a pretty but spiteful young actress with a talent for destroying men's lives, is found dead in a college room just metres from unconventional Oxford don Gervase Fen's office. The victim is found wearing an unusual ring, a reproduction of a piece in the British Museum featuring a gold gilded fly but does this shed any light on her murder? As they delve deeper into Yseut's unhappy life the police soon realise that anyone who knew her would have shot her, but can Fen discover who could have shot her?

    Constance says: "Witty, Well Written Classic British mystery"
    "Witty, Well Written Classic British mystery"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Any additional comments?

    Combine witty, literate writing and a cast of idiosyncratic actors putting on a play in Oxford, and you have a thoroughly engaging and enjoyable classic British mystery. I loved every minute of this story, which is particularly enjoyable for the colorful characters and their interactions with each other. The narrator is perfect.

    6 of 6 people found this review helpful
  • My Korean Deli: Risking It All for a Convenience Store

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 52 mins)
    • By Ben Ryder Howe
    • Narrated By Bronson Pinchot
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (265)
    Performance
    (198)
    Story
    (200)

    This sweet and funny tale of a preppy editor buying a Brooklyn deli with his Korean in-laws is about family, culture clash, and the quest for authentic experiences. It starts with a gift. When Ben Ryder Howe’s wife, the daughter of Korean immigrants, decides to repay her parents’ self-sacrifice by buying them a store, Howe, an editor at the rarefied Paris Review, agrees to go along.

    lesley says: "Absolutely delightful!"
    "Funny, Heart-warming, Unusual Memoir"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Any additional comments?

    A button-downed, dreamy New Englander marries a driven Korean woman, who feels duty-bound to buy a deli for her mother to manage and run. The husband is the narrator of this wonderful true account of culture clashes and heart meshings. It's also a fascinating inside glimpse of the microcosmic world of the ethnic-run deli---the place all of us New Yorkers depend upon in our various neighborhoods for newspapers, coffee, and snack cakes. There's a drama behind every single one of these convenience items. The narrator is phenomenal, capturing Korean, Black, Middle Eastern, and Boston Brahmin accents with seeming effortlessness. I absolutely loved this book.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful

Report Inappropriate Content

If you find this review inappropriate and think it should be removed from our site, let us know. This report will be reviewed by Audible and we will take appropriate action.

Cancel

Thank You

Your report has been received. It will be reviewed by Audible and we will take appropriate action.