This is a favorite book of mine, and I could not listen to it. I have listened to other books narrated by Cornelius Garrett, and had no problem with his interpretation, but just could not get over his reading of His Grace, the Duke of Avon. I don't know how many times I have read this book in the last 40 years, but never have I envisioned Avon as peevish and slightly hard of hearing. I don't like giving negative reviews, but just wanted to warn other fans of this novel.
A wild west infested with woolly mammoths, dire wolves, dragons and smilodons? Lewis and Clark failing (probably because there was no Sacajawea)? Thomas Jefferson and Ben
Franklin such geniuses that their spells still can't be replicated? Thoroughly enjoyable.
Books 2 and 3 in the series are equally good.
This is the second D E Stevenson that I have never read, but have discovered on audio. It is an almost P G Woodhouse type book. It has hapless young men, mistaken identities and one very nasty woman who is thoroughly thwarted. There are some very funny character summations by other characters, and the book pokes fun at a lot of English village "types". It is not a big book. It is a rather frothy book, but I thoroughly enjoyed it.
I have been a HUGE fan of D,E. Stevenson since I read my first "Mrs. Tim" book many years ago, so it was a pleasure to finally get to enjoy her first book. This has everything. An unloved and unappreciated young woman growing into spinsterhood. A lost heir. A despotic father and dead mother. A scheming harpy. Okay, maybe a little too much of everything.
BUT, it has what I love about Ms Stevenson's work. The depiction of everyday life in post-WWII Britain, Redemption through hard work, compassion and friendship.
The reality of life in a fishing village is well drawn, as is the isolation of Emilie living in Bouriston Hall as the unappreciated drudge of her tyrannical father.
I have enjoyed other books of hers more, but this has all of the themes that have made me a fan for so long. There is also the pleasure of an audio book in having the narration in a lovely Scots accent.
A complex story, it goes from locations in time to locations in the world. It is a story of love and of hubris. There are secrets that have you hanging- why? what is going on? It is a real world, fully realized, of things that cannot exist, but do. Add to that Mr. Dale's inimitable style and voice characterizations, and this is a winner. This is one of my best books of the year- audio or written.
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