This is an enchanting story about a fictional peripheral character in the life of 1920s bombshell Louise Brooks. The flapper starlet is a big part of the story, but the lead protaganist, Cora, is so charming, I was relieved to discover that the story is really not about Louise. It's about how Louise affected the life of a woman during a time of big societal and cultural change. (Historical note: Louise Brooks was accompanied by a chaperone from Wichita that summer she spent in New York City.)
Elizabeth McGovern, the wonderful actress who plays Cora Grantham on PBS's Downton Abbey, does a lovely job as Cora Carlisle, a respectible wife and mother living a comfortable wealthy life in Wichita, Kan. McGovern has such a quiet style -- she made an enchanting narrator. My only critique is a tiny one -- she used a more upper Midwestern accent (think Minnesota) for the Kansans rather than a central/southern Kansas twang. But that's so small given the enormous charm McGovern adds to the story. She is a skilled pro and in her hands (er, voice?) this story is well cared for.
With today's fast-paced culture and seemingly daily technology changes, it was fun to sink back into a time where the generational gap consisted of shock over young women showing their ankles and not wearing corsets. Society always leaps ahead. And older generations are always shocked. We're no different today.
This is a story that has stayed with me long after the last line was read. It's one that has lingered around afterwards. I loved this story so much, I'm planning to read other novels by Laura Moriarty.
This book is chronologically the first, but was written fourth. Since I'm reading these in chronological order, it was my first in the Tudor Series. But, the books can be read in any order.
I always thought of Katherine of Aragon as a dour old woman as depicted in some dusty book I read long ago, but Gregory gives her a rich, full life of honor and service, including her childhood as the daughter of some of the greatest monarchs of the time, Ferdinand & Isabella. Descriptions of Aragon and the Moorish influence on court were enchanting, as were the differences between that European court and the Brits.
Gregory has a magical way of bringing long-ago history to life -- whether historically accurate or not -- it's a great read.
This one was written 3rd, but is actually 6th in chronological order. I'm reading them in chronological order, but the series can be enjoyed in any order. So far, this one is my least favorite of her two series (The Cousins War and the Tudor Series), but that's because the others set such a high bar. I don't enjoy spending time with the Robert Dudley as she portrays him, so it was a little slower for me to get engrossed in than her other books.
That said, if you're going through the series, this is a must-read because it's about Elizabeth I. I prefer to think of her as Cate Blanchett's portrayal rather than the wish-washy girl as portrayed here, by the description of court life -- and life in -- general during the Tudor era is entertaining.
I've been listening to these in chronological order (rather than in the order they were written). Even though this one was written 5th, it's actually 4th chronologically. The way Gregory puts personalities on these historic events and people is so entertaining. Some Tudor history experts say she's not historically accurate in some of her plot points, but it's all a fun, fast listen just the same.
Somehow I got through high school and college without reading any Faulkner (how did that happen?!) and must sheepishly admit I grabbed this one during an Audible classics sale, otherwise I would have passed it by. Thank you Audible for the sale. Faulkner is a master, and now I know why.
This story was written in the early 1930s and gives us a look into life of small southern communities of the era. If you have delicate sensibilities about the use of certain racial slurs or racist thinking in general, then this book is not for you.
Life was slower. Society was rigid. Opportunities for non-whites, the poor and women were limited. LIGHT IN AUGUST handles these big themes. Good and evil. Light and dark. Religion. Sex. Race. Death. But it's also just a dang good story.
If Faulkner had told the story in a linear fashion, starting at Point A and leading us to The End, it would be interesting. Instead, he entrances us by slowly unfurling the characters, their backgrounds, their reasons for action (or non-action) and their interconnectedness.
As a narrator, Will Patton is amazing. He brings forth the southern accents and characters like the true professional he is. Some of the characters made me laugh out loud with their southern grammar and slang -- I'm certain it would have not been nearly as fun trying to read through it myself and figuring out what the heck was being said. Patton brought even more color and life to the story.
Author C.E. Morgan has called Faulkner, "A writer of prodigious powers." She was right.
Fast read/listen about what it takes to become a Navy Seal and how one ends up in a compound in Pakistan looking for Osama bin Laden. This story was exactly what I'd hoped it would be ... background on what goes into a mission like the one we all heard about, plus a little peek into the ones we never knew about and never will.
This is an honest f*ck-up the bad guys kind of story written by a real warrior. It's not an easy life these guys choose, but we need them and I'm thankful they're out there doing the dirty work.
Having listened to this book made me a very annoying person to watch ZERO DARK THIRTY with. When it got to the Navy Seals and the invade-the-compound part, I kept telling my movie "dates" things like, "They actually trained on this for months ahead of time." and "The Seals always sweep buildings after they secure them, looking for intel." I'm sure everyone was very appreciative of my knowledge.
If you're interested in our modern military, CIA, FBI, intelligence gathering, war on terror, blowing up bad guys, Afghanistan or Iraq, then this is for you. If you'd like some more back story on the guys who did the shoot and gather mission in ZERO DARK THIRTY, then don't pass it up.
Loved the narrator. Enjoyed the story -- one I was not familiar with. Of course, much is fictionalized or conjecture based on letters, documents, legend, but Philippa Gregory did her research, and the story was entertaining, bringing the 15th Century to life.
Ms. Gregory seems to have a writing style that occasionally repeats certain phrases. Not sure if this works better in print by using visual separation (maybe chapter or paragraph breaks) then tying back with the repeated phrase -- but it's a little clunky in an audio book. In fact once or twice I thought I'd accidentally hit pause and repeat. This became a minor issue, but I did wonder if she thought maybe we weren't paying attention thus her need to remind us of certain things.
Repetition aside, I loved the story so much, I'm downloading the next in the Cousins War series ("The Red Queen") as I type this review.
This series was not written in chronological order. If you don't like jumping around your timeline of monarchs in medieval England and want to read them chronologically, then it's suggested to start with "Lady of the Rivers" (Book 3), then "The White Queen" (Book 1), and "The Red Queen" (Book 2). Then, follow the order they were written with Book 4 ("The Kingmaker's Daughter") and Book 5 ("The White Princess"). I didn't do that, and I've survived just fine.
Would have overlooked this book if not for a strong recommendation from my local independent book store. Lovely writing. So glad I gave it a listen. It was my road trip partner for a journey by myself to/from Austin, Texas.
Loved hearing a professional actor (Hope Davis) narrate this -- it was my first experience listening to an audiobook narrated by an actor I'm familiar with and I thoroughly enjoyed it. The vocal subtlety needed for the emotional scenes was well-placed in Ms. Davis' hands (er, mouth?). Later in the book, her Austrialian accents sometimes fell off, but otherwise it was a wonderful job.
Patchett creates such a sense of place that I feel like I actually visited Manaus, Brazil, and the jungle. The descriptions of loss were wrenching, especially the scene when Marina and Mr. Fox notified their co-worker's wife of her husband's death in the jungle.
Good story. Good performance. Well written. Good use of time. You can now count me as an Ann Patchett fan.
Thanks to the earlier reviewers who warned about the mid-chapter cut-offs as each of the six stories transition from one to the other -- especially the first one. I would have spent a hour trying to figure out how I screwed up the download or accidentally hit something on my MP3 when the first character stops speaking mid-sentence. And, it's true that the first character takes some patience, but stick with him.
One reviewer said the story goes like this 6 5 4 3 2 1 2 3 4 5 6, and that was so helpful for me. (Sorry, I can't remember who you are to give you attribution.) It was so helpful that I'm repeating it for potential readers.
Have faith, dear reader, it all comes together as each story progresses.
This is one that's stuck with me long after I finished it, and in fact, I'm considering grabbing the book (the one with paper pages) to see what it's like with words on the page.
I have no idea how on earth they've made this into a movie because the book is remarkable.
So, if you're a Jamie & Claire fan and have made it all the way to this book (#7 in the series), you don't need to be told about the plot, the story, the writing ... you're hooked and you know it.
Davina Porter has narrated all the Outlander books, and does an amazing job. In fact, because of Davina, I've become a huge fan of the Outlander series. She made it accessible for me in a way the written pages just weren't. Jamie's Scottish burr, the Gaelic, the French, the Cockney ... all the accents that in true Gabaldon style are written as spoken are tedious for me on the page, but through Audible, these characters have truly come alive.
And, is it just me or is Gabaldon becoming better and better with each book? Her ability to write as each character -- to get inside their heads, the words they would use, their sentence structure -- really amazing. Now she just needs to finish the 8th book!
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