©2003 Erin M. Hart (P)2003 Books on Tape, Inc. Published by Arrangement with Random House Audio Publishing Group, A Division of Random House, Inc.
"In every way, this is a debut to remember." (Booklist)
"In addition to a complex, multilayered plot that involves both contemporary and historical crimes, Hart's novel is rich in local color." (Publishers Weekly)
A beautiful weaving of past and present, Erin Hart leads you through several murders, one in present day Ireland and one in 1650's Ireland, and one unresolved one in Dr. Gavin's family. Examining all she shows how the past is so much a part of the present. The story is enhanced by the beautiful Irish lilt of narrator Jennifer McMahon, who is also up to the task of an American accent when needed. I'm not sure I would have enjoyed the printed version half as much as as this version read by Ms. McMahon. I have recommended this audio book to my friends.
I work to keep my reviews free of plot spoilers. I hate reviews that tell you the whole story. That said, I do love reading reviews!
Overall a beautifully written story about Ireland and Irish history. This is a book that entwines mysteries from both past and present which in the end fit together fairly well. It uses archeology, forensics, history and local lore together nicely.
However, I can understand the negative reviews that others have written. To me this was related to the lack of a clear voice telling the story. Instead the book was written from a variety of perspectives and this slowed the flow of the story and made the book seem scattered. The disjointed threads at times did not fit together making it difficult to follow a clear path. This wasn't because there was too much information, but instead because there were a few spots where things became implausible. To me, these unbelievable parts distracted from what was an engaging interweaving of past and present in the story.
Recommended if you don't mind a slower story and are able to overlook a few far fetched bits.
Well-researched hybrid of historical fiction and murder mystery with a dash of Indiana Jones-style archeology thrown in. Characters are well-developed and interesting. A particular plus is the wonderful narration. This book is better experienced on audio than in text.
I never fell asleep,I never skipped ahead,I never guess the ending. Need I say more.
This was an interesting mystery with the archeological/historical mystery thrown in. It was kind of a cozy( well not exactly a cozy more like M.C. Beaton or Louise Penny) except for the F-bombs that were so superfluous to the story they took me right out and actually took me awhile to get back in. Also this does move a bit slow, so if you are expecting a fast moving mystery this isn’t the book for that.
I was very interested to find out about the Bog body or should I say head of a red haired woman the mystery of how long the body has been in the bog is resolved pretty quickly but then the mystery of who she was starts, there is also a present day mystery of a woman and her child that have been missing for a few years. The crux of the book is these two mysteries and how they will interconnect because it’s a mystery with a present day & historical mystery so you know somehow they will come back around to each other. How they connected wasn’t done as well as I hoped they would be. Also I had pretty much figured out what happened to the missing woman.
This is the first in a series and first book for this author and I did like Nora so if she is the lead character in this series I would probably read the next book, but it won’t be one I will immediately run out and get.
Audio production: Jennifer McMahon was a new to me narrator who went back and forth from an Irish accent to an American seamlessly I was very impressed. However her male voices need a little work.
I liked this book especially well because of Jennifer McMahon, who reads superbly with an Irish accent. She clearly shifts for each character which makes it easy to follow. This book would not be nearly as good without her reading. The intertwining of the two mysteries of the bog body and the disappearance of the current landowner's wife and child make for an interesting plot. The book contains enough Irish history and country life to give a good sense of realism to the story.
I guess I understand why there are some less than enthusiastic reviews of this book. If one is looking for the simplicity of a formula romance novel, this is the wrong book. I can imagine the rich historical narrative and the exceptional literary development would be "tedious", in that case. The same goes for pulp mystery seekers. However, if a person is looking for a beautifully written, engaging, historically informative literary story, complete with sufficient mystery to keep one on the edge of one's seat throughout, and a healthy, adult sprinkling of romance, then there isn't much out there that is better than "Haunted Ground". Add to that the pleasant, lyrical narration, and it's a perfect listen!
While I have not read the print version, I feel certain that the audio presentation must be far better because the narrator moves seamlessly between Irish, English and American accents. Since in some ways Ireland itself is a character, hearing the native speech is crucial for the reader to feel the atmosphere of the country.
Erin Hart has wonderfully woven archeology and modern forensics to solve not one, but two mysteries, one centuries old and the other a recent cold case. As an historian with an interest in archeology, I have always found the "bog bodies" of Europe to be fascinating if unintentional time capsules. This novel clearly presents the character of Irish society from the 17th century to the present, all in the guise of a modern murder mystery.
Ms. McMahon's reading is beautiful, her accents for the various characters clear and compelling. She gracefully shifts from Irish to English to the US, from male to female, from young to old
For me, the most memorable character is the murdered woman whose head is found in a peat bog at the opening of the book, a beautiful girl with masses of red hair. The investigation into her brutal death in the 17th century leads the local Gardai (Gaelic for "police") to reopen a more recent cold case. While this latter case forms the major plot of the novel, the story always returns to the Cailin Rua (Gaelic for "red haired girl") and does not leave the reader wanting for answers.
My only criticism of the format is the confusing lineup of books and chapters; these "books" each having 10-12 chapters in Audible.com's production. While I understand and accept the needs of audio production, it would have been better to inform the reader the exact location within the book (or books as the case might be) for the chapter list. I suggest readers use the installed bookmark system rather than rely solely on the cutoff place. This book is far too brilliant to leave complicated by audio formatting.
Linda in Omaha
The story was good and the narrator was genius. Loved every minute of listening to this haunting tale of a body found in an Irish bog and the search to learn who's body it was.
A more driving plot line, and less meandering about. Really had a sense the author wasn't sure what to do with things and just mucked about. Disappointing
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