©2004 Penny Vincenzi (P)2009 Phoenix
I'm not above a good soap opera...Trollope, Dickens, etc., but this one was so bad that I must warn people about it. It's written in the Romance fiction genre as in Barbara Cartlen, etc. The love scenes are ridiculous. There is so much "fill" that one sits and waits for the plot to move on. The narrator does and okay job with the British accents except for the lower classes which cause one to wince every time she does one. Stereotypical cardboard characterizations throughout.
A big disappointment.
When I began this novel, I was dismayed when I realized the time period in which it took place. After all, I had recently read Ken Follett's "Fall of Giants" and I was afraid of getting bored with the "Roaring Twenties". Well, nothing could have been less truthful! The characters are unique and although some of the circumstances may be the same, the perceptions are what make the story, right? Bravo Ms. Vincenzi! You made me laugh, cry, and gasp with anticipation at many different times! I eagerly await more from you. No pressure! :-D
This book is a beautiful family saga that will engage you for hours. Hard to "put down". Highly recommended
This book does a good job of exploring a wide variety of human emotions that are still relevant in today's society. No, the story doesn't move fast, but that's not the point of the book. Interesting story, intriguing setting, and some fascinating plot twists.
While not exactly unpredictable, this very long book has enough twists and turns and sufficient character development to keep it interesting. This is a good beach "read". I will probably listen to others by this author.
I ignore genre labels. Some of my favorite books are outside my genre comfort zone. Listening to audiobooks is still reading. Not theater.
One of the most impressive aspects of this book is the main characters aren't really very likeable. Typically, if I don't like at least the main characters, I don't like the book. But the author does a very good job of taking unsympathetic people whose neck you would like to wring and make you care for them, regardless. Each of them means well just often enough that they cannot be totally without value.
That is important because this is a very long book and it drags in places. What keeps it moving are the characters.
The book does a very good job of portraying England during the 1st World War and the terrible affect it has on an entire generation of men and the sad but very liberating affecting it had on many women. She did a great job of driving home the point I often heard about post-World War II in the US. Women became used to holding responsible positions in the work place. They had authority. They kept businesses together during a very difficult time and in some cases actually created more profitable, more stable businesses, just for the men in their lives to come back and take over once the war was finished. She showed how destroying the combination of the ex-soldier's ghosts, the tragedy he witnessed and the woman's resentment at having everything taken away from her once she had a taste of freedom could be on a marriage, a family, an economy and a nation.
It also paints an interesting portrait at a critical time in British history - the blurring of the classes- the crossing over that occurred and how it affected the country going forward.
There are 2 more books in this series. Audible does not have them. If they did I would read them.
This book reminded me of Susan Howatch's earlier books. It is a big book full of big and flawed characters. As I read it my alliances and sympathies jumped from character to character and back again. There were a few weak sections. The heroine's "should I or should I not" debate over leaving her husband for her lover went on way too long. And her mothering skills and actions were inconsistent. But overall this was a great story. Finally, it gave a great description of how the end of the war affected the women back home in Britain, who had been running the country only to be rudely displaced upon the return home of the soldiers.
I enjoyed the book but, it fell short in the end, it wrapped up to easily. I was interested, but not consumed by this story.
Loved this book! A perfect beach read (although I never go to the beach). However, the next two books in the trilogy are not on Audible. What's up with that?
Loved the book. It gives the reader a glimpse inside the lives of a family ripped apart by WW1 and then patched back together in the post war aftermath. Celia became a close friend by the end--despite her flaws, you can't help but love and respect her and the way in which she deals with the trials of keeping a family and business running. What I liked most is the message this book sends. It's a message that seems so outdated by today's society. The message that marriages and families are more important than the pursuit of happiness for oneself. Celia's Mother was always so wise in her assessments. I liked her advice immensely. Even if passion and love is switched to another, that isn't enough reason to dissolve a marriage. The children need to be considered first. Celia makes the right choice in the end and discovers, if not happiness, at least peace.
"English book,American accent - why?"
This was a lovely book predominantly featuring English aristocracy around the First World War. So why the American accent? It detracted so much from the story that I nearly gave up and read the book instead! Some of the pronunciations were so excruciatingly wrong that I wondered who had edited the audio book? I practically hit the roof over ' Passchendaele' in particular. If you can get over the accent then you'll enjoy the story. It has been difficult to rate the book and I eventually settled on 4 out of 5 - a different narrator would have been 5 stars.
"A thoroughly enjoyable read"
Penny Vincenzi at her best. I loved this audiobook and kept listening at every opportunity. It flowed well and was easy to follow. My only criticism was the reader's cockney accent - it's terrible. However, the book is 26 hours long so you do get used to it after a while so don't let this put you off.
This is by far the best book I have ever read BUT WHY oh WHY use an american to read a quintessential english novel. Her accent is absolutely terrible, the book is FAB!
"Great read, shame about the narrator"
Who's bright idea was it to have an American narrator for what is undeniably an English/England inspired read? The Aussie/cockney accent is atrocious not to mention the complete mispronunciation of English counties and other oddities that we, British born and bred, have enough difficulty with! All that having been said, No Angel is a great read and at 26 hours certainly worth the price of the audio book. Ms Vicenzi has a great way with words and knows how to tell a story and engage the listener and once I stopped sniggering at the mispronunciations etc, found myself eager to listen and enjoy right to the end.
I want ALL Penny's books via Audible, but the majority of them are abridged, and I hate that. Penny succeeds in writing about issues we all wonder about, but with a flair that you cannot possibly stop reading.
So please, will you get them all in the UNABRIDGED format please, because whatever she writes is Brilliant and compelling, As is this one.
It is a very good book - I love Penny Vincenzi - but an American narrator on an English novel is a no no - spoilt the experience over and over - having said that I finished the book and found it moving at the end - I stuck with it because I liked the characters.
"Terrible, TERRIBLE English accent"
This audiobook was ruined for me by terrible narration. For some reason, the narrator is American (why, when this is a British story based in London?). Her British accent is tolerable (but still awful) when narrating voices of Lytton family, but it's frankly laughable when narrating cockney English. It ruined the story completely for me, and I wouldn't say this audiobook is worthy of such a price tag.
But still, at least she gives Dick Van Dyke a run for his money.
"Book was Ok, but some of the accents were awful"
I would not buy another book, set in England, narrated by Carrington MacDuffie
The story was OK. It was the awful accents and pronounciation that made it unenjoyable.
As the story was set for at least 95% of the time in England, I would have cast an English narrator. Or, at the very least, someone who could immitate an English accent. To be fair, there were one or two accents that were believable (the totally sterotypical upper class ones), but most were absolutely cringe worthy. I was pleased when one of the characters died because it meant I didn't have to listen to his totally unrealistic voice again.
Names, places and words were mispronounced constantly. I accept that Americans pronounce some words differently, but when an English character is saying things in a way that only an American would, it ruins the flow the story.
Carrington MacDuffie is obviously a very comptetant narrator, but not when it comes to English accents and pronounciations.
No Angel almost inspired me to return the book for a refund!
The book was good. The storyline was fine. It was the narration that totally spoilt it for me.
I might buy another book by the same author, but I would definitely check who was narrating it first, or buy it in a different format (ie Kindle or 'real' book)
It was the narration that spoilt it for me. Most of the accents were painful to the ear.
Why on earth was an American narrator chosen for this project?
"Only on the first book..."
but the narrator is driving me daft !..Why, oh why would anyone in their right mind employ this lady to read this story??!!
"why, oh why"
is an American-accented narrator reading this totally English book? While the narrator has a pleasant voice and the book is fine (passes the time while doing boring chores), the accent's like chalk scraping on an old-fashioned blackboard. note to self: listen to the sample before buying the book! (she also mispronounces place names which easily could be correctly pronounced, even with the 'wrong'accent: that's just plain lazy)
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