In 1924, a young vaudeville actress takes on the role of a lifetime when she impersonates a missing heiress in The Impersonator, the 2012 MB/MWA First Novel Competition winner.
In 1917, Jessie Carr, fourteen years old and sole heiress to her family's vast fortune, disappeared without a trace. Now, years later, her uncle Oliver Beckett thinks he's found her: a young actress in a vaudeville playhouse is a dead ringer for his missing niece. But when Oliver confronts the girl, he learns he's wrong. Orphaned young, Leah's been acting since she was a toddler.
Oliver, never one to miss an opportunity, makes a proposition - with his coaching, Leah can impersonate Jessie, claim the fortune, and split it with him. The role of a lifetime, he says. A one-way ticket to Sing Sing, she hears. But when she's let go from her job, Oliver's offer suddenly looks a lot more appealing. Leah agrees to the con but secretly promises herself to try and find out what happened to the real Jessie. There's only one problem: Leah's act won't fool the one person who knows the truth about Jessie's disappearance.
Set against a Prohibition-era backdrop of speakeasies and vaudeville houses, Mary Miley's The Impersonator will delight readers with its elaborate mystery and lively prose.
©2013 Mary Miley Theobald (P)2013 Blackstone Audio, Inc.
Say something about yourself!
I am pretty good at getting an audiobook and devouring it. I've had this book for about a month now and am still struggling to get through it. I love the era this book is set in and liked the premise--a hungry, down-on-her-luck vaudevillian gets tapped to play the role of her life--impersonating a likely-deceased heiress. And sharing in the millions, should the ruse work.There are elements of a light mystery, a gothic thriller, and a romance. But for me, I just haven't been able to get to the end, primarily due to the narration. I've listened with satisfaction to one other of Tavia Gilbert's work. But here, I just found her too breathy, too callow-sounding for a slick, street-wise 25-year-old actress, basically a grafter, who's agreed to pretend she's a younger someone else--for real.,
I probably would have encouraged Ms. Gilbert to change her interpretation.
I'm starting to sound really mean. It just didn't work for me.
I won't know the answer to that until I get through it. I think Mary Miley probably wrote a solid book, probably the only reason I've made it as far as I have.
Narration is in the ear of the listener. This one didn't work for me. But it might for someone else. I recommend that one do a preview listen before using that credit.
I don't usually rush out for all the "best sellers", but give each intriguing book/author a look. I have found many diamonds in the rough.
Author Mary Miley, won the 2012 Minotaur Books/Mystery Writers of America First Novel Competition for, "The Impersonator", and I can see why. A fantastic, fast moving story with plenty of adventure and mystery, all based around the wonderful, roaring 20's.
The strong, female lead character is such a hoot and quite scandalous for that day and age. This is an engaging story about a young Vaudevillian actress that is lead into a villainous plan of deception and impersonation in order to inherit a fortune. Along the way she is met by her own conscience while her feelings and concerns grow for the family that she never had, and is now trying to swindle. During her deception she is faced with continuous threats on her life, bootlegging, murder and a possible love interest. As she delves deeper into the family history, she learns of deception even deeper than her own, and dreams of an entity that just may be closer than she thinks. Confusion surrounds our main character as she goes through a very dangerous period of self discovery. Full and wonderful supporting characters that are all so original and become even more prevalent as the conspiracy unfolds.
Tavia Gilbert did a fantastic job narrating! She absolutely was the perfect voice for our heroine and all of the other characters were distinguishable, even her male voices were genuine and recognizable. I thoroughly enjoyed this listen and would recommend it.
Sizzling, intriguing, gutsy
When, during prohibition, they are served champagne in tea cups at a fancy restaurant.
No, it's better to savor all the imagery.
I can't wait to see what happens in the second book! I love the main character and all her clothes and experiences. I also want to follow up with some more books or information about vaudeville during that period.
A Cynic At Large
I've already recommended this to a friend, and think she will be delighted.
Ok, so the plot is fun but not necessarily unexpected. What really moves it is getting to meet the characters and the terrific scene setting. Sometimes authors spend either to much or to little time on the surroundings, but this book makes me feel I really am back in prohibition times in the roaring 20's.
Jessie is believable, likable, and enough of a pragmatist and romantic to appeal to both my practical and fantasy loving sides.
I'd love to go out to dinner with Jessie, but also the David character is interesting. I'd like to know more about him.
I can't say enough about the person narrating this book. She did a spectacular job. Tava Gilbert caught the intonation of the speech of the time, and really brought the characters alive.
Yes, the protagonist is personable and interesting. If they like historical mysteries, or books set in the 20's, this one is not to be missed.
Josephine Tey's Brat Ferrar is one of my favorite books and the inspiration for this mystery, and at first I was worried this one would fall flat in comparison. But the author pulled it off, and did a wonderful job painting the setting, both physical and historical.
No, but she was excellent at giving different characters their voices. Leah/Jessie in particular is given an appealingly young and spirited sound.
Leah, but I'd rather see her in one of her vaudeville shows!
It was a good book, but it felt like the author had a high word count to reach. The story was well researched and had its good moments. At times I felt like I was in the 20s, and sometimes it felt forced. The book could have been better if it had been edited and reduced by 100 pages. In the end, I'll probably read another book by this author.
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