When a fever leaves her deaf at the age of 16, shattering her hopes of marriage, Veda Grenfell turns her exceptional talent to her father's prestigious Savile Row tailoring firm. She matures into a woman of eye-catching beauty, but it is her indomitable spirit that earns her the admiration of Harry Breadalbane, heir to an earldom. But when passion turns to betrayal, Veda abandons her beloved Savile Row and sets off on a treacherous journey into a world of deception, murder, and madness.
©2006 Janice Graham; (P)2006 Blackstone Audio Inc.
"Engrossing." (Publishers Weekly)
Don't do it. Don't waste your time or money on this book. The story falters and the audio production is the worst casting I have encountered in a lifetime of listening to audiobooks.
At least once every 10 minutes I'd discover I wasn't listening to the story any more. Instead, my mind had drifted the recording studio when they were taping. Rather than envisioning the action of the novel, I was picturing the production team. Who's decision was it to cast an American reader for a book set in Victorian England? Both the time and location of the book seemed utterly lost on her. (In her defense...the author didn't seem to have much of a sense of the period, either.)
But what was the producer doing? --texting his girlfriend? working Sudoku? browsing ebay? - that he couldn't throw the reader a lifeline and find out the correct pronunciations of words she mangled? (My favorite was "Chancellor of the Exchequer.") She mispronounced something at least once every 15 minutes. I mean, c'mon, guys-- online dictionaries have pronunciation guides, even audio links to someone saying the word right.
Maybe they thought the suspense over what she would misprounce next would liven up the pace of an otherwise inane store. I will say this in the author's defense: she wove that combined elements I'd never encountered before (a deaf girl in the world of Victorian fashion? That's new, that's interesting...) and yet still she made the plot predictable and the characters stereotypical and utterly superficial.
I did listen to the entire thing, but it was simply that it was an Audible trainwreck and I couldn't seem to break away from it.
A lame book, made virtually unendurable by its reader. Save your money.
This story gave me insight to a life never imagined: tradespeople vs. aristocracy, hearing vs. deaf, men vs. women; all in an era of the mid-1800's England.
The author takes great pains to compare the life of this young woman as a deaf person as compared to a hearing one. Granted this main theme is important, but she doesn't need to say it so often. Regardless, it is fascinating to think of how far we have come in our treatment of disabilities.
The narrator Traci Svendsgaard does a marvelous job of differentiating the voices. Some of the women sound a little squeaky and sickenly sweet, but truly it does not interfere with the tale.
This is an "antigue" version of Pretty Woman (almost) and definitely has a fairy tale ending. But the hard discussions are not overlooked. Conflicts are not hidden, but all come out blissfully happy.
I imagined many different directions the story could have gone, and the author went to none of my imaginations (thankfully). I was shocked as the story came to an end (thinking "So soon?"). You won't miss with this choice.
A gentle, amusing story with a few twists and turns to keep things interesting. An interesting insight into the world of a deaf woman and her struggles in 19th century society, she shows remarkable resilience, bravery and strength.
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