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The Wine of Angels | [Phil Rickman]

The Wine of Angels

A paradise parish of cobbled streets and timber-framed houses, and a huge, haunted vicarage were not what the Revd Merrily Watkins ever had in mind. Nor had she wanted to walk into a local dispute over a play about a curious 17th century cleric accused of witchcraft, a story that certain old-established families would rather remained in obscurity. But this is Ledwardine, steeped in cider and secrets.
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Publisher's Summary

A paradise parish of cobbled streets and timber-framed houses, and a huge, haunted vicarage were not what the Revd Merrily Watkins ever had in mind. Nor had she wanted to walk into a local dispute over a play about a curious 17th century cleric accused of witchcraft, a story that certain old-established families would rather remained in obscurity. But this is Ledwardine, steeped in cider and secrets. And also as Merrily and her teenage daughter, Jane, discover, a village where horrific murder is a tradition spanning centuries.

©1998 Phil Rickman; (P)Isis Publishing Ltd

What the Critics Say

"Woven through is the wonderful web of mysticism and the supernatural which we have come to expect....The clever combination of modern idiom and the timeless echo of history leaps from every page." (Daily Express)
"A first-rate thriller with supernatural overtones...deftly illuminates the intrigues of village life. Quirky characters, an abundance of plot twists." (Publishers Weekly)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.0 (152 )
5 star
 (56)
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2 star
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Overall
4.0 (83 )
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3 star
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Story
4.1 (82 )
5 star
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4 star
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3 star
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2 star
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1 star
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Performance
Sort by:
  •  
    Ruth LA, USA 03-07-12
    Ruth LA, USA 03-07-12 Member Since 2003
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Brilliant!"

    Discovered Phil Rickman thru an audible recommendation in 2009 and I never looked back. His novels are hard to categorize but are based on strong character development and for those fascinated with all things UK he interlaces mystery, crime, faith, music, single parent life, politics and history into fabulous tales. I am not religious nor brought up in the Christian faith so it took a long time before I said yes to this recommendation. mmmm, female Church of England clergy who becomes an exorcist in subsequent novels? Really? Really! Add - a bit of the supernatural as possibility.

    Rebecca Lacey is the narrator of "wine of roses" - the first Merrily Watkins and Emma Powell takes over in the second book of this series. Both super narrators. All books are available in audio but not all are yet available on audible. Most are available as e-books. Read, read, read!!! (listen :).) Characters are a bit quirky to US readers but this is what makes them so appealing.

    7 of 7 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Rose Chesapeake, OH, United States 09-13-07
    Rose Chesapeake, OH, United States 09-13-07 Member Since 2004
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    "Women of Spirit"

    This is not meant to be a cozy read. In the first scene of the book the reader is introduced to characters and themes that inform the entire book-- the sacred place, the lore of the place and the struggle between newcomers and those with deep roots in the village of Ledwardwine, a village that was once renowned as the village in the apple orchard. The remains of this once extensive orchard is a plot outside the Churchyard, hence outside of consecrated ground where suicides, excommunicates and others who died outside of the church would be buried.

    Remember that Rickman attaches weight to every symbol be it gesture, word or figure.

    Actually I liked the narrator so any problems with understanding Emma Powell (who is not the listed narrator) might be a problem with audio equipment. Emma Powell is a British actor and voice over artist.

    6 of 7 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Sherry Sycamore, IL, United States 03-20-12
    Sherry Sycamore, IL, United States 03-20-12 Member Since 2009

    Teacher and avid audible listener. Love well written fiction of all genres. Can even listen to a mediocre story if the narrator rocks!

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    "Rickman's Merrily series is addictive."
    Where does The Wine of Angels rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    It's a five


    What other book might you compare The Wine of Angels to and why?

    Outlander series, the characters are interesting


    What does Rebecca Lacey bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

    the marination of accents


    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    yes


    Any additional comments?

    I hope audible carries the entire series!

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Polly Philadelphia, PA, United States 01-27-14
    Polly Philadelphia, PA, United States 01-27-14 Member Since 2010

    An avid reader, demanding of the story, characters and narrator. Mysteries and historical fiction are my favorites.

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "A Long Way to go for a Good Ending"

    Throughout the listening of this book, I frequently thought, "When will something happen?"

    The author, I presume, wanted to represent real life, which is full of long dull conversations and uneventful days. But I was bored. The last 30 minutes of the story really grabbed me, but was it worth the first 15 1/2 hours? I'm not convinced it was.

    I liked the main characters, and I would like to know what happens to them in the rest of the series. Maybe I can find "cliff notes."

    I want to add that the narrator read this book in what was almost a monotone. Yikes.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Austyannie 11-01-13
    Austyannie 11-01-13
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    "Really tried to like it"
    Would you recommend this book to a friend? Why or why not?

    I enjoy Mr Rickman's books, having quite a few of the paperbacks on my shelves. However I could not extend this to this particular audio book. I found the narrator did not have sufficient variation in her voice to differentiate the characters and found myself "rewinding" or having to listen very closely in an attempt to discern which character was supposedly saying what.


    Would you be willing to try another book from Phil Rickman? Why or why not?

    As mentioned, I have enjoyed reading a number of the books in the past, so I would be willing to try another book, if another narrator was employed with clearer distinctions between characters.


    What three words best describe Rebecca Lacey’s performance?

    clear diction, but insufficient tonal variety to differentiate characters.


    Was The Wine of Angels worth the listening time?

    yes, worth the time.


    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    CB 02-25-13
    CB 02-25-13
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    "A contemporary, edgy, uncozy-cozy mystery!"
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    Very good story, kept me very engaged, a little mom-teenager relationship, a little magical older woman stuff, some very dark characters, mysterious and just the right amount of suspense.


    Which scene was your favorite?

    Interesting story from a century before woven through. The main character, who is a Church of England priest, is very contemporary and thoughtful and someone who I could relate too. I like her character.


    Any additional comments?

    I really liked the characters, the town, and the mystery. Good listen!

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Amber 03-28-12
    Amber 03-28-12
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    "Very enjoyable!"

    I really did like this book! Very detailed & well written. Plan to listen to each one in the series. I am a huge fan of Diana Gabaldon & she recommended this series on her website.Rebecca Lacey did a great job with the narration. I hope Audible carries all of Rickman's books!!

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Janis United States 03-26-12
    Janis United States 03-26-12
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    "Secrets of an old English Village"
    What made the experience of listening to The Wine of Angels the most enjoyable?

    The fluctuations and tone of her voice. I loved her accent and the Scottish drawl on the Scottish words and the prounounciation of some


    What was one of the most memorable moments of The Wine of Angels?

    Picturing Miss Devenish's little store, Ledwardine Lore. Filled with all it's apple themed items and fairies. Imaging Miss Devenish in her poncho and hat with such strong opinions and beliefs.


    Which scene was your favorite?

    Chapter 19, The Nighthouse was one favorite.


    If you were to make a film of this book, what would be the tag line be?

    Apples - They're not as sweet or innocent as they seem.


    Any additional comments?

    Really enjoyed the book and audio. First real reading I've gotten back to and for my first book club that I have ever been part of. Good experience.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Leigh A McCullough 04-13-07 Member Since 2004
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Wine"

    I hope you carry all of Mr Rickman's books

    5 of 7 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Autumn Marina, CA, United States 08-08-06
    Autumn Marina, CA, United States 08-08-06
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    "A little depressing..."

    started listening to the Wine of Angels with high hopes. It had everything, a mystery, a cozy story, an intriguing enigmatic heroine...But frankly after the first three hours of narrator mumbling, I found myself disinterested. The author seems pre-occupied with death and suicide. The character Lowell just goes on and on about his ex, his sad life, his whiney music career, how he wants to kill himself but can't... Who cares? Likewise, Merrily who should be a tough cookie after her stint in Liverpool is so put off by overhearing someone make a rude remark about her; she throws away her cassock, and had nightmares about it? Is this author for real?

    There are also long segments of story where the Merrily's daughter Janie is heavily featured. I could care less. I wanted more about the mystery, more about the main character and what is really going on in this strange small town. I also felt the author's female characters weren't feminine enough. Merrily's reactions were hysterical at some times, masculine at others. She just didn't seem real.

    Overall, this novel could benefit from an editor. I gave it my best shot, but I lost interest. 2 Stars.

    11 of 18 people found this review helpful
  • Showing: 1-10 of 15 results PREVIOUS12NEXT
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  • Allan
    glasgowUnited Kingdom
    8/24/06
    Overall
    "Pink Moon Is Gonna Get Ye All"

    Rickman seduces you into his sleepy, pastoral village of Ledwardine with promises of home brewed cider and fairies at the bottom of the orchard. Only when it's too late for the reader/listener to catch the last bus home does he scratch away the surface to reveal the sordid underbelly of English country life doused in incest, blood-feuds, rape and murder.
    This, the first of the Merrily Watkins procedurals is a ghost story wrapped inside a mystery and bound tightly together with the twine of dark folklore. It also delivers a plot twist that gives the sort of jolt you would normally only expect from a gibbet trapdoor.
    As always Rickman's dialogue is a joy as he fleshes out the various suicidal dreamers, quirky eccentrics and sexual predators who inhabit his strange little village. As Nick Drake, the quintessential lost soul himself, who makes an eerie cameo role in the book says - The Pink Moon is gonna get you all!

    14 of 14 people found this review helpful
  • Jane
    Sheffield, United Kingdom
    11/30/07
    Overall
    "Grabbed me midway through"

    About a third of a way into this novel I was seriously considering trying something else instead. I didn't know where the plot was going and there were several unpleasant characters with long stretches of dialogue. Gradually, however, it began to grip me and at the end I lay awake way too late into the night to finish listening to it, then woke up the next morning to order the next in the series (which is Midwinter of the Spirit). So, it's a fairly slow start but bear with it because all the plot elements gradually twist together and there are various gripping mysteries that reach a satisfying conclusion.

    10 of 10 people found this review helpful
  • Susan
    Redditch, United Kingdom
    4/13/13
    Overall
    "Merrily Watkins series book 1."

    An enjoyable listen incorporating village politcs and murder amongst the apple orchards. Paganism and and a touch of the supernatural spice up the mixture. Some good lead characters amongst the cardboard cutouts and music by Nick Drake. Phil Rickman seems to have thrown a lot of different plotlines into this story, it will be interesting to see where he goes with the rest of the series.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • Michael
    Chatham, United Kingdom
    2/13/09
    Overall
    "Superb audio version"

    I have read all the current books in this series so was interested to see how the audiobooks compared. I am happy to say that judging from The Wine of Angels I have only 2 worries. Firstly I see that the full series is not yet available, hopefully it will be very soon, Secondly a change of reader, hope the new reader is as good as the first, she got all voices right except Gomer Parry, I know this is a personal thing, some may feel she got him just right. Finally a message to Audible... Get the other titles in the series!!!

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • Ms
    United Kingdom
    4/9/13
    Overall
    "Don't read this when you are alone............."

    This was a fabulous novel: with characters so detailed that the listener is completely drawn in to the world of the Merrily, Jane, Gomer and the borderland. I really couldn't stop listening and was enthralled by the interwoven plots that layered so many mysteries that my mind worked overtime trying to fathom them out. What can I say. Excellent.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • CARRYN
    PLEDELIAC, France
    2/20/14
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Will I get to the end"

    I am perservering but this has to rate as one of the most boring books I have listened to I am already on the second part and it is only now that something is happening Could possibly recommend it unless you need something to fall asleep to

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Paul D
    Halland, United Kingdom
    1/3/14
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Fine book, crime mystery with a twist"
    If you could sum up The Wine of Angels in three words, what would they be?

    Original - compelling - wellcrafted (not one word but . . . .)


    What was one of the most memorable moments of The Wine of Angels?

    Doh! A complete package, good story line, belevable and interesting characters, well written, interesting twists in an oversubscribed genre.


    Which scene did you most enjoy?

    All, maintained my interest throughout.


    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    10 hours, one sitting? Nothing is that good, i have a life. However it did hold my interest and always demanded, "five minutes more", or "just finish the chapter".


    Any additional comments?

    This is my first by this author and i note that it is part of a series. I really enjoyed this book and will probably listen to more. A little reluctant as i feel that much of the enjoyment was based on the "difference" and fear that this will be lost on further listening.
    A very credittable 4 star read.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Tilde
    Copenhagen, Denmark
    12/3/13
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Enjoyable"
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    Yes. It was, as I like my books, intelligent and entertaining.


    Any additional comments?

    A thorougly enjoyable novel. Not great Art, but a really good listen, with a - to me - very believable balance between common-sense and faith, without falling too much into any category of unreasonable stereotyping. Yes. Certainly stereotyping happens (it always does), but nothing that grates on my nerves.
    And a fewm good, plot-twists along the way :-)
    I'm hoping that Audible will offer all the Merrily Watkins books unabridged, and not - as is the case now - have the series with a huge hole in the middle.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Kirstine
    Bonnyrigg, United Kingdom
    1/18/10
    Overall
    "A muddle of too many themes"

    Maybe because I don't particularly like stories that depend on the supernatural, I didn't much enjoy this book. I think it tries to deal with too many themes: supernatural phenomena; religious belief; paedophilia; prejudice against homosexuality; mental illness; women priests; dislike of newcomers into a village and so on. It was all very confusing with lots of characters as well, even though the narrator made a valiant effort to distinguish the various voices. Disappointing.

    3 of 8 people found this review helpful
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