©1998 Phil Rickman; (P)Isis Publishing Ltd
"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)
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.
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.
An avid reader, demanding of the story, characters and narrator. Mysteries and historical fiction are my favorites.
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.
Teacher and avid audible listener. Love well written fiction of all genres. Can even listen to a mediocre story if the narrator rocks!
It's a five
Outlander series, the characters are interesting
the marination of accents
I hope audible carries the entire series!
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.
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.
clear diction, but insufficient tonal variety to differentiate characters.
yes, worth the time.
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.
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.
I really liked the characters, the town, and the mystery. Good listen!
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!!
The fluctuations and tone of her voice. I loved her accent and the Scottish drawl on the Scottish words and the prounounciation of some
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.
Chapter 19, The Nighthouse was one favorite.
Apples - They're not as sweet or innocent as they seem.
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.
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.
"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!
"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.
"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.
"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.
"Fine book, crime mystery with a twist"
Original - compelling - wellcrafted (not one word but . . . .)
Doh! A complete package, good story line, belevable and interesting characters, well written, interesting twists in an oversubscribed genre.
All, maintained my interest throughout.
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".
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.
Yes. It was, as I like my books, intelligent and entertaining.
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.
"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!!!
"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.
"Tip top story, real page turner"
Merrily Watkins delivers the goods. Very well written rural whodunit/supernatural thriller with really strong, amusing characters . Highly recommended
Great book. Gripping right until the end. Looking froward to the next one. Very well written. Great imagery. Woul recommend
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