She has never met a man like him before. Then again, he has never met a lad like her.
In 1802, Edinburgh's poverty-ridden Old Town is rife with danger, but it is the only home Robbie MacKenzie has ever known. To safeguard herself against the worst villains of the street, Robbie conceals her femininity behind her shorn hair, dirt-smeared face, and tattered breeches. To all the world she is a lad, but beneath the ruse is a woman aching to break free.
Leaving his beloved Highlands behind in pursuit of his prodigal brother, Conall MacKay journeys to Edinburgh. There, he solicits the aid of a young street lad named Robbie. But Conall soon realizes that there is more to both Robbie and Edinburgh's Old Town than what meets the eye.
In a world where wickedness governs and darkness reigns, a savage struggle for dignity, survival, and love begins.
©2015 Lily Baldwin (P)2015 Lily Baldwin
Robbie conceals herself from being a lass by cutting her hair, wearing dirt and bruises and raggedy clothes. She lived in the vaults to survive. Her mother sacrificed herself to save her. Conall came and she helped him save his brother. Love conquers all! This is one of my favorite stories. Don't miss this one.
"Wonderful story with rich atmosphere and places many writers ignore when telling stories from this time."
Lily Baldwin weaves a wonderful tale set in the bowels of Edinburgh. Of a woman cast off before she was born by her father, loved by her mother and hidden from the world under the guise of a boy. During her struggles to survive a man from the highlands comes to find his wayward brother and she's forced to face what she's ignored her own needs and a world she left behind.
James McCreadie's narration brings the story to life. This was a wonderful way to discover this story and my first audio book. I'm thrilled with it.
Avid reader time permitting. Love audio books as I can multitask, love being inserted into the time & place of story thru narrators accents.
Even though I had already read the book, I was lucky enough to win a copy of the audio for review. I love Lily Baldwin's book and this novella was no exception! James McCreadie was very impressive in his narration of the story as well. His accent/burr added much to the story as well as his innate ability to successfully distinguish between the character's voices so that the listener was able to concentrate on the flow of the story and not have to figure out who was actually speaking. I would easily recommend any of Lily Baldwin's books and this audio version to my friends who enjoy listening to the audio versions. They leave you hands free and make you feel like you are right there with the phenomenal characters Ms. Baldwin creates.
I loved this story! It had elements of Les Miserables that pulled at my heartstrings, and similarly was a tale of sacrificing all for love. Combine that with braw highlanders and narration in a magnificent brogue. Well. What more can a lass want?
This was an OK story. One reviewer referred to the dialogue as somewhat lacking. I thought the same thing. I began to realize how often the word “said” was used so I did a search on my iPad: murmured was used 1 time, and muttered was used 4 times, and “said” was used 284 times, in this 166 page story. That doesn’t seem like very creative dialogue to me. That’s the reason I don’t read Loretta chase, since I get tired of said, said, said all the time. So, even though this was an OK story I won’t be reading anything else by this author.
I did like Conall and Robbie, especially Robbie. She’d led some kind of life growing up in Edinburgh. And the tunnels the author wrote about were certainly fascinating. I have no idea if they really exist but I know they would be truly horrible.
I didn’t like Davis, the brother Conall went to rescue, in the beginning, but he was much better at the end. I really hated Mr. Low. What a horrendous human being he was. He certainly got what he deserved.
There was no swearing to speak of and the sex was over in minute or two at the most.
As to the narrator: Again, he was just ok. He read with some emotion but not when he was supposed to. I don’t know what it was but I wasn’t crazy about his reading; sometimes monotone, sometimes not, sometimes robotic, sometimes not. This is the only narration James McCreadie has going for him right now so I think he needs to listen to narrators like Robert Petkoff or Eric Dove or Sebastian York, some of the really great narrators. He wasn’t horrible but he could have been better.
These Vaults actually exist, although their original intent was not meant to live in. Their eventual use only shows the desperate times of people in poverty. They did anything to survive. I had heard of the city of thieves under Paris, but didn’t know about the Vaults. It was an unusual setting to have love blossom, nevertheless a very compelling listen. Skillfully written with powerfully moving scenes, Ms. Baldwin told of the injustice women suffered during that time.
Claudine Ducet, Robbie’s mother, an actress was admired and success was at hand. She had such a wonderful beginning of a profession she reveled in. Her parents had believed in her, therefore sent her to Edinburgh to act. But the innocent are not left alone, but found by men with only their own gratification in mind.
A daughter was born in the vaults (a place rarely known to the world above), named Robbie. Claudine insisted Robbie a boy, for her own safety and her very life. Her mum had given all she could to keep her safe; they were able to leave the Vaults. The Vaults were dangerous and a place one wouldn’t seek unless they were totally desperate. At 13, Robbie didn’t know how much longer she could stay hidden. Her body was changing, curves appeared where should be none. She made sure to have plenty of bruises on her face to hide its feminine features. Robbie had learned much in her young life – she had wisdom beyond her years.
When faced with near starvation or helping a stranger, Condall MacKay, kind and determined to find his brother, she chose to help Condall Mackay. With that decision, Robbie’s life took on new direction. Was she strong and brave enough to survive a world totally foreign to her?
Truly, Lily Baldwin writes superbly. Her characters are rich in emotion, determination and bravery. Where there is little hope of success, Robbie and Condall are willing to try.
The narrator James McCreadie, a true Scot, thrusts us into the heart of Edinburgh, into the depths of the Vaults. His brogue made me feel I was there, right beside Robbie. I’m eager to hear him continue with her series.
This is not the typical love story. I've read stories before where the heroine has to pretend to be male, for situational reasons, but I've not read or heard much about a young woman who was raised as a male to save her from the dangerous existence she was born into. I really appreciated the H/h characters, too. Robbie is a good person who has lived since birth in an underworld of the lowest of people. She does what she has to do to survive, and appreciates any kindness shown her. She sees the good in people who are invisible to others because of their unfortunate circumstances. Conall is a gentleman with good morals who loves his home and family, but he will fight if forced to do so.
For a novella, this story has quite a few memorable moments, but one that stands out is when Robbie explains to Conall why the sunrise is so important to her.
It's just a beautiful story to listen to! I might try to read the story with a Scottish brogue but would definitely fail. He differentiated Robbie's Lowland dialect somewhat from that of Highlander Conall. He did the voice of the old woman, Peggy, very well. I really enjoyed his entire narration.
This story stayed with me for a very long time after I initially read it as part of an anthology. I was just amazed at how the author could create such beautiful characters, set them in a horrific place and still have it all work out.
I really loved the story and just had to listen to Mr. McCreadie's narration of it. He did a great job with it. I would definitely listen to him again.
NOTE: I was given the audiobook as a gift and wanted to leave a review in appreciation.
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