©1991 Jo Beverley; (P)2003 Recorded Books
"Arguably today's most skillful writer of intelligent historical romance"...(Publishers Weekly).
At first Eleanor was about as annoying as they come. She whined about everything and went from elated to suicidal over a look from Nicholas.
I considered bailing on the story, but stuck it out. It WAS a bit of a complicated plot for not really any reason, but isn't that true of many books? I think perhaps it was partially related to the time period the book was set in, when it seems to me many things that were fussed over were trivial.
I finished it yesterday and noticed myself missing them today. Jill Tanner did a great job of narrating.
I became so annoyed with the whole story that I was unable to finish it by Part 3. It was a very strange and complicated plot for no reason at all. I could not relate to any of the characters, especially the main ones: Eleanor and Nicholas. The way they reacted to situations was often ridiculous. In addition, sometimes the book was confusing and I would have to re-listen to sections before moving forward. It was too tiresome! Not worth it.
I felt like putting on 2x the speed to hurry . Great narration. Story good but just could of used 2 hours of cuts along the way..
Her character voices and intonation were good but some pauses in narration were too long.
The story was too predictable.
I have been a huge fan of Jo Beverley’s for many years. Recently as you are aware, I have gotten into audio books. While I read An Arranged Marriage quite a few years ago, I decided I want to revisit the Company of Rogues series and what better way to start than with the first one. I vaguely remembered the characters, but none of the details of the plot. I’m so glad I listened to this astonishing book!
Ms. Beverley has taken quite a few liberties that as a newbie writer, I’ve been told are big no-nos. Firstly, the heroine is raped in the opening scene, but Ms. Beverley handles this so well that she immediately captured my attention and held it throughout the book. It is a horrendous scene and the rapist is doing it under extreme duress. He is actually the hero’s brother, a man in fear of his very life if the truth ever came out that he preferred men. As you can see, very compelling and riveting!
Secondly, the hero commits adultery, another issue that is frowned upon. Again, Ms. Beverley makes it such an essential part of the story that she has my heart aching for Nicholas and what he has to endure at the hands of the very evil French courtesan, who is suspected of trying to put Bonaparte back in power. Not only does he have to commit adultery, he falls desperately in love with Eleanor, the woman he felt obligated to marry to get his brother out of his troubles. Again, a horrid circumstance that moved me to tears on several occasions.
This is not a story for the faint of heart. It’s messy and emotionally- charged throughout the entire book. Poor Eleanor’s situation is truly heart-wrenching from the first page until the very end. At times, I even wondered if this couple would have a happy ending, but a las it is romance and dear Eleanor and Nicholas do have their “happily ever after”, one that is well deserved. They had to walk through fire to get it!
If you enjoy a story that will tear at your heart and have you sitting on the edge of your seat, then I highly recommend this fantastic book. Just remember you have been warned it is not a heart and flowers kind of tale. Of course, Ms. Beverley’s novel rarely are. Happy reading!
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