Their trysts take place in darkness, so Louise does not know her lover is Charles d'Harcourt, the passionate European playboy who just happens to be her intended! Charles is playing a game, but his plan has unexpected results. Louise has fallen for her shipboard Casanova, and Charles will have to open her eyes to his own charms if he expects to win her heart. With exotic tales featuring radiant women and vigorous men, Ivory builds her legions of fans every day. Narrator Barbara Rosenblat delivers a rousing reading that deliciously amplifies the intensity of Louise and Charles' search for love.
©1997 Judy Cuevas; (P)2001 Recorded Books
Judith Ivory writes "rich" prose that are satisfying and imaginative. Combined with this reader's abilities, "Beast" is one of the best audiobooks I've experienced (and I've listened to a LOT!). If you want a story that is more "movie-like" than the average romance novel - buy this book. You won't be disappointed in either the author's storytelling or this reader's portrayal. She can do all of the accents flawlessly, and there will be no "cringe effect" for male voices done by a female reader. Great book!
I write, I read, I listen
Ivory writes complicated characters who are anything but run of the mill. Louise is, in my opinion, Ivory's best. A young woman raised by loving parents with endless resources, very beautiful, a master of social expectations and conventions of her time (circa 1900) and place (New York, and then then the Côte d'Azur) and she is interested in nothing so much as math and the sciences. She knows her own failings and owns them to Charles telling him that she is vain and self-centered, but he has seen the parts of herself she hides away.
The second half of the story, once Louise arrives at Charles' home on the Côte d'Azur.
She narrates Charles to perfection. Perfect accent, intonation, tone. The dialogue between Charles and Louise is handled so well that sometimes I found myself breaking out in gooseflesh -- and I'm not talking about the sex scenes, which are beautifully done -- but the way they talk to each other.
No, I wanted to stretch it out.
Some people find the beginning of the book -- letters between Louise's parents and Charles -- go on too long. Rosenblatt narrates them so well that they fly right by.
The first half was vastly diffrent than the second. Unfortunately, I found it very difficult to like Louise in the second half of the book. Judith Ivory writes interestingly complex romances, but she may have outsmarted herself with this heroine.
Judith Ivory writes with such richness that I was able to overcome my rather frequent dislike of both of the main characters. And the combo of Ivory's words under Barbara Rosenblat's amazingly compelling performance definitely make this a memorable listen.
Beast is a different spin on the age old fairy tale, Beauty and the Beast. Even though you know the hero and heroine will find their way together by the end of the story, you want to continue to listen to how they finally get there. Barbara Rosenblat is a genius at creating a unique voice for each of the characters. If you like romance, I recommend this book.
I liked the overall plot. Charles a French aristocrat has one blind eye and limps due to a bad knee. (He’s the beast.) Louise’s American parents are wealthy and arrange a marriage between Charles and Louise. Charles seduces Louise in the dark on a ship. They continue seeing each other but only in the dark. She does not know he is her fiancé. When the ship docks in France, she discovers her lover left the ship without saying goodbye. She pines for him. She is then introduced to Charles and does not know that he is her shipboard lover. She dislikes Charles’ appearance. She will not let him touch her. Before and after they marry Louise will not give Charles a chance because she grieves for her lover.
The first half of the book is the romance on the ship. It was good. The second half is their time in France; it was not. Charles admires her beauty but she has no other qualities. She is conceited, mean, selfish, and bratty. I enjoyed some of the Charles parts. On the ship he realizes he is cuckolding himself. Later he wants to tell her that he was the guy on the ship, but he fears she will hate him for the dishonesty. So the big mystery is what will happen when SHE finds out and HOW will she find out. That was a huge disappointment. It was not shown. I did not see what went through her mind when she realized Charles was the lover. I did not see what event caused her to know this. All of a sudden it is a couple of days after she knew, and she is having a conversation about it. I was angry!
I also wanted to see how and why Louise fell in love with Charles. That was not developed. All of a sudden she decides to have sex with him.
After she has been cold, distant, and mean to Charles. He gives her an outrageously expensive set of jewels. He says it is because she has become such a good friend to him. Aaaack! She wasn’t a friend to him. He was nice, she was not. I did not want them to be together. In a romance book, the reader is supposed to want them to be together.
At times things were slow and drawn out. Too much pondering.
The narrator Barbara Rosenblat was excellent. She did male and female voices well. I liked her pauses. She has a pleasing British accent.
Genre: historical romance
I'm a great admirer of Ivory's historicals - smart, closely observed, interesting characters, strong love stories. This one is one of my favorites, and Rosenblat is the perfect narrator for it. She handles the accents beautifully.
I have read all of Judith Ivory's books and listened to a few in audio. My favorite in audio is "The Indiscretion". This one is similar although the character of Charles in this book is very well drawn. Her writing is very sensual and beautifully erotic at times. Too bad she has not written more books.
Audio Addict! Usually listening to History these days. Love Will Durant most of all authors!
What a thoroughly fantastic novel! I love Charles, the dark, beastly Prince. The heroine is young, but her youth is an interesting part of the story. She has the arrogant, careless whim and ignorance of youth. She also feels the emptiness of trying to figure out who she is at that crossroads between girl and woman.
Their story unfolds in a most compelling, interesting, and unusual way. I love this story. I love this narrator most. Her accents are fantastic. Her voice is enchanting. As is the very story she reads.
This is a favorite book of mine in a long time. I wanted the story to continue past the final words. And feel giddy to write this review.
Judith Ivory is a cherished author.
"Enjoyable upbeat romance."
A frothy romance with a fairy tale ending. Melt in the mouth smooth; when you?ve finished it you can?t wait to start another one. It?s all hokum of course but?who cares? It?s well written and the narrator does an excellent job, so why not indulge now and again?
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