Lady Julia Grey travels through India, accompanied by her sister, Portia, her brother, Plum, and occasionally her husband - Brisbane. Along the way, Portia becomes convinced of a murder, and all four are pulled into the dark underbelly of 19th-century India.
©2010 Deanna Rayburn (P)2010 Audible, Inc.
"Narrator Ellen Archer dives into the story with abandon and is clearly enjoying herself with the rich cast of characters, including an upper-crust English spinster, a disheveled Welsh doctor, and the White Rajah, a charismatic hermit who lives in a nearby monastery. Archer also offers a thoughtful, rich performance as Julia, who slyly competes with her husband to solve the case." (AudioFile)
I'm glad Lady Julia and Brisbane are back! Their romance is so sweet, Brisbane is a very good detective and the story plot is well thought out. I loved this book the hours flew by and I wish it was longer.
This is the 4th in one of my favourite series and it's as good as I could have hoped. The exotic setting at the foot of the Himalayas is wonderful - there is even a humorous bit where several of the main characters try to figure out where they are (what country they are actually in). The characters are diverse and interesting and you may change your mind several times as to who is actually good, who is bad and what all of their hidden agendas are. Lady Julia and her husband Brisbane, being newly married in this book, are among the most likable detective couples around. Their witty dialogue, especially when they are arguing, is so much fun, while not overpowering the actual mystery and even the sad parts of the story ( and there are a few).
Ellen Archer is a great narrator - ok, maybe her Portia voice is a little odd, but the rest of her characters, particularily Julia, are really well done and pleasant to listen to. I had no problems differentiating voices and accents to know who was speaking,whether male or female. I would have rated this book 4 1/2 stars if I could - only declining to go with 5 stars because Portia's slightly irritating voice takes a little getting used to. (Mind you that's just a matter of personal taste. I've read other reviews on her other audiobooks, where people loved Portia's voice and some where they didn't like Julia's)
I would recommend downloading the first three in the seriest first if possible, but that being said, you would have no trouble following the story in this book, even if this was your first Deanna Raybourn.
I hope this series continues with many more installations and I hope Ellen Archer continues to narrate the audio versions.
Deanna Raybourn hasn't disappointed in this 4th installment of Lady Julia/Nicholas Brisbane series. The story is intriguing and absorbing, set in a rather exotic setting [India] and with a cast of characters, each of whom has a motive for murder, a "White Rajah" who isn't exactly who he seems to be, and a man-eating tiger.
But Ellen Archer, who is an American actress faking a British accent, is inadequate, as she has been in the previous 3 books. She badly needs a speech coach. Her attempt at being "elegant" results in numerous mispronounced words, the wrong syllabic emphasis for no reason, strangled vowels that sometimes make it very difficult to understand her. She doesn't do regional accents very well; indeed, the only two characters who sound normal are Americans! [Ms. Archer, however, has a lovely singing voice] I think Barbara Rosenblat [Amelia Peabody novels], also American, is the exception that proves the rule: if a story is being told in the first person by a British narrator, get a Brit to do the narration. If Lady Julia hadn't sounded as if she was being choked to death a number of times, I'd have given this book 5 stars.
I enjoyed this story enough to investigate the rest of the series. The English Upper Classes traveling in India is interesting. The murder mystery was good. I enjoyed it and did not guess the culprit like I often do.
I found this to be a good but not a great book for me.
The reader was adequate, but some of the voices were too over the top.
What was missing for me in this book was humor. That often makes a book special and rounds out the characters. I followed the story here but I did not care about the characters. The story did not evoke any strong emotion and I will forget it quickly but I did enjoy it and will probably try another of this series.
Read & ride, read & ride, read & ride . . . repeat often.
From the very beginning, this book captured me. The setting, the story, the characters, the twists and turns. I will listen again and again. It's a winner, if you are a fan of Lady Julia Grey books or a new reader. Well worth the time. Ellen Archer is a fantastic reader who brings very different characters to life and makes them as memorable as the author did in creating them. Kudos!
Most defiantly, the character of Julia and Brisbaine are learning about each other. There are trials because of her position of being a "Peer" and Brisbaine a man who has always worked for a living. They are trying to get past some of the problems in relationship. Some people think Julia is being whiny and abusive. However she really doesn't understand what it's like to really have to do things that are distasteful for a living. She is learning this and learning that her husband had had to do and see things that would have caused her to fall apart. They haven even been married a year, and they are still learning to deal with peer pressure.
Only in this series and she does a fantastic job with voices, and emotions.
Each one of the books in the series has gotten better. This one has been my favorite so far. The ending was so bizarre and the culprit for the murder just was really something that really amazed me. I really did enjoy this book.
I love this series! I truly enjoy the character of Lady Julia. Yes, she may be a little bit spoiled and can be at times whiney, but I cannot seem to turn the mp3 player off. The plot was engaging. This story has quite a few turns and twists, at one point I even held my own breath waiting for … well, you’ll just have to read/hear that part. Her discriptions of the area made me want to go there. I hope to find a quaint bead and breakfast close to Darjeeling to visit some day.
All the positives done with, I have a few issues with this story. I felt as though there was a book missing between the previous one and this one. The closeness between Julia and Brisbane was just not there. Over all it was a good story, but the chemistry was missing. It felt like a form letter. Most of the story was predictable, untill close to the end. Another issue I have is the overuse of some words. Reflected, waspish, remonstrated, peevish, melancholia, and countered were a few of the words I listened to over and over and over again. I felt the area must have been full of mirrors for all the reflecting that was done. Doesn’t she have a thesaurus? Bottom line I enjoy this series in spite of Ms. Raybourn's lack of words.
Winter's coming -- almost time to huddle up with my ipod and hot chocolate!
I don't mind Ellen Archer, I think she does a fine job, and is, in fact, improved over the 4 books. The problem is the author. It appears, based on this effort, that her one great book, book three, was a fabulous fluke. (Or perhaps Ms. Rayburne had help writing it?) Here in book 4, the story falls apart when Julia turns into a featherbrained whiner -- and the gruesome events that ensue are meant to shock the reader. Yawn. I especially hated that a pivotal character was killed off in such a hideously cliche manner. I did not cry, I did not feel anything other than the sad anticipation of the predictability of a foregone conclusion. Deadly dull. I give it two stars only because it was a perfect book to listen to at bedtime since it always helped to put me to sleep. (Please do shut up, Julia!)
Having previously loved the three prior Julia Grey novels, I was totally blown away with how much I disliked this one. Sadly, the author had my beloved hero/heroine bickering with each other from the very beginning and the few times the hero actually made an appearance, they continued to bicker throughout. The rest of the book was Julia this and Julia that and none of it in a flattering way. I found her arrogant and selfish, constantly jumping to wrong conclusions and forcing her oh-so-repetitive introspects down my throat. The book was also quite boring until the end and while it did pick up the pace, it also jumped all over the place. It did not help that the narrator gave Portia such a horribly shrill voice that it actually hurt my ears and caused dogs to howl. I'm so glad I read the first three books myself.
I do enjoy the juxtaposition of murder mysteries and the developing relationship between two difficult people, Lady Julia and Brisbane, that characterize this series. By this book they are married, but they experience the prickly adjustment of two independent minded and very stubborn people learning to live with each other. As always, the writing anchors the story in time even as the characters are definitely outside the normal mode and attitudes of the period. Also Rayburn creates a wealth of engaging side characters in each book, mostly with Lady Julia's family, but in this book we get a range of expat colonialists in India. By moving the venue for each mystery, Raybourn keeps the series fresh and provides unique challenges for the developing relationship. I'm finding the series fascinating and the main characters very enjoyable.
I think Ellen Archer is getting better at reading, but I still find her performance difficult. The books would be better with a different reader. But I'll continue to listen to the series in spite of Archer's delivery.
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