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alison

  • 16
  • reviews
  • 71
  • helpful votes
  • 16
  • ratings
  • A Memory of Violets

  • A Novel of London's Flower Sellers
  • By: Hazel Gaynor
  • Narrated by: Nicola Barber
  • Length: 10 hrs and 29 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 510
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 469
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 469

1876. Among the filth and depravity of Covent Garden's flower markets, orphaned Irish sisters Flora and Rosie Flynn sell posies of violets and watercress to survive. It is a pitiful existence, made bearable only by each other's presence. When they become separated, the decision of a desperate woman sets their lives on very different paths.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Lovely !

  • By RueRue on 02-01-16

A beautiful story

Overall
5 out of 5 stars
Performance
4 out of 5 stars
Story
4 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 05-22-15

This was such a lovely book, beautiful yet sad. Hazel Gaynor's descriptions paint such vivid pictures of life in London during the 1800's, the hardship and the courage.
There are a lot of coincidences, but that did not detract from my love of the story. Endearing characters charmed me and drew me in, I needed to know what became of them all.
Nicola Barber narrated the story wonderfully.

8 of 9 people found this review helpful

  • Lyrebird Hill

  • By: Anna Romer
  • Narrated by: Eloise Oxer
  • Length: 14 hrs and 11 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,414
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,306
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,297

Ruby Cardel has the semblance of a normal life – a loving boyfriend, a career she loves – but in one terrible moment, her life begins to unravel. The discovery that the death of her beloved sister, so many years ago, was not the accident she’d always been told makes her question all she’s known about herself. Travelling back home to Lyrebird Hill, the beautiful bushland property where she grew up with her mother and sister, Ruby begins to remember the year that has been blocked in her memory.

  • 3 out of 5 stars
  • Nice writing... not my favorite genre

  • By C. Crane on 03-05-16

Great story...

Overall
4 out of 5 stars
Performance
4 out of 5 stars
Story
4 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 05-15-15

This was a really enjoyable book, romance, family secrets, intrigue, murder - it had it all. On top of all that there's Romer's wonderfully descrptive writing, creating images so real you could almost feel the dusty air.
The story takes you on a path, unravelling just enough to keep you interested without revealing the plot. Sometimes books that hop between past and present can be a bit tiresome, but Romer has managed to do it very well, the links between the various time frames blend easily and each makes sense to the overall story. Her characters were all strong and engaging, thus drawing you in further.
This was my first Anna Romer book, but I will definitely be looking out for another.
Eloise Oxer's narration was very good, and she brought the book to life.

12 of 15 people found this review helpful

  • Imperial Woman

  • The Story of the Last Empress of China
  • By: Pearl S. Buck
  • Narrated by: Kirsten Potter
  • Length: 17 hrs and 41 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 418
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 373
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 373

The story of Tzu Hsi is the story of the last empress in China. In this audiobook, Pearl S. Buck recreates the life of one of the most intriguing rules during a time of intense turbulence. Tzu Hsi was born into one of the lowly ranks of the Imperial dynasty. According to custom, she moved to the Forbidden City at the age of 17 to become one of hundreds of concubines. But her singular beauty and powers of manipulation quickly moved her into the position of Second Consort.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • China - a new look

  • By Paul on 07-29-12

Beautiful - I loved it !!

Overall
4 out of 5 stars
Performance
5 out of 5 stars
Story
4 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 05-12-15

I was so drawn in to the story and life within the Imperial Palace that I was quite at a loss when the book finished. I loved my daily visits to the Empress. Buck's beautiful descriptions of the robes, palace, gardens and even the food painted such vivid pictures it was almost like being there. It may not be historically acurate, but it gave a pretty good indication of what life was like then and afterall if you want factual history you can always read a text book.
I loved everything about this book, the way it was written, the characters and the story itself. Kirsten Potter's excellent narration only helped to increase my enjoyment of the book.
This was my second Pearl S. Buck book, my first being Peony, and I was not disappointed. I look forward to discovering more of her books.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • The Unseen

  • By: Katherine Webb
  • Narrated by: Clare Wille
  • Length: 15 hrs and 38 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 5
  • Performance
    3.5 out of 5 stars 3
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 3

England, 1911. Reverend Albert Canning, a vicar with a passion for spiritualism - and his naive wife, Hester - led a happy existence in the sleepy parish of Cold Ash Holt, Berkshire. As summer dawns, their quiet lives are changed forever by two new arrivals. First comes Cat, the new maid; a free-spirited and disaffected young woman sent down from London after entanglements with the suffragette movement and with the law.

  • 3 out of 5 stars
  • So So

  • By alison on 05-09-15

So So

Overall
3 out of 5 stars
Performance
4 out of 5 stars
Story
3 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 05-09-15

I have mixed feelings about this book. I enjoyed the story for the most part, good murder/mystery element, but I felt the move from present to past could have been done better. I could see how the 2011 sections linked the story but the connections were weak, and Leah's love interest seemed unnecessary.
It was too slow in parts, and seemed to have unnecessary padding in places making it drag even more. A predictable and rather unsatisfactory ending, I only kept going to see if I was correct in my assumption of how things turned out - and I was.
I also didn't take to the characters, Hester was too simpering and Albert just plain irritating.
Not a winner for me, however Clare willie's narration was done well.

  • Orhan's Inheritance

  • By: Aline Ohanesian
  • Narrated by: Assaf Cohen
  • Length: 8 hrs and 13 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 855
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 762
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 772

When Orhan's brilliant and eccentric grandfather - a man who built a dynasty out of making kilim rugs - is found dead, submerged in a vat of dye, Orhan inherits the decades-old business. But his grandfather's will raises more questions than answers.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Beautiful and Haunting

  • By alison on 05-05-15

Beautiful and Haunting

Overall
5 out of 5 stars
Performance
4 out of 5 stars
Story
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 05-05-15

Beautifully written story crossing decades of history and heartbreak. It begins with a curious twist in Orhan's grandfathers will which sends him on a journey revealing not only a family's history but an understanding of why we should not always try to forget the past.
I have to admit to not knowing much about the Armenian involvement in the war and the atrocities they suffered. After listening to this book I can understand why so many people suffer mental trauma throughout their lives as a legacy of war - how could anyone possibly forget such horrors.
Assaf Cohen's excellent narration only adds to the enjoyment of this book.
This is a beautiful, haunting book that will stay with you long after you have finished it.

27 of 27 people found this review helpful

  • Of Marriageable Age

  • By: Sharon Maas
  • Narrated by: Anne Flosnik
  • Length: 18 hrs and 57 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 63
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 54
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 54

A spellbinding story of forbidden love. Three continents, three decades, three very disparate lives: Savitri, intuitive and charismatic, grows up among the servants of a pre-war English household in Madras. But the traditional customs of her Brahmin family clash against English upper-class prejudice, threatening her love for the privileged son of the house.... Nataraj, raised as the son of an idealistic doctor in rural South India, finds life in London heady, with girls and grass easily available.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Beautifully descriptive and a wonderful story

  • By alison on 05-03-15

Beautifully descriptive and a wonderful story

Overall
5 out of 5 stars
Performance
3 out of 5 stars
Story
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 05-03-15

Beautifully descriptive and a wonderful story, terrible narration though. I had to 'tune' myself out to the narrator and focus on the story which meant it took a little while for me to engage with it, but when I did I was hooked. I loved this book - a wonderful blend of romance, history and culture. I was drawn into the story, the characters and how their lives were eventually intertwined. I loved the descriptions, taking you to India, it's sights and smells, occasionally a little overdone but overall beautiful. I was able to engage with all the characters, even the less pleasant ones and wanted to keep listening to find out more about them. A joy.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • The Villa

  • By: Rosanna Ley
  • Narrated by: Anna Bentinck
  • Length: 15 hrs and 47 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 7
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 7
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 7

When Tess Angel receives a solicitor's letter inviting her to claim her inheritance - the Villa Sirena, perched on a clifftop in Sicily - she is stunned. Her only link to the island is through her mother, Flavia, who left Sicily during World War II and cut all contact with her family. Initially resistant to Tess going back to her roots, Flavia realises the secrets from her past are about to be revealed and decides to try to explain her actions.

  • 3 out of 5 stars
  • Ok for a light holiday read..

  • By alison on 04-27-15

Ok for a light holiday read..

Overall
3 out of 5 stars
Performance
3 out of 5 stars
Story
3 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 04-27-15

After having read the blurb about the book I was looking forward to the story, it seemed to have it all, romance, mystery, sun drenched Sicily. The reality was a bit disappointing though. I felt the story dragged on in places and led you in directions that weren't relevant. I especially couldn't connect witht the character Ginny, and thought the whole concept of the 'ball' could have been left out.
I found the narration a little irritating in parts, the Italian male voices were a bit like a bad pasta advert and were distracting.
That aside it wasn't a bad mix of romance and intrigue, with evokative descriptions of Sicily and it's food - it would make a pleasant holiday read - ideal when you don't wnt to have to think to hard.

  • The Misbegotten

  • By: Katherine Webb
  • Narrated by: Jacqueline King
  • Length: 17 hrs and 58 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 25
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 24
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 24

Bath, 1821: Rachel Crofton escapes her unhappy employment as a governess by marrying a self-made businessman. But her new life soon takes an unexpected turn. Reclusive Jonathan Alleyn is a man tormented by the disappearance of his childhood sweetheart, Alice. Starling, foundling child and now servant, is convinced that Alice, the woman she loved as a sister, was stolen from her. Did Alice run away? Or did something altogether more sinister occur? As Starling tries to expose the lies behind Bath's immaculate facades, others want only to forget, and will go to extreme lengths to do so.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • An Enjoyable Story

  • By mtnlover on 01-15-19

Great story,romance and secrets galore

Overall
5 out of 5 stars
Performance
5 out of 5 stars
Story
4 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 04-21-15

This book draws you in to its tangle of secrets and you are compelled to keep listening to find out more. It's packed full of intrigue, cover ups, rocky romance, clashes between social classes and the impact of the horrors of war on those who endured it. The descriptions are so good you can almost feel the dampness and smell the rank air. The characters are all very strong, some more likeable than others - Jacqueline King's naration is excellent and she brings each character to life.
This is a wonderful tale that holds your attention from beginning to end.

  • The Light Behind the Window

  • By: Lucinda Riley
  • Narrated by: Gerri Halligan
  • Length: 15 hrs
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,588
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,452
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,444

THE PRESENT - After her mother’s death, Emilie de la Martiniéres finds herself the sole inheritor of a chateau in the south of France. There she discovers an old notebook which leads her along a journey to unravel the tragic love story of the mysterious Sophia. THE PAST (1943). Constance Carruthers, arrives in occupied Paris at the height of conflict. There she stumbles into the heart of a wealthy family and is drawn into a web of deception, the repercussions of which will affect generations to come.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Fantastic historical story... loved it!

  • By Maria on 07-13-15

Enjoyable read

Overall
4 out of 5 stars
Performance
3 out of 5 stars
Story
4 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 04-13-15

Having enjoyed Lucinda Riley's Hothouse Flowers I was looking forward to this book. Overall I wasn't disappointed, it was an engaging story which compells you to complete it to the end to discover what happens to the characters. Her characters are all interesting and help weave the story as it moves smoothly between modern day and 1940 wartime France. The dialogue could be a little stilted in places, but it doesn't detract from what is overall a good book. However, I didn't particularly enjoy the narration as I felt it detracted something plausible from the characters - this is just my personal opinion though, and it is still worth listening too.

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

  • Yellow Crocus

  • By: Laila Ibrahim
  • Narrated by: Bahni Turpin
  • Length: 8 hrs and 21 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 7,734
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 6,930
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 6,912

Moments after Lisbeth is born, she’s taken from her mother and handed over to an enslaved wet nurse, Mattie, a young mother separated from her own infant son in order to care for her tiny charge. Thus begins an intense relationship that will shape both of their lives for decades to come. Though Lisbeth leads a life of privilege, she finds nothing but loneliness in the company of her overwhelmed mother and her distant, slave-owning father.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Beautiful southern historical fiction

  • By MissSusie66 on 02-27-15

Enjoyable story

Overall
4 out of 5 stars
Performance
4 out of 5 stars
Story
3 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 03-15-15

Enjoyable story if a little predictable. Good characters, helped by Bahni Turpin's excellent naration. A pleasant tale of lives intertwined during the years of change preceding the American Civil war, and an interesting incite into the plantation slaves and their owners.

1 of 2 people found this review helpful