• A Breach of Promise

  • William Monk, Book 9
  • By: Anne Perry
  • Narrated by: Terrence Hardiman
  • Length: 14 hrs and 11 mins
  • 4.7 out of 5 stars (521 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

The plaintiffs in a sensational breach of promise suit are wealthy social climbers Barton and Delphine Lambert, suing on behalf of their beautiful daughter, Zillah. The defendant is Zillah's alleged fiancé, brilliant young architect Killian Melville, who adamantly declares that he will not, cannot, marry her. Not even to his counsel, distinguished barrister Sir Oliver Rathbone, will Killian explain his rejection of rich and charming Zillah. Utterly baffled, Rathbone turns for help to his old comrades in crime - Monk, the private investigator who knows his city like the back of his hand, and fearless nurse Hester Latterly. But even as they scout London for clues, from Mayfair to sordid Devil's Acre, the case suddenly and tragically ends. An outcome that no one - except a ruthless murderer - could have foreseen.

©2000 Anne Perry (P)2000 AudioGO

What listeners say about A Breach of Promise

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

A Favorite Anne Perry Book

"A Breach of Promise" has long been one of my favorite Anne Perry stories. The thing that first drew me to her books is the interesting detail of daily life in Victorian England, especially including the depiction of the place of, and restrictions on, women in that day and age. They were truly chattels under the law, the property (like livestock) of their fathers and then their husbands, totally dependent upon the men in their life. When upper-class women married, their entire fortunes (if any) became the property of their husbands. They were not allowed to work or engage in any past time which might provide them with an income to live on, and their only chance of independence was to survive the death of their husbands with no other male available to inherit.

This book in particular takes a hard look at the prospects of an unmarried woman in that society. It has all the features which I enjoy in reading Anne Perry: well-rounded characters, both the leading characters (Monk, Hester, and Oliver Rathbone) and the secondary and incidental ones. There is also the obligatory trial that occurs in almost every William Monk story. And this book also has a surprise twist that leads to the ending; an ending that is smoother and not as jolting as some of Ms. Perry's "tacked on" climaxes. She also gives us a peek at Monk and Hester's future at the very end.

Although I still miss hearing Davina Porter's narrations of the Anne Perry books, I found Terrence Hardiman's reading to be quite good and better than David Colacci's efforts.

I do wish that all the books of the Pitt and Monk series were available from Audible so that I could listen to the entire series in order. But this book does very well standing alone.

HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.

13 people found this helpful

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Entertaining but too long

I won't spoil it for those who haven't read it but I guessed the main issue driving the story. Having said that, I get the historical context but the author focuses WAY too much time on antiquated views on women by men in Victorian England which is way over the top. Come on - enough is enough. The reader gets it. Tiresome. I am also tired of the writing technique where the idiot men are allowed to babble, misinterpret and misconstrue the words and actions of the heroes but the latter just stands there stupefied frozen in rage. How about some enlightenment on the part of the idiots? That can happen in real life - and does. Also Hester is fed some in your face push back by a less enlightened woman and rightfully so. I like Hester as a character but she can be annoying for the right reasons - someone like that today would be cut off socially for being a pain in the neck despite her good works. Way too humorless, takes herself too seriously and hardly someone you would associate with caregiving. Monk is another character who sounds like a neurotic mess in this novel. One last thing I would add is the author needs to tie up loose ends - I notice she doesn't do that with a lot of her novels. The endings are satisfactory but too many loose ends. Do the bad guys get it? Do the good guys live happily ever after? How about an epilogue?

5 people found this helpful

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This great story annoyed me.

Terrific narrator, great plot twists. Yet I can’t help feel the author wins cheap sympathy points by giving her protagonists 21st century opinions that few if any people had in 1860.

3 people found this helpful

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Candy

This is a very detailed story which I feel could of been shortened up quite a bit! It is a good story if one has the patience!!!

2 people found this helpful

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Very slow start

This book was much slower than others i have read in the series. The last one third was good enough to take it to four stars.

2 people found this helpful

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Engaging SLOW Dive into Elizabethan Life and Mores

If you have many hours to spend in this mid-Elizabethan foray into an unusual Breach of Promise court case, and you already like Monk and the usual suspects, this is an interesting, layered story. This is only my second Ann Perry novel,, and these are definitely more "novels" than detective fiction...although there is usually an interesting puzzle to be solved. What keeps the ones I have read from being 5 stars is that they are simply quite slow, repetitive, and in this case, a bit preachy about the circumscribed role of women in this time and society. The point is made again and again and the ending here, though somewhat predictable, is extraordinarily abrupt and unsatisfying. That said, I DID have lots of time, and enjoyed most of the story.

1 person found this helpful

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Excellent story

I really liked all of the characters. It took a long time before everything started making sense though. Once it did, I enjoyed the book a lot more. I felt like the author brought me to the place and time very nicely. This book dragged a little and a lot of details could have been omitted and still have been an excellent book.

1 person found this helpful

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OK but not spectacular

I've listened to and enjoyed several of Anne Perry's books, but this one falls somewhat below average for her.

To be clear, there are a lot of enjoyable characters in this story. Sir Oliver Rathbone is a good character, and Hester is great.

But the pacing of the story is unfortunate. The first part of the book develops with agonizing slowness. I just don't need that much anguish over an unwinnable case that's going to come to trial. Once we get to the trial things pick up nicely, and bring us an interesting twist. But in resolving that twist, Ms. Perry must have realized that the book had already gone on too long, and gives us a Deus Ex Machina ending that just wraps everything up too quickly.

And second, the story just beat the listener over the head about how bad Victorian society's limited roles for women were. Yes, this is a crucial part of the plot, but there's no reason to keep pounding away once the point has been made the first five or six times.

I enjoyed it enough to finish the story, but can't imagine listening to it again. There are just too many parts that I know I wouldn't want to be sitting through.

1 person found this helpful

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Long, but picks up in middle

I have not read the other Monk books. I started with this one because it was included with my audible membership. This made it a little harder to follow the different characters at first. I almost stopped listening a couple times because there was so much detail. It has a nice depth of characters and background. Much of it you can miss and be fine, but it is written well. It picked up about half way through as we learn more about Melville. I was worried the rest of the book would be as slow moving as the first half, and almost stopped there. Then it picked up once they started trying to solve a murder. (I had started to think maybe it wasn't a murder mystery). I got really into it the 4 hours. Then I felt like it ended too soon. Compared to all the detail in the rest of the book, it seemed like there could have easily been another 2 hours of intriguing story to be told. I wanted it to continue, to see the murderer approached and tried, instead of just knowing they would be. However, since there was so much background and detail previously, you can figure out really well what the characters would do. So it does leave you to think about it, but I kind of just wanted her to tell me :)

1 person found this helpful

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Good mystery!

This was my second Perry novel and I found myself really engaged with the mystery, and the twists and turns the story took. The only thing I didn't enjoy was the author gives most of the primary characters the unfortunate habit of breaking out into heavy handed monologue any time she really wants to drive home an issue, which does not feel like realistic dialogue.

1 person found this helpful

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