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Interview: Marie Benedict and Kate Quinn Champion History's Hidden Heroines

'I wanted to tell about the women... many of them who were brilliant and unseen...after they were gone.'
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  • Smoke Signal
  • 'I wanted to tell about the women... many of them who were brilliant and unseen...after they were gone.'

About the Creator

Kate Quinn is a New York Times and USA Today best-selling author of historical fiction. A native of southern California, she attended Boston University where she earned a Bachelor’s and Master’s degree in Classical Voice. She wrote four novels in the Empress of Rome Saga and two books set in the Italian Renaissance before turning to the 20th century with The Alice Network, The Huntress, and The Rose Code. All have been translated into multiple languages. Kate and her husband now live in San Diego with three rescue dogs.

About the Creator

Marie Benedict is a lawyer with more than ten years' experience as a commercial litigator. A graduate of Boston College and the Boston University School of Law, she is also the author of the New York Times best seller The Only Woman in the Room, The Mystery of Mrs. Christie, Carnegie's Maid, The Other Einstein, and Lady Clementine, all of which have been translated into multiple languages. She lives in Pittsburgh with her family.

About the Performer

Narrator of over 400 audiobooks, Saskia Maarleveld is listed as one of AudioFile Magazine’s best voices of 2015, 2016, and 2018. Maarleveld is an Audie and SOVAS award-winning narrator, including a nomination for Best Female Narrator for her performance in The Alice Network. Raised in New Zealand and France, now living in New York, Maarleveld switches seamlessly between accents, often heard narrating in British, Australian, and countless others, in addition to her American accent.

About the Performer

Nicola Barber’s voice can be heard on television and radio commercials, popular video games such as World of Warcraft, and even in talking toys. Twice chosen as an AudioFile Magazine Best Voice, her work has garnered multiple Earphones Awards, four Audie Awards, a Library Journal starred review, and a SOVAS Award. Nicola voices the animation in each episode of Wyatt Cenac’s Problem Areas on HBO, and she dubbed the lead role on Netflix’s dystopian drama The Barrier. Raised in England and Scotland, Nicola immigrated to the US South and lived in the Midwest before finding her home in New York City. If you can’t find her in the recording studio, she’s probably dancing on roller skates in Central Park.

What listeners say about Smoke Signal

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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What an unexpected treat!

Dreary, rainy afternoon under quarantine and no book to read. This little book popped up on Audibles and I was transported. I didn’t want it to end. Well done ladies! Very well done Audible!

10 people found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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Love both authors together!!

Love the combination of both authors working together. I am a fan of both and was able to tell each their influences easily. A great quick listen!

6 people found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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Nicola Barber is a fantastic narrator!

It a great short novella; I really liked it a lot. The narration from Nicola was especially good. Thumbs up!

6 people found this helpful

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Short story

Power packed short story that proves to leave wanting the entire novella to be an entire book

5 people found this helpful

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A fair story but nothing more

This is an interesting premise: in World War Two, an intelligent and determined woman wants to do more to help with the war effort than roll bandages and pass out medications, but is limited by the gender roles assigned to her at the time. She wants to put her keen mind to work. The fact that the woman in question is Agatha Christie seems arbitrary, an effort to grab the interest of potential readers rather than being a central pivot point of the story. And having worked with the theme of frustrated ambition, it switches gears to a different theme near the end. It's clearly meant to leave the listener with an interesting puzzle to ponder...but I thought there wasn't enough material in the story to make this work. I just got to the end and felt, "Ho hum, so it's over". Not unpleasant, but also not interesting enough to ever make me want to listen to it again, nor to act as a recommendation for the authors.

I will add that I take no exception with the narration. It was well done and kept moving along at just the right page.

4 people found this helpful

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Full and Intriguing

I loved this story. The actresses were great and it made me want to learn more about Agatha Christie, and how much of the story can actually be true. I highly recommend reading it, well listen to it.

3 people found this helpful

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Smoke signal

Loved the story line and I wish it had been longer.great narration. Easy to listen to

3 people found this helpful

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Intriguing

This was a surprise. A smart story that keeps the twists coming right to the end.

Just as well it's short, because once I started it I couldn't stop until the end.

3 people found this helpful

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Unique Tale of History and Mystery

What a great short fictional story about two women who wanted to be of help during WWII, doing more than wrap bandages for the Red Cross. A chance meeting at a book club puts Osla Kendall and Agatha Christie together. Reclusive and dreading that meeting, Agatha goes, and it leads to an idea and an opportunity. A rare glimpse into a reclusive and brilliant writer, who on the outside looked like a dried up spinster, but was far from. Great short story!

2 people found this helpful

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Delightful but still enigmatic.

The two authors present the characters in their best form and tell a lovely, intriguing unfinished tale of historical remembrance?

2 people found this helpful