Thursday, July 8, 2010

The Kitchen House

I'm not sure where to begin with The Kitchen House. Can you imagine being 7 on a boat from Ireland with your parents and brother? Your parents die. You are separated from you brother on arrival to the southern colonies. You are indentured out to a plantation and raised in the kitchen house with the slaves. Time and events will have a strong effect on you, no doubt. But how? And how do those changes effect others as you grow to maturity?
What were the differences between the way 'indentured servants' and 'slaves' were treated, or were there?
Oriagh Cassidy and Bahni Turpin voices enliven Kathleen Grisssom's characters as she explores a bit of this history that most of us have forgotten or never knew.
I found it provocatively interesting, but you will have to decide for yourself.
I am glad I used my Audible credit on this one. Whether you read or listen to the story, I think it will well worth your time and thoughts.

The past and the present combine again

Raise you hand if you liked the tripping back and forth in time with The Secret History of the Pink Carnation? OK, so I can only see two hands (my own and DH's), but they are waving enthusiastically! 
What? You didn't? 
OK, but you have heard of the Scarlet Pimpernel and all that mess in France. right? Well, the Pink Carnation took up where the Pimpernel stopped (due to the discovery of his identity). In the present there is a grad student finding decedents of the Pink Carnation with letters from and about that time (the past). 
I was rooting around in when I stumble on TSHOFPC and used one of my credits on it. 
Later I found The Masque of the Black Tulip. Noticing it was by the same author, I had to use another credit to indulge myself in what I hoped would be a continuation of the story with it's fast pace and witty dialog. 
Pink carnation, I think, feminine and frilly. 
Black tulip, I think, dark and strong.
Will the story line be gloomier? Will the pace be slower?  And who the heck is the Black Tulip?
No. No. And you have to read it yourself to find out!
I will tell you that Kate Redding's narration is good on this one, although I did almost miss the transition from one time period to another a couple of times. 
(DH  wants me to find out if Lauren Willing has more...she does!)

Has there been a MURDER?

Why yes! J. D. Robb is starting a fun series of mysteries with Detective Eve Dallas and Roarke, the wealthy Irish business man (with a bit of a shady side). With a bit of help from her soon to be lover, Eve will solve the murder of a senator's granddaughter and we will learn some of the back story of the 2 characters as they fall in love. 
Do you need to read this book before reading any of the others? 
Heck NO! Well, I didn't. This was the second book I read about them. These two characters were as stamped in the first novel I read as they are in Naked in Death. As each novel revolves around a new case, they can be read or heard independently. 
Away from our duo, the characters are as clear and the plot has wonderful twist and turns as it reaches it's solution.  
Don't try to read or listen to a bit Naked in Death before going to sleep, it just doesn't work unless you are very disciplined (which I am not) or you will be up all night (which I was) trying to see if you put all the pieces together before the end (which I didn't quite). 
It's a bit under 10 hours of listing time but speeds only nicely with the narration of Susan Ericksen.
p.s. I purchased this via one of my credits.

Two, Two Books on One!

Publisher's summary:
From humble beginnings and a narrow escape from death in childhood, William Marshall steadily rises through the ranks to become tutor in arms to the son of King Henry II and Eleanor of Aquitaine.
Based on fact, this is the story of William Marshal, the greatest knight of the Middle Ages, unsurpassed in the tourneys, adeptly manoeuvring through the colourful, dangerous world of power and politics to become one of the most powerful magnates of the realm and eventually Regent of England.
©2006 Elizabeth Chadwick; (P)2006 Soundings
Read by Christopher Scott
William Marshal is my idea of the 'knight in shining armor'. His tournament skills were outstanding. He was a gentle man who, when he pledge himself, would not waver. His story in this time in history is fascinating! I enjoyed all 15 hours of it! 
At times I stopped the recording to check a fact or learn a bit more of the history, it  was always there. Ms. Chadwick does her research well. As an historical, fictional biography, this is one of my favorites! If you like good historical fiction, do by all means, indulge yourself with this one. I give this 5 out of 5 stars to the The Greatest Knight
Publisher's Summary:
The prowess and loyalty of the great knight William Marshal have been rewarded with the hand in marriage of Isabelle de Clare. William has weathered the difficult years of King Richard's absence on crusade and is currently serving him on campaign in Normandy. But the stability William and Isabelle have enjoyed comes crashing down as Richard dies and his brother John becomes king.
Rebellion stirs throughout the Angevin domains, and William and Isabelle distance themselves in Ireland. As the situation escalates, William steers an increasingly precarious path that will lead him, eventually, to the rule of a country in desperate straits, with Isabelle walking with him every step of the way.
©2006 Elizabeth Chadwick; (P)2007 Soundings

Read by Christopher Scott
I must talk for a moment of the importance of a good narrator.  Christopher Scott is an example of a really good narrator, his voice is easy to listen to. The characters are easily identified and non distracting. Why is this important to notice?  All it takes is one audio with a voice that irritates to stop a book dead. That is why I attempt to inform my readers of my opinion of the narrator's skill.
I posted this two books together because they are both about the same man. The first novel ends very nicely and you do not have consume it before reading the second (but I did). 
William Marshal is still my 'knight in shining armor' in this second half of his story.  While there is lots of good information in The Scarlet Lion, I found it moved slower than The Greatest Warrior. If you are like me, and want to know the rest of the story, you will move on to the end.
The one is some where between a 3 and a 4 for me but you may rate it higher. If you are as curious as I, you will have to have it!