LISTENER

E. A. Williams

  • 13
  • reviews
  • 25
  • helpful votes
  • 15
  • ratings
  • Believe Me

  • A Memoir of Love, Death and Jazz Chickens
  • By: Eddie Izzard
  • Narrated by: Eddie Izzard
  • Length: 14 hrs and 37 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,707
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,576
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,562

The stand-up comedian of his generation. Star of stage and screen. Tireless supporter of charity. Runner. Political campaigner. Fashion icon. Human. There is no one quite like Eddie Izzard. This is the story of how a boy who wanted to become a professional footballer and win the lead in Joseph and His Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat found comedy.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Wonderfully funny, tragic, hopeful and inspiring

  • By MR on 17-06-17

Listening on audio will be far better!

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

Reviewed: 23-08-17

Would you listen to Believe Me again? Why?

Yes. Because Eddie comments so much on the journey in the book it's almost like listening to one of his stage performances. A brilliant piece ...

What other book might you compare Believe Me to, and why?

I wouldn't compare it to any other book - it compares well to Eddie's audio stage performances.

What about Eddie Izzard’s performance did you like?

I ADORED the fact that whilst reading the book it constantly inspired Eddie to go 'off piste' and add additional information and anecdotes (or his 'footnotes'). It made me feel the whole thing was like sitting having an amazing coffee with an incredible friend. I have so much admiration for Eddie after listening to his story.

If you made a film of this book, what would be the tag line be?

Believe Me - The Story of Eddie Izzard

Any additional comments?

This is a wonderful story and I loved listening to Eddie read it and add in his own additional 'off piste' comments. It walks through every element of Eddie's life and it's fascinating to see revealed all the hard work he has put in to getting where he is now with his career. He talks so personably about his family you feel you get to know them. Somehow feel like Eddie is a friend after listening to this! :o)

  • I Never Knew That About New York

  • By: Christopher Winn
  • Narrated by: Tim Bentinck
  • Length: 10 hrs and 31 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 23
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 22
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 22

In I Never Knew That About New York, Christopher Winn digs beneath the gleaming towers and mean streets of New York and discovers its secrets and its hidden treasures. Learn about the extraordinary people who built New York into one of the world's great cities in just 400 years. New York is one of the most photographed and talked about cities in the world, but Winn unearths much that is unexpected and unremembered in this fast-moving, ever-changing metropolis.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • It will possibly be an acquired taste on audio ...

  • By E. A. Williams on 19-03-17

It will possibly be an acquired taste on audio ...

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

Reviewed: 19-03-17

Would you listen to I Never Knew That About New York again? Why?

Yes, possibly. If I revisit NYC, to enable me to plan walks/some more unusual places to visit.

Would you be willing to try another book from Christopher Winn? Why or why not?

Yes, but probably in book form and not audio format. See additional comments below re this type of book translating to audio.

Have you listened to any of Tim Bentinck’s other performances? How does this one compare?

No - this is my first, and I really like him.

Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

Due to the nature of the book (quite fast moving, because it's almost a tour guide and does almost evolve into a walking guide later on), it doesn't really stay on a subject long enough to be able to move you. But the sudden description that part of NYC was discovered to be an African burial ground in the old slave area of the city was very moving.

Any additional comments?

I bought this in audio format because I thought it would be different to the usual 'Tour of NYC' guides and would be full of interesting facts about the history of New York. It most definitely contains lots of interesting facts, but I don't know that it works in audio format. It does drop back into the format of a walking guide in parts (including 'walk to the end of 'x' Street, turn right and stop outside ...') but I don't even know that it would work as an audio touring guide, because even if you stopped the recording to be able to walk you'd arrive at the destination to simply have a couple of seconds of 'fact'.

But what I found INCREDIBLY successful, however, was to listen to it whilst using Google maps and using Street View. Then, this takes on a completely different slant. Whilst talking about Tribeca and mentioning Robert De Niro's Tribeca Grill, I followed Google Street View, then stopped the recording and also followed Google Search finding out as a result a lot more detail on the redevelopment of Tribeca and had a good look around the area again on Street View. The same when the book talks about the Old Police Headquarters at 240 Centre Street, I took time out to research what the interiors now look like because the building did fascinate me when in NYC in person..

And it's as a result of this way of doing things that I've lifted my Overall grading to four stars. I'd visited NYC and knew Manhattan quite well, but I would imagine if you hadn't visited the city this would be a very confusing audio book and not much help - it almost assumes in it's descriptions that you know, or can see, the location being described. But using Google Maps+Street View, you can see what is being described to you and I would certainly now find this audio book a useful way to be able to build an itinerary for planning a new visit.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • The Collectors

  • By: Philip Pullman
  • Narrated by: Bill Nighy
  • Length: 32 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 2,848
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2,542
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 2,557

"But the thing is," said Horley, "they didn’t know each other at all. Never heard of each other. It wasn’t about the makers. Only about the works." On a dark winter's night in 1970, Horley and Grinstead huddle for warmth in the Senior Common Room of a college in Oxford. Conversation turns to the two impressive works of art that Horley has recently added to his collection....

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Wonderfully dark story engagingly read

  • By Alexander Patterson on 12-09-15

A lovely gothic short story ...

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

Reviewed: 18-03-17

Bill Nighy was the element that made this four stars Overall for me, and his performance - as always - is Five stars. If you are a lover of short stories I think you will love this - it's difficult to discuss/review as the plot should not be given away or it will definitely be spoiled! But to be successful for me, a short story has to grab your attention and be riveting immediately from start to finish and I don't know this did - it sort of calmly drifted over it's 'trauma'. I was listening whilst dusting, and certainly didn't feel the urge to stop, distracted by what I was listening to.

In comparison to other stories, I'd say it's similar to 'The Monkey's Paw' type story, but - although it had the potential to do so (particularly with description of the sculpture) it didn't leave you lying awake or disturbed! The elements of the story have the potential for brilliance, but didn't seem to conclude/come together with answers in the time allocated. But listening to Bill Nighy read anything is a treat and it was 32mins well spent 😊

  • The Secret Rooms: A True Gothic Mystery

  • By: Catherine Bailey
  • Narrated by: Stephen Rashbrook
  • Length: 15 hrs
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 122
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 98
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 100

In April 1940, the ninth Duke of Rutland died in mysterious circumstances in one of the rooms of his family estate, Belvoir Castle. The mystery surrounding these rooms holds the key to a tragic story that is played out on the brutal battlefields of the Western Front and in the exclusive salons of Mayfair and Belgravia in the dying years of la belle époque. Uncovered is a dark and disturbing period in the history of the Rutland family, and one which they were determined to keep hidden for over 60 years. Sixty years on, The Secret Rooms is the true story of family secrets and one man’s determination to keep the past hidden at any cost.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Great read. Great narration.

  • By Gale on 11-11-12

A little confusing sometimes, but AMAZING

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

Reviewed: 21-10-16

If you could sum up The Secret Rooms: A True Gothic Mystery in three words, what would they be?

I don't do three words: I'd sum up by saying these family secrets are true; we've come to expect secrets/revelations to be of the costume drama variety and many seem disappointed when they are perhaps not on that scale. But these secrets/revelations are true, and the fact that at least one - if not two - would have been illegal/serious criminal offences surely cannot make them run-of-the-mill as some reviewers have suggested.

What other book might you compare The Secret Rooms: A True Gothic Mystery to, and why?

Black Diamonds also by Catherine equally deals with the history of a landed gentry family.

What about Stephen Rashbrook’s performance did you like?

His performance was excellent and kept me riveted, even through the more difficult parts.

Did you have an emotional reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

I had an incredible emotional reaction to the book when - having had a wonderful visit to Haddon Hall only weeks earlier - realised two of the figures being discussed were the two figures who had captured my imagination with their tragic story during my Haddon visit. It really made the entire story 3-dimensional from that point onwards.

Any additional comments?

Having recently become very acquainted with the story of two key figures from the book at Haddon Hall, this was an absolutely riveting listen for me. I would have given it five stars (particularly for the narration) save for the fact that I do think Catherine had lost the structure somewhat as so many things came to light.

It should be remembered this book came out completely differently to the book Catherine was actually researching; and so the revelations as discovered take the book in different directions. Some reviewers have commented this 'bogged it down'/made it confusing - I didn't find this was the case, but felt that - as with any researcher coming across pieces of information that need to be later linked together - we were presented with Catherine's raw research as she found it rather than 'tidy stories+summaries'. I can understand this would be irksome to people who like stories to be clean and neat - but this is the truth about a family, not a Downton Abbey episode. Some of the items discovered cannot be concluded because the evidence is not there to do so, and I admire Catherine that she had the courage to simply present the evidence and leave things open, allowing you to consider what may have happened instead of surmising a conclusion that could be totally untrue.

The only reason I have dropped a star is because the book presented the discoveries in the order Catherine discovered them yet wasn't particularly a book about Catherine as a researcher. Therefore items ran into each other in the order they were found, not a chronological order (i.e. we jumped about between the death of a Duke, his army career, back to a tragedy in his childhood and early life, back to the army, over to Charles I ciphers, then family feuds, etc). So, it was sometimes hard to keep track of what was discovery was linking to what. But I think the key is to remember this is all true: and if the evidence isn't there to provide a convenient Downton Abbey conclusion it's actually quite exciting to be left with 'well, what do I think happened!'.

If you like clean, drama-series stories and conclusions you probably won't like this; but if you would love to listen to the findings of a meticulous researcher who presents her findings and then says 'so what do you make of that then?' and you won't necessarily have a concluding answer because that evidence isn't there, you will love it.

Personally, in relation to just one of the revelations - having visited Haddon Hall and been touched by the personal tragedy the family experienced, the book gave me some understanding as to why - through unimaginable grief and a complete misunderstanding - John's mother may have reacted to him the way she did in his early life. Not to condone their parental actions at all (they were terrible and tragic) but - when grief can be described as a madness of the mind - the book can explain and give understanding to them, and show the terrible effects such a loss can have.

0 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Failure Is Not an Option

  • Mission Control from Mercury to Apollo 13 and Beyond
  • By: Gene Kranz
  • Narrated by: Danny Campbell
  • Length: 18 hrs and 14 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 370
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 299
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 300

Gene Kranz was present at the creation of America's manned space program and was a key player in it for three decades. As a flight director in NASA's Mission Control, Kranz witnessed firsthand the making of history. He participated in the space program from the early days of the Mercury program to the last Apollo mission, and beyond. He endured the disastrous first years when rockets blew up and the United States seemed to fall further behind the Soviet Union in the space race.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Brings back so many memories!

  • By Mr. P. J. Bellchambers on 13-04-13

A hero of a man experiencing incredible NASA times

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

Reviewed: 28-06-16

Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

Absolutely. This is not only the insights into the life of an incredible man, but he takes us behind closed doors into the most exciting and pivotal moments in NASA and mankind's history in space.

Who was your favorite character and why?

Gene Kranz - he is my hero, because of the respectful manner in which he deals with people, the incredible leadership skills he has in enabling teams to work in pressured situations that none of us are likely to ever experience again, without any fear/blame - in fact, to quite the contrary: relieving them of fear/pressure and enabling them to perform to the best of their abilities. I've learnt a lot previously about how Gene manages people and have applied that to my own teams - as a result, I always create high performing, motivated teams. He is my life-hero.

Which scene did you most enjoy?

I love how he speaks to his teams and the pride he has with them - the book describes the pride with which he puts on the White Flight waistcoats his wife made for him for each mission, and how they became the badge of honour for his teams and the signal that things were about to begin. I love the way he describes the support for Apollo 13, his calmness and supportive approach of asking people to be careful and 'let's not make it any worse by guessing'. His descriptions of the loss of the space shuttles and the impact that had on those in Mission Control is amazing. I just love this book.

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

Absolutely. And will listen to over and over again.

Any additional comments?

Please get it back into the availability Library so others can read it. It is a work of historical importance, documenting times that have gone and will never return. What people in NASA did during this time period was absolutely amazing (putting people on another planet with less computing power than is now in a mobile phone). Mankind will never, ever do this again in this way - it is an incredibly important historical document, and gives an insight into the life of an amazing, incredible man who was part of those amazing times that have now gone.

  • Slade House

  • By: David Mitchell
  • Narrated by: Tania Rodrigues, Thomas Judd
  • Length: 7 hrs and 11 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 745
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 693
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 693

Prepare to be chilled, electrified and entertained - a gem of a novel from 'one of the most brilliantly inventive writers of this, or any country' ( Independent). Walk down narrow, clammy Slade Alley. Open the black iron door in the right-hand wall. Enter the sunlit garden of an old house that doesn't exactly make sense. A stranger greets you by name and invites you inside. At first, you won't want to leave. Too late, you find you can't....

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Classy Supernatural Tale

  • By Simon on 03-11-15

I wanted to REALLY love this ...

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

Reviewed: 28-06-16

Is there anything you would change about this book?

The formula of 'hooking, capturing, disposing of' the characters - it just repeated all the time. The first time it happened it absorbed your attention with fascination, and ended with shock. But after that, the book simply repeated that formula I lost count of how many times. It meant you didn't really become attached to any of the characters or care about them because it became 'oh-oh, I know what's going to happen to them ...' and it did. The basic framework of the novel had something to it as a story, but that intricate story became fragmented by getting caught in the repeat loop of going through the characters' repeat experiences. Imagine reading Hansel and Gretel from the perspective of the stories of all the children who went before - went in woods, found house, ate candy, *died* [repeat].

It would have been more shocking had, perhaps, one character discovered lots of previous victims and the 'reveal' being that character walking in while one was going through 'the process' - particularly with the additional reveal as to who the 'final character' actually was.

I found after the first character as soon as 'Slade House' was mentioned I'd already jumped to 'their end' mentally and knew what it would be. And I never had time to bond with the final character who was very important because my mind had already prepared her as a victim. If it was me, I'd restructure the book so the final character was in at the start and was investigating disappearances of the others, that you became to passionately care about that character, and then the final 'reveal' about who that character was would have been a huge shock. But I was really disappointed after having started out really wanting to love this book.

What will your next listen be?

Currently listening to Pompei - The Life of a Roman Town by Mary Beard. I absolutely love it - the town of Pompei and it's population are very much brought to life, and you can visualise things like the water running in torrents down the middle of the road explaining why they built high pavements with stepping stone crossings in the road.

Which character – as performed by Tania Rodrigues and Thomas Judd – was your favourite?

None - the book didn't develop in a way so that you cared about the characters; they just became 'plot-fodder'. Even the final character who should have been pivotal, I didn't care about because I'd already made my mind up they were also either going to simply be fodder, or would solve the plot. Even the brother/sister didn't develop sufficiently for them to become 3-dimensional and for me to care about them in either loving/empathising/hating them - a shame also, because they also had potential to become complex characters that put you into a moral dilemma.

Do you think Slade House needs a follow-up book? Why or why not?

No - it's been set up that way due to what happens with one of the characters at the end. But I can't possibly read that repeat formula anymore - sorry! :o)

Any additional comments?

It's a shame, because I think if more help had been given regarding the structure/presentation of the story it would have been a complete 'Wow!' as a book. But it reads - as Richard Herring describes - like 'Ten little monkeys jumping on the bed; one fell off and broke his head ...Nine little monkeys jumping on the bed, one fell off and broke his head ...Eight little monkeys ...'. It didn't need to be laid out like that for readers. Imagine if that became 'Ten monkeys have died under extremely mysterious circumstances and we're going to find out why ...'.

11 of 14 people found this review helpful

  • The Hangman's Daughter

  • By: Oliver Pötzsch, Lee Chadeayne (translator)
  • Narrated by: Grover Gardner
  • Length: 12 hrs and 57 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 93
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 77
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 75

When a dying boy is pulled from the river with a mark crudely tattooed on his shoulder, hangman Jakob Kuisl is called upon to investigate whether witchcraft is at play in his small Bavarian town. When more children disappear and an orphan is found dead with the same mark, the mounting hysteria threatens to erupt. Before the unrest forces him to torture and execute the woman who aided in the birth of his children, Jakob must unravel the truth.

  • 3 out of 5 stars
  • Spoilt by the narrator

  • By JMW on 07-07-15

A very unusual take on the usual crime/thriller ..

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

Reviewed: 28-06-16

If you could sum up The Hangman's Daughter in three words, what would they be?

Unusual ...Medieval ...murder/mystery

What did you like best about this story?

The fact the Hangman, who fulfils the traditional role of 'investigating detective' in a crime/thriller model, isn't 2-dimensional 'squeaky clean' - he's a hangman and also a torturer. So the usual tired formula of crime/thrillers doesn't apply here - he even has to torture completely innocent people, and yet remain a character that you think of positively.

What does Grover Gardner bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you had only read the book?

His narration is very appropriate for the type of story and the timescale. I think possibly without Grover I don't know if I would have got through the book simply reading it.

Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

Not particularly - it's a crime/thriller, probably in the genre of a Cadfael novel except the setup is with the Hangman as the investigator rather than a monk.

Any additional comments?

It has been a light, interesting insight into germanic medieval history. The author was inspired to write the stories after researching his family history and discovering he was descended from a medieval hangman. So, it is interesting to note the true-life historical elements of the story.

  • Spectacles

  • By: Sue Perkins
  • Narrated by: Sue Perkins
  • Length: 8 hrs and 43 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2,422
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 2,230
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2,222

Penguin presents the unabridged, downloadable audiobook edition of Spectacles, the hilarious, creative and incredibly moving memoir from much loved comedian, writer and presenter Sue Perkins. When I began writing this book, I went home to see if my mum had kept some of my stuff. What I found was that she hadn't kept some of it. She had kept all of it - every bus ticket, postcard, school report....

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • I loved this book

  • By Jeannette on 31-01-16

Like having a coffee with a good friend ...

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

Reviewed: 28-06-16

What made the experience of listening to Spectacles the most enjoyable?

Sue Perkins undertaking the narration herself.

Would you be willing to try another book from Sue Perkins? Why or why not?

Maybe ...this was a fairly simple, straightforward tale. I listened to it because it was a Book Club choice and I wouldn't normally purchase this type of thing. I think it would need to be something a bit more involved to attract me to buy again.

What about Sue Perkins’s performance did you like?

Yes - Sue was wonderful, and was what really made the book. If I read the book on it's own I'm not sure it would have held me enough to finish it. But listening to Sue was like having coffee with a wonderful, entertaining, funny friend every day. She made me laugh and she made me cry ...it was wonderful listening to her.

Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

The moment when she realised in being over zealous in a comedy show that she had actually fairly deeply hurt some people running a charity in Wales. I had huge admiration for her that she (a) realised what she'd done and it affected her deeply, (b) wrote about it in her book from the perspective 'I made a huge mistake that deeply hurt people, and I'm truly sorry'. For a celeb to do this and not simply brush it off with a bunch of flowers and then move on, made Sue into a person I would love to meet/call friend. There was absolutely no need for her to mention that incident to the volumes of people who will read this book, and I'm very glad that she did.

Any additional comments?

I really enjoyed this as a bit of light relief - it was funny, it was moving, but listening to Sue tell the story herself is - for me personally - better than reading it. Thoroughly enjoyed it!

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • The Year of Living Danishly

  • Uncovering the Secrets of the World's Happiest Country
  • By: Helen Russell
  • Narrated by: Lucy Price-Lewis
  • Length: 9 hrs and 39 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,600
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,443
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,438

When she was suddenly given the opportunity of a new life in rural Jutland, journalist and archetypal Londoner Helen Russell discovered a startling statistic: the happiest place on earth isn't Disneyland but Denmark, a land often thought of by foreigners as consisting entirely of long, dark winters, cured herring, Lego and pastries. What is the secret to their success? Are happy Danes born or made?

  • 1 out of 5 stars
  • The Year Of Writing Heinously more like!

  • By D. Payne on 22-03-18

A beautiful journey for your imagination

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

Reviewed: 21-04-16

This gives a wonderful insight into life in Denmark and has made me want to visit. Moving there with her husband (discreetly described as 'Legoman'), Helen describes, in a wonderful, self-depreciating way, how life works.

Beautifully narrated with descriptions of living by the sea in a small town (sounds idyllic until winter) and an insight into why Danes are one of the happiest nations on earth, it's also full of humour ...like the description of the immigration language class and the dent to the ego/realisation that 'but we're English!!!' wasn't how the Danes viewed them, rather a much more polite version of our 'immigrants, coming over here and taking our jobs'. Funny how easily we can suddenly become the people some love-to-hate!

Also gives a glimpse of how polite, controlled Danes have the same cultural problem with alcohol as us (possibly where we genetically get it from then!) and turn into raging, punch-throwing Vikings at night. I highly recommend this as a gentle, and very interesting listen ...should give us some thoughts for how to solve our health care and redundancy/unemployment culture: oh wait, but despite the fact it works and makes the nation the happiest on earth, it involves high tax ...so let's not do that then, let's just stay miserable (*as the polls show we are) 😊

  • The Little Paris Bookshop

  • By: Nina George
  • Narrated by: Ray Sawyer
  • Length: 12 hrs and 9 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    3.5 out of 5 stars 105
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 93
  • Story
    3.5 out of 5 stars 94

On a beautifully restored barge on the Seine, Jean Perdu runs a bookshop - or, rather, a 'literary apothecary', for this bookseller possesses a rare gift for sensing which books will soothe the troubled souls of his customers. The only person he is unable to cure, it seems, is himself. He has nursed a broken heart ever since the night, twenty-one years ago, when the love of his life fled Paris, leaving behind a handwritten letter that he has never dared read.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Beautiful

  • By Shoeless on 15-05-15

Who can't love Paris, a bookstore, and canal barge

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

Reviewed: 30-09-15

What made the experience of listening to The Little Paris Bookshop the most enjoyable?

The descriptions of the characters and the scenery being travelled on the barge

What did you like best about this story?

It's just a gentle, relaxing story that allows your imagination to wander through beautiful scenery.

What about Ray Sawyer’s performance did you like?

I really loved Ray's performance and can't associate with the review who described it as monotonous - he created beautiful, sensitive characters and brought the scenery very much alive.

Did you have an emotional reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

I enjoyed it very much and got involved with each of the characters - but unfortunately, Manon grated with me as my view is she was a selfish, self-centred person and so I struggled embracing the emotions the author wanted her readers to do.

Any additional comments?

I'm reviewing this to balance some of the other reviews I read before purchasing. Firstly, I found the narration to be excellent - bringing character to each of the individuals in the book, bringing to life all the beautiful scenery and not in any way monotonous. I also didn't find anything predictable about the story (in fact, the old cliche twist that I was dreading didn't happen and I was very glad about that). The comments about this being written by a woman with men appearing as a woman would idealise them to be, I also couldn't associate with - firstly, it should be remembered these are Frenchmen not Englishmen! :o) I think anyone who would enjoy hearing about a small Parisian community, a narrow boat book store moored on the Seine and a group of people who then travel through the French canals and river systems would enjoy this book. I wished I'd travelled more in France to be able to picture their journey - I could certainly picture exactly where I would moor the barge on the Seine in Paris! It also left m feeling I would love to travel France's canals. So why only four stars? Just because Manon - one of the main characters - grated with me. I have thought about was that due to poor characterisation and I don't feel it is - she is probably more human than other characters in other books where romance is involved. But it grated someone so selfish and manipulative in my opinion, became this venerated character. Maybe, therefore, why it should be five stars ...because the character is flawed and human, and therefore the story very well written ;o)

4 of 4 people found this review helpful