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Bryony and Roses

Narrated by: Justine Eyre
Length: 5 hrs and 51 mins
3 out of 5 stars (1 rating)

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Summary

Bryony and her sisters have come down in the world. Their merchant father died trying to reclaim his fortune and left them to eke out a living in a village far from their home in the city. But when Bryony is caught in a snowstorm and takes refuge in an abandoned manor, she stumbles into a house full of dark enchantments. Is the Beast that lives there her captor or a fellow prisoner? Is the house her enemy or her ally? And why are roses blooming out of season in the courtyard? Armed only with gardening shears and her wits, Bryony must untangle the secrets of the house before she - or the Beast - are swallowed by them.

©2015 Ursula Vernon (P)2015 Tantor

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

Good plot, awful narration

I really liked the plot of this story.
This is a retelling of Beauty and The Beast, with Bryony, a gardener, as the protagonist. Without giving too much away, she wanders into an enchanted manor, and the beast is there too, but all is not as it appears....

A little slow at places, but the dialogue was witty, and the twist was clever. I thought the horror elements were really well done too.

The next part of my review is purely subjective. So this may not be the case for all listeners.

I regret to say that I found the narration nauseatingly terrible. I do not use these words lightly. I get carsick often, and the way Ms Eyre narrated sounded like travel sick groans. It's the glottal fry and the drawl at the end of almost every word, and every single sentence. It gives the impression that the narrator is sickened and wearied by what she is reading. The thing is, when she is saying the speech of the characters, her voice is clearer and not unpleasant. But the first time I listened to this, I started feeling light headed and nauseated too. It took a long time for me to be able to tolerate it. I fully recognise this may be a personal idiosyncrasy but I felt it would be dishonest to omit it, since it affected the entire experience.


Overall, I would definitely recommend the story to people who like fairy tales, gardening, even horror. I will be checking out more of T Kingfisher.
I cautiously recommend this audiobook to those who aren't sensitive to voice styles.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Alex Sumner
  • Alex Sumner
  • 24-08-19

Awesome!

Yet another great listen that the first review you see is a negative. Can Audible change that up? Please?

I almost didn't get this audiobook because the top reviewer was upset with the narration. I'm on an 'inhale every awesome story I can find by T Kingfisher' jag, so I'd be perfectly happy to read her fascinating book, instead of listening to it, but there's no need, the audio version is terrific.

Bryony and Roses is based on Beauty and the Beast and I confess, I groaned when I discovered that, expecting a dutiful by the numbers retelling, when I should know better. Yes, there are many similarities to the well known story, but T Kingfisher's made some interesting changes and yet again made it her own tale. It's much more fulfilling than the original with a gratifying depth of character and lots and lots of fascinating things added into it. Whether it's a pleasant interlude in the garden or an unexpectedly touching scene to sooth hurt feelings, plus hilarious pithy exchanges, the truly horrifying aspect of fairy tales as well as numerous totally relatable emotional situations T. Kingfisher's story delivers. It's meat and potatoes writing, with soup, salad, all the side dishes _and_ you get dessert too. Woot! Good deal.

So, please, take that first negative review with a grain of salt. Justine Eyre's accent and elocution for Bryony is spot on and what a pleasure it was to listen to her performance throughout the rest of the book as well.

Great listen. Great story. Get it now.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Morro Schreiber
  • Morro Schreiber
  • 17-06-16

Not AT ALL the Right Voice for this Wonderful Book

I read this book long before I heard the audio version, as T. Kingfisher is one of my favorite authors.

This book is also one of my favorite books by this most excellent author: mystery, excitement, love, humor, gardening - what's not to love? The BOOK gets FIVE STARS.

But this is the kind of book that needs to be read with a little TWINKLE in the eye...if you've listened to Gerard Doyle perform the Septimus Heap books, you know what I mean. And among other things about her performance (see below), I'm not sure that narrator Justine Eyre has ever HAD a twinkle in her eye.

The AUDIOBOOK gets a generous THREE - and ONLY because the book itself is so good.

But Justine Eyre has (or fakes quite proficiently) a very nasal, kind of upper-class British accent, and once you hear how, at the end (or at some point in the middle) of about fifty percent of the words in the English language, she makes a kind of "nh" sound, it will drive you slowly insane.

I love a good British accent; I've spent years studying accents and dialects of English for stage and screen, and I'm an amateur phonetics junkie, so I feel fairly comfortable making the judgement that for a book in which the protagonist is a PEASANT GIRL, you don't want someone who sounds like a parody of Queen Elizabeth II on her coronation day in the early 1950s.

First of all, it just doesn't fit the story, which is a retelling of an old folk tale and would greatly benefit from a SIMPLE British accent -not Cockney, not working-class- just a simple, young, versatile R.P. accent.

Second of all, hearing "doh-eh(nh)" for the word "door" and "smohl-eh-(nh)" for the word "smaller" and on and on makes you feel like you are being COMPLAINED AT for the length of the audio book.

It's the talking-with-the-mouth-half-closed style of her voice, combined with the fact that the narrator doesn't really ever change her cadence or prosody (rhythms of language) from sentence to sentence...this narrator might be fine for some character in an Agatha Christie, but she doesn't even change her voice much for the main character, who is supposed to be a PEASANT GIRL for pity's sake. The voice of the Beast is not much changed either, save for being kind of desperate and rather overwrought, and a bit deeper.

Just. So. Wrong.

I could suggest about five different narrators off the top of my head who would have been better. Or, should I say "bet-teh-(nh)"...

So, long review short: BUY THE BOOK (or kindle book). Justine Eyre ruins this one, and it's a VERY good one to be so ruined.

11 of 13 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Ruthi
  • Ruthi
  • 26-07-19

Absolutely lovely

I’m so happy I’ve finally found a book version of “Beauty and the Beast” I adore that’s short enough to re-read and not spend more than a few hours on it, start to end 🌹✨📚! I thoroughly loved this retelling and I am grateful I waited for an audiobook version to exist before reading it because I’m not sure I’d have loved it this much without Justine Eyre bringing it to life in a wonderful way. 5/5; can’t recommend this book enough especially if you love this particular fairy tale in general.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Lansing D. Tryon
  • Lansing D. Tryon
  • 22-08-19

Numinous and engrossing.

I've been following the author since she was an artist on Lothlorien. She has never disappointed

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for theamazingcatherine
  • theamazingcatherine
  • 26-12-18

Brilliant. Some creepy moments.

I enjoyed the unconventional Beauty with her passion for vegetable gardening and the amiable banter she had going on with Beast. The writing is vivid and evocative, as Kingfisher/Vernon's style always is, with an ending that works for the characters.

That said, if you ever had night terrors as a child, best not to listen to this before you go to sleep. Really.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Rita Briar
  • Rita Briar
  • 30-03-18

Couldn't stop listening

I usually only listen to books while driving. The story and narration were so compelling I couldn't stop listening. Highly recommended!

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Lexica510
  • Lexica510
  • 19-10-15

Delightful and moving

I loved this retelling of the Beauty and the Beast story in print, and it's even more delightful as an audiobook. Justine Eyre's performance enhances the text nicely.

Gardeners will understand why the scene in which (no spoilers here) they approach her garden's border brought tears to my eyes, in a good way.

More of T. Kingfisher's work as audiobooks, please!

3 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Ona
  • Ona
  • 29-01-17

A Different Tale of the Beast

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

I would recommend this to anyone who enjoys reinvention of traditional stories.

What other book might you compare Bryony and Roses to and why?

Ella Enchanted would be a good comparison book for Bryony and Roses.

What about Justine Eyre’s performance did you like?

Love that British accent. Justine Eyre reads with a cultured accent that is a perfect fit for this story.

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

No, this was a book that I wanted to listen to for a bit and then digest a bit. There is a lot of imagery and mystery involved. Sometimes I had to go back and relisten to parts of it.

2 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Autumn
  • Autumn
  • 30-11-19

Absolutely outstanding

This is the absolute best retelling of Beauty and the Beast. This is everything I didn't even know I wanted.

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    2 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Nikki
  • Nikki
  • 17-06-19

Fun, quick listen

I love Beauty and the Beast so this was a fun, quick listen. Not all predictable but not extremely well developed due to its length. I listened to it while working in the garden which was perfect.