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The Lovers

Echoes from the Past, Book 1
Narrated by: Wendy Wolfson
Length: 14 hrs and 34 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (18 ratings)
Regular price: £22.89
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Summary

1665. When Elise de Lesseps is sold in marriage to Lord Edward Asher, she resolves to be an obedient and dutiful wife, until, on their wedding night, she finds out exactly what her husband has in store for her.

His request leaves her feeling shocked and humiliated, but being his chattel, she has no right to refuse. The consequences of that night seal Elise's fate and set her on a path that will lead to heartbreak and tragedy.

2013. Renowned archeologist, Dr. Quinn Allenby has a gift: She can see into the past when holding an object that belonged to the dead. When asked to host a BBC documentary called Echoes from the Past, Quinn uses her gift to find out what really happened to the 17th-century couple known only as The Lovers and unwittingly stumbles onto the secret of her own birth.

©2018 Irina Shapiro (P)2018 Merlin Press LLC

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  • Kate
  • Audiobook Blogger. Linktr.ee/MLHearingThings. Follow @MLHearingThings on Twitter, FB, Instagram, & Goodreads.
  • 01-03-19

A tale of love, loss, plague, and vengeance...

The Lovers is the first book in Irina Shapiro's 'Echoes from the Past' series, which follows respected archaeologist Dr Quinn Allenby as she uncovers the secrets of times gone by. Quinn is uniquely qualified to give voice to the long forgotten, as alongside her academic knowledge and practical skill in the field of forensic anthropology, Quinn has another gift; she can glimpse history through the eyes of people who witnessed it firsthand, by connecting with objects they held dear in their lifetime. This proves to be a blessing and a curse for an archaeologist, and few people know of Quinn's abilities for fear that she will no longer be taken seriously by her colleagues if word gets out.

In this book, Quinn's personal life mirrors the fate of the titular lovers - James and Elise - who must navigate love, loss, vengeance, and plague in mid-17th-century England. It is clear that there will be no 'happy ever after' for this pair, as their story begins at its end. We first meet James and Elise as they take their last breaths, dying together and buried in an unmarked grave which will not be discovered for almost four-hundred years. Their fate is so compelling in those initial moments, and their interactions so tender, that it is impossible not to be drawn in to their story. Their parting gave me chills and immediately connected me to these doomed lovers, desirous to know how they met such a tragic end.

I was not disappointed, with the plot exploring their past in a way that often echoed Quinn's present. This was accentuated by the fact that the narrator, Wendy Wolfsen, used the same voice for Quinn and Elise, and for James and Gabe. Whilst this had the potential to be confusing, I did not find the book hard to follow, and found both the historic and contemporary couples equally compelling.

As it is the first book in the series there are aspects of Quinn's story which remain unresolved, but they are not such a cliffhanger as to be frustrating. I am looking forward to the other books in the series, as I very much enjoyed the premise and the recurring characters. I did feel like a few aspects of Quinn's life were a little rushed, and would have liked the intimacy between Quinn and Grant to have been explored in a little more detail as it blossomed, but as so often with a book of two halves it can be difficult to balance the needs of two distinct plot lines and sets of characters. James' relationship with Elise definitely took centre-stage in this book, perhaps occasionally to the detriment of Quinn's, but only a little.

Wolfsen's narration made the book a pleasure to listen to. Her voice is warm and inviting, and perfect for this story. I enjoyed her portrayal of almost all the characters, though I did find the voice she gave to Elise and Quinn to be rather insipid, which was a shame but did not entirely prevent me from connecting with the women.

There is some anachronistic language in the book, such as the use of 'making love' in a time when that would have meant little more than being particularly nice to someone, but the style is consistent throughout and thus it does not feel too overtly out of place. The vocabulary is suitably British for the most-part, which is a triumph for an author who I believe grew up in America, as there are lots of words and phrases which often trip people up. The language felt natural and not gimmicky, which was very pleasing.

I'd recommend this book to anyone who likes historical romance, and anyone who enjoys fantasy books with a bit of a twist. If you're looking for a sweet story that ends with the protagonists trotting off together into the sunset then this book isn't for you. But if you like your love stories to take the lead from darker tales of myth, legend, and Shakespearean melodrama, then you're likely to enjoy it as much as I did.

*I received this audiobook free of charge in exchange for an honest, unbiased review.

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historical at its best

it is not often you finde historical romance like this. So well docimented and well written. you can feel that the auther have put alot of time and reserch into this book. And it payed off.
bouth auther and narrator is new to me. But I was pleasently surprised. And really liked this book.
feel like I need to finde more by them.

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  • Jan M
  • Southwest
  • 17-02-19

Awesome Listen!

The Lover's by Irina Shapiro is an incredible listen! I love how the author weaves together two separate stories into one like a tapestry. The imagery is so vivid, the characters are well developed, and there is mystery! History and romance are genre's that so appeal to me. I love the character of Quinn. I have actually listened to other books in this series before starting this one, and can honestly say, each one is a standalone. I found the suspense to be awesome in this book. The narration by Wendy Wolfson really brought the characters to life. She gives them distinguishable voices and has the emotions and expressions to match the author's words. I love it when a narrator enhances a book, and Wendy does that. I will most definitely listen to more books by this author and narrator.

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Fantastic

Going into this book I was a little worried that it wouldn’t keep my attention as I’m not usually a historical fan but I was so wrong! The flipping between past and present is absolutely genius, the way the storyline is written is fantastic. The narration by Wendy is brilliant. Thank you Irina for helping me broaden my genres.

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Gripping story from start to finish

Wasn't sure when I first began the book but after a couple of chapters I was hooked. A good read and looking forward to the next 2 books in the triogly.

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History, Bodies, and Romance.

I really enjoyed this audio book. Being a lover of Romance and History i was drawn into this world. That this author so richly painted with real and honest characters. I loved how the story unfolded even with some tragic content. Very keen to see what happens next with this series. Highly recommended listening or reading this book.

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The Lovers Review

Quinn has a very special gift. One she keeps hidden from everyone except her boss.

You see Quinn has Second sight, she has the ability to see past events when she hold an object that belonged to any deceased person. This is a good gift to have for someone in her field of work as an anthropologist, however when two bodies are discovered inside an ancient trunk Quinn gets called into to help discover who the body’s once were.

Quinn quickly becomes enthralled in the life of Elise. But can Quinn help discover what lead to Elise’s untimely death, and ultimately help end a 300 year old mystery.


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Excellent

Loved this story. Keeps you gripped from the start. A really good narration. Looking forward to the next installment!!!

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  • sherry Christenson
  • 23-07-18

Gem of a story

This is a story that will stay with me for a very long time. Irina Shapiro is an amazing storyteller. I read at least a couple of books a week so how has it taken me this long to find her? Lovers is the type of story we all hope to have when starting a new book, that gem of a story that will make you want to cancel plans and call in sick to work. Nothing else matters except the story of the two lovers. I loved having the two stories running simultaneously as both stories held my interest equally. The blurb let’s you know that one of those stories ends tragically but I was still not prepared for the total devastation I felt at the conclusion of James and Elise. I was emotional drained and literally cried as I opened an expensive bottle of wine to mourn the Lovers. Wendy Wolfson did an amazing job bringing this story to life. Her narration was perfect for the story. I probably could go on and on as once my review is written the book will truely be over and I’m just not ready for that. Luckily I already purchased book 2.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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  • SarahD
  • 06-08-18

History comes to life

Great story. Love the Past and Present storylines. I didn't think Foresenic anthropology would spark my interest. But I am history minor so this is right up my alley. The ending is a whoa moment. I highly recommend this audiobook. You must listen to it!!!

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 28-07-18

another wonderful book from Irina Shapiro!

I loved this book. the story was great and was well written. The narration was wonderful and the narrator took on the different voices without being fake or cringe worthy. there were enough twists and turns to keep it interesting and flipping back and forth between time periods was done seamlessly. I am looking forward to listening to more books in this series when they become available. Irina Shapiro is definitely one of my favorite authors and I have loved everything she has written.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Darcie
  • 09-07-18

Wish I could rate this book with 10 stars!!

I was a bit skeptical going into this book...not sure how the two timelines would work...but, oh my, am I glad that it did not scare me off!!! The writing was stellar, the narration was on point and I want more!!
The book starts of with the discovery of a chest with human remains, that appear to be from the 17th century, and dubbed 'the Lovers'. Renowned archeologist, Dr. Quinn Allenby, is called in by producers from BBC, who are doing a series "Echoes from the Past" on this discovery. Quinn is a psychic and can see into the past by touching objects. When Quinn touches a piece of jewelry that is found in the chest, she begins to see into the life of Elise de Lesseps, a 17 yo English woman that was sold to Lord Asher to satisfy her father's debts. What should have been a joyous time in her young life, turns into one of humiliation and loneliness, but, since she is 'just chattel' to her new husband, Elise has no choice.
The story of this courageous and kind hearted young woman is heart rending...so glad that I wasn't born into that time in history!!! Amidst discovering the life and mystery surrounding the deaths of 'the Lovers', Quinn is discovering secrets of her own past. This book is captivating and one of those 'unputdownable' ones for me...I completed it in one day. The narration is phenomenal and keeps you engaged. If you enjoy romantic suspense and historical genre, this combo is definitely for you!
I voluntarily accepted a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for an unbiased review.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Kiss
  • 06-07-18

Perfect Story and Narration!

Every so often you come upon a book you know will be an all time favorite. As you go through it, you want to keep reading, yet don’t want it to end. And as an author, you’re both enamored with the story and almost jealous you didn’t think of it first! I found that with this audiobook!

In 1665 Elise de Laseppes has been biding her time, waiting to announce her secret betrothal to a common lad to her father. But one morning, her father calls for her, telling her to prepare for her wedding to Lord Asher. Lord Asher is rich, widowed, twice her age, and able to save the de Laseppes from ruin. While she wants nothing more than to run away with the boy who promises her the world, she can’t. Her two little sisters depend on her to keep the family afloat, even if they don’t fully understand it. So she leaves her childhood home to become the literal lady of the manor. But her well-bred husband hides more than one secret and Elise will be tasked with not only saving her family, but herself as her husband strives to get an heir.

In 2013 London, Dr. Quinn Allenby is straight off a nasty breakup and home from a successful archeological trip to Jerusalem when she receives a new task. A pair of skeletons was found in a chest, a makeshift coffin with evidence to show that neither person was dead when they were left alone in the dark. She’s approached by a producer who wants her to head a historical drama show, featuring the mysterious skeleton, and implores her to find the true story by any means necessary. Using her special skills, Quinn sets off to give them back their identities. But as she works to discover the skeletons’ pasts, her own comes into clearer focus.

Two women, centuries apart, brought together by chance and a blue brooch that holds the secret behind the hidden chest.

One of the hardest parts about writing reviews is that sometimes you need to leave out some of the best parts, as to not spoil anything. All I can say is that Quinn has certain abilities that ties her to Elise in a way she can’t fully explain. As more of Elise’s life is revealed, the deeper Quinn’s character development goes. She lives her life alongside Elise’s past in a seamless way that Shapiro should be congratulated for. It’s difficult to time hop without confusing readers or muddling the stories, but everything is crystal clear in this book by the end.

As a historian, I love to take note of the bits and pieces in all historicals I read. Shapiro’s book was a a fine example of a well researched piece. The food, clothing, ailments, and accessories such as birthing chairs and plague doctors were slipped in naturally, setting up the time period without it being forced. Still, Elise and her loved ones had personalities that transcended time.

The narration of The Lovers was wonderful. Wolfson’s voice was clear and easy to get lost in. The pace was perfect and the slight changes in the characters through their own voices wasn’t overdone or cartoonish as some are. Usually I limit my audiobook listening to car rides and dog walks, but I found myself listening to this one almost nonstop until the end.

Overall, if you couldn’t tell, I loved this book. I could see it as a movie with the same thrilling, dramatic feel as The Da Vinci Code or Tulip Fever. In ebook, paperback, or audiobook, this is the perfect read for lovers of thrillers, romance, and mysteries.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Guard Dog
  • 08-03-19

You won't be able to stop listening!

I loved the story and the two different time lines of the characters. You will not be disappointed!

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  • Jocelyne
  • 05-03-19

Great Story!

This was my first Irina Shapiro's book. Wow! This is a wonderful and well written historical story with a great storyline, filled with mystery. Quinn is a great character. I love the scenery, so well described. The back and forth past and present is well done and it's easy to follow the two stories. Wendy Wolfson has a great voice, easy to understand. She did an amazing job with the narration.

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  • Avid Book Lover
  • 15-02-19

Fantastic Suspense!

I absolutely loved this story! Alternating between the past to the present—it’s two excellent stories in one! I was totally immersed in the mystery of the two lovers from the past and the present-day mystery of Quinn’s parentage and heritage. Keep a tissue handy for the end—as well as be prepared for a very surprising end. I voluntarily reviewed this after receiving a free copy.

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  • Mandy Smith
  • 11-02-19

I liked this one!

Good writing and great narrator. I recommend this one. Will be looking for more from this authoer and narrator.

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  • Coreday
  • 05-02-19

Love this series!

I absolutely love Irina Shapiro's Echos of the Past series of books! Even better as an audio book! I would recommend this series, as well as her other books as well. Great stories that will keep you guessing and entertained at the same time.