Regular price: £19.39
Buy Now with 1 Credit
Buy Now for £19.39
Any additional comments?
I feel compelled to write a review having just finished and thoroughly enjoyed this audiobook. It currently only has very mixed reviews from audible.com that I do not think necessarily relate to a UK audience.
Canadian and American ears seem to be having trouble with the narration. Mary Jane Wells has read the entire book, not just the dialogue, in a gorgeously soft Yorkshire accent. I have to say this was an excellent decision and really enhanced the listening pleasure for me. I have abandoned many books due to poor narration, but this was the complete opposite. Rather, it kept me enjoying to the last word a book whose storyline may have seen me dip in and out, not finishing it as I did in two days. One reviewer called it "shrill" which I cannot for the life of me understand. Wells has a pleasingly low toned voice, and the care she has taken over this book is obvious. The narration is not perfect, there are a number of times when she changes character and it is difficult to tell which is speaking. But for all that it is the most enjoyable narration I have come across in quite a while (and I listen to at least 6 or 7 books per month).
As to the storyline, it is not earth shattering. I won't rehash the plot, but I will say that Thayer is a very trying man. He is deeply insecure, and spends almost the whole book waiting for Gytha to betray him. His insecurities cause him to fail to act when Gytha needs him to, and thereby letting her down (once very badly indeed). I spent almost the whole book wanting to smack him around the head, but I suppose this was good storytelling as we share in the frustration that poor Gytha is suffering!
Gytha is an exceptional heroine, she is witty, kind, protective, capable, endlessly patient, and her dialogue is fantastic. She is very straightforward, quick thinking and clear sighted. My only problem is that she is supposed to only be 17! In spite of this (and the fact that she is supposed to have had a sheltered, pampered upbringing) she can deal confidently with a huge unruly warrior of a husband, a cheeky stepson, two holdings and their people (one in complete disarray), the king's court, not to mention being attacked several times, kidnapped and nearly sexually assaulted twice! Her emotional intelligence and clever handling of situations makes her come across as much older than this. Other than this slight niggle, Gytha is a very likeable and memorable character, and this book will be a re-listen for me sometime soon.
This was my first experience of Hannah Howell or Mary Jane Wells, but I will be seeking out more books from both.
2 of 2 people found this review helpful
Gytha, a famously beautiful young woman, was betrothed at birth to the heir of Saitun Manor. The times being fraught with danger, her father deemed it safer to just betroth her to "the heir" whomever that might end up being, rather than a specific heir. For most of Gytha's life, that was decent, handsome William.
On the eve of her wedding, her father decided it was time to tell her that William was dead. He'd known for a while, but didn't think she needed to be told until now that she's to marry ROBERT. Gytha does not feel comfortable with Robert, even though he is nice looking, but she will do her duty.
Imagine Gytha's surprise when she arrives at the altar to find she's actually marrying…THAYER. Thayer, the heir second in line from William, was believed killed in France, until he showed up to attend the wedding of his cousin WILLIAM... or so he thought.
Thayer a renowned warrior known as the "Red Devil", scarred both in battle and of heart, does not want to marry the beautiful Gytha, fearing she could not be happy with a scarred, red haired husband and would not be faithful to him.
I liked the story, but the narration ruined it for me. Mary Jane Wells does not have the ability to change her voice enough for different characters to be easily identified. She reads quite fast, and without proper distinction between Gytha and Thayer (as well as others), it takes awhile to figure out who is talking.
I cannot recommend "Beauty and the Beast", because of the narrator.
8 of 10 people found this review helpful
Would you try another book from Hannah Howell and/or Mary Jane Wells?
My favorite book by Hannah Howell, Highland Champion, sounds like an overdramatic constipated old man read it. That reader is excellent with Canadian/American style books, but is so fake in British/Scottish as to be a constant irritant. As that reader did many of my favourite Hannah Howell books, no, I would not buy those from Audible. Mary Jane Wells is excellent with conflict and cantankerous novels, but she has such a limited way of reading that I fear she would miss the mark for a novel requiring softer reading. She did a good job with this novel, but doesn't seem to have a large enough range to do many different styles of readings well.
If you’ve listened to books by Hannah Howell before, how does this one compare?
This one is better than the ones I have heard, all by a certain reader.
What aspect of Mary Jane Wells’s performance would you have changed?
I would have softened it, made it less shrill.
Was Beauty and the Beast worth the listening time?
Yes. It was a reasonable second opinion for a historical romance reader, especially Scottish historical romance.
Any additional comments?
Mary Jane Wells did a good enough job, but still has much room to grow.
1 of 1 people found this review helpful