Audiobook reviews for February 2019

Amazingly, my brand new, standalone novel, Lucia, about a Roman slave in Britain, has been bought by Audible who will produce it in their own studios and publish it EXCLUSIVELY. It won’t be available anywhere else other than from Audible for a year, and then I’ll put out the Kindle and paperback editions. And do you know what? I’m over the moon, because I LOVE listening to Audible! The audio version of Rebecca and Jane Eyre in particular inspired me to write Lucia, a book completely different to anything else I’ve ever written so, with that in mind, here are some reviews of the audiobooks I’ve been listening to recently.

rendezvous

I think Rebecca du Maurier might be my new favourite author. I love her writing (as these reviews will show). This is a collection of her short stories and they’re a little different, to me anyway, as most of them don’t really have any kind of ending, and certainly not a twist as I would expect. They are often just narratives of someone’s day or week or whatever. It sounds boring but du Maurier was such a good writer that this is a brilliant listen. The narrator helps, as he’s excellent. I particularly liked the almost Lovecraftian story about a ghost ship which I listened to out at work in the dark one night, and the final one, “Split Second” which is a kind of timeslip thing and really had me questioning what the hell had happened! I still don’t know!

The more I read (listen) to du Maurier’s stuff I wonder if she had a pretty crappy time of it, as a central theme in much of it is women (and sometimes men) escaping from their humdrum lives, but it certainly makes for some good tale-telling. Well worth a monthly credit!

RATING – 4/5

scape

Another by du Maurier! This is a strange one again. It’s about a guy who meets his doppelganger in a bar and takes over his double’s life. You have to suspend your disbelief because I’m pretty sure in real life the guy’s mother, wife and daughter would realise pretty quickly they were dealing with an imposter but that never happens here. If you think about it, this seems like a pretty ludicrous idea for a full novel – a short story, perhaps, but how could this premise be strung out over a novel? In the hands of du Maurier, very well as it turns out!

This is an excellent book. I think the key to her writing may be that it’s all quite open ended – it allows the reader to fill in a lot of gaps and come up with their own scenarios for endings and so on, and this is a prime example of that. We like the main character, dislike his doppelganger, and enjoy all the strange, blind interactions between everyone throughout the entire story. It’s a strangely uplifting tale and, for some reason, that mad foundation it’s all built upon – of a stranger wandering into and taking over someone else’s family – is never an issue.

It’s not as good as Jamaica Inn or Rebecca but it’s a great listen, with another great narrator.

RATING – 5/5

julius

Huh, I didn’t actually realise I’d been listening to so much du Maurier until I sat down to compile these reviews (I have specifically bought the new Bernard Cornwell one this month just for something different!). This one, Julius, I must admit I didn’t enjoy as much as the others. Don’t get me wrong, it’s as well written as My Cousin Rachel for example, but the whole book is centred around a main character who is, well, for lack of a better word, a dick. He is selfish, grasping, manipulative….It’s really interesting at the start when Julius is a child and the hard times he has to go through but, to be honest, I never really felt much sympathy for him. He was a horrible twat the whole way through the book and it was hard to get into the story as a result. Horrible child, horrible husband, horrible father – he’s really just a twat of a man but never gets his comeuppance and, although I generally like an open ending, I really wanted Julius to suffer at some point, and he never does.

Du Maurier writes so well that I never once wanted to stop listening, I always had to hear what was coming next, so it’s very much worth a listen, but it’s a bleak and unpleasant book, rather like Wuthering Heights.

RATING – 3/5

TRY AUDIBLE FOR FREE WITH MY BOOKS! Download Wolf’s Head, book 1 in the Forest Lord series, without spending a single penny using the links below for a month’s FREE trial:

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FL series audible

Coming next time, reviews of Bernard Cornwell’s War of the Wolf,  and Tolkien’s The Two Towers.

 

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