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ABOUT THE STORY
Deb Grantham is one of Georgette Heyer's tall, sophisticated, unconventional heroines, in an adversarial romance with one of Georgette's coldhearted leading men. The expected array of secondary romances, matrons with the vapors, giddy ingenues, ardent young blades, jaded dandies and knowing servants surround the central pair as they battle their way to love against a backdrop of the London gambling scene, circa 1795. Not technically a Regency, it's set just after the French Revolution and just before the Napoleonic Wars--which is to say, in Heyer-fan terms, just after powdered hair but a little before Beau Brummell.
ABOUT THE GEORGETTE HEYER AUDIOBOOK DILEMMA
Good story, poor reading. Do I recommend it, or not?
Georgette Heyer's prose is demanding, and her novels, though lighthearted, are beloved classics that deserve to be recorded with respect. I don't feel like that happened here. This audiobook sounded to me as if both producer and actor said, "Yeah, whatever, it's just a romance, so let's get through this quickly. Nobody who matters will notice."
To be fair, Laura Paton has a good voice and the requisite command of RP British English. Some of her characterizations are pretty solid, and I can mostly tell one character from another. I think her choice to read an obviously Irish character with a London accent is odd, but probably preferable to a terrible fake Irish accent, so that wasn't a deal-breaker. She reads accurately (which is more than I can say for some other Heyer audiobook narrators).
Here's the thing, though: Paton's reading sounds as if she encountered the text for the first time in the recording booth--as if there was no thought, no rehearsal, no preparation, and only the most cursory understanding of the characters. The reading is often rushed. Emphasis is misplaced in sentence after sentence, so that important plot points have no more weight than connecting narrative, and all the characters sound angry and tired. I was so busy reinterpreting phrases in my head that I would lose the story thread entirely.
The best audiobook narrators understand the cadences of Georgette Heyer's sparkling style, and have made some of her middle-of-the-road stories into favorites that I listen to over and over. I count Phyllida Nash, Eve Matheson, and Sian Phillips in this category.
Less-than-stellar narrators make favorites into sad disappointments--expensive placeholders in my Audible Library where a beloved go-to comfort listen should have been. I'm sorry to say that this is the case with Faro's Daughter.
33 of 33 people found this review helpful
This is one of the most unique stories from Heyer with a different setting for her characters. It is one of the ones that I like the most, but I did not enjoy the narrator. She had an odd way of interpreting the male protagonist that I did not enjoy.
9 of 9 people found this review helpful
Any additional comments?
This is one of Georgette Heyer's better comedies, and as a book I like it a lot. I held off from the only audio version as it was Abridged, which never works, so was really pleased when this was released.
The other reviewer's comments on narration are fair, it's adequate but never really comes alight, and this is a book that should rattle along at a joyous pace much as The Talisman Ring does. The female voices are OK, and it does improve as the story progresses, but for me the male voices just don't work, and the whole thing is a bit bland and flat.
With such accomplished Heyer narrators as Phyllida Nash, Eve Mathieson, Daniel Phillpott et al (hopefully) available, that seems a shame.
6 of 6 people found this review helpful
Is there anything you would change about this book?
The reader. She does not have a bad voice but there is little intonation and no drama. Which is a shame as this is a good book with good characters and an excellent plot.
What did you like best about this story?
The byplay between the main characters
Who might you have cast as narrator instead of Laura Paton?
Phyllida Nash, Nicholas Rowe, Julian Rhind-Tutt, Richard Armitage..............lots to choose from.
Do you think Faro's Daughter needs a follow-up book? Why or why not?
This book is complete. Georgette Heyer generally left her characters alone apart from one family in particular.
Any additional comments?
It's not a badly read book but could have been so much better.
4 of 4 people found this review helpful