In 1924, a young vaudeville actress takes on the role of a lifetime when she impersonates a missing heiress in The Impersonator, the 2012 MB/MWA First Novel Competition winner.
In 1917, Jessie Carr, fourteen years old and sole heiress to her family's vast fortune, disappeared without a trace. Now, years later, her uncle Oliver Beckett thinks he's found her: a young actress in a vaudeville playhouse is a dead ringer for his missing niece. But when Oliver confronts the girl, he learns he's wrong. Orphaned young, Leah's been acting since she was a toddler.
Oliver, never one to miss an opportunity, makes a proposition - with his coaching, Leah can impersonate Jessie, claim the fortune, and split it with him. The role of a lifetime, he says. A one-way ticket to Sing Sing, she hears. But when she's let go from her job, Oliver's offer suddenly looks a lot more appealing. Leah agrees to the con but secretly promises herself to try and find out what happened to the real Jessie. There's only one problem: Leah's act won't fool the one person who knows the truth about Jessie's disappearance.
Set against a Prohibition-era backdrop of speakeasies and vaudeville houses, Mary Miley's The Impersonator will delight readers with its elaborate mystery and lively prose.
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Premise = good; Execution = not so much
I am pretty good at getting an audiobook and devouring it. I've had this book for about a month now and am still struggling to get through it. I love the era this book is set in and liked the premise--a hungry, down-on-her-luck vaudevillian gets tapped to play the role of her life--impersonating a likely-deceased heiress. And sharing in the millions, should the ruse work.There are elements of a light mystery, a gothic thriller, and a romance. But for me, I just haven't been able to get to the end, primarily due to the narration. I've listened with satisfaction to one other of Tavia Gilbert's work. But here, I just found her too breathy, too callow-sounding for a slick, street-wise 25-year-old actress, basically a grafter, who's agreed to pretend she's a younger someone else--for real.,
I probably would have encouraged Ms. Gilbert to change her interpretation.
I'm starting to sound really mean. It just didn't work for me.
I won't know the answer to that until I get through it. I think Mary Miley probably wrote a solid book, probably the only reason I've made it as far as I have.
Narration is in the ear of the listener. This one didn't work for me. But it might for someone else. I recommend that one do a preview listen before using that credit.
- Annie M.