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This was an enchanting story much like a fairytale. Christmas magic for two lovely young ladies whose freshness, sweetness and kindness make them entirely worthy of love.
I wish I could visit Greenbanks and enjoy Mrs. Harrington's hospitality. I can hear the dogs snoring by the fire right now!
2 of 2 people found this review helpful
Beaton is a writer of considerable talent, although I find his work is not consistently good. This one is a fun little Christmas story offering a mildly interesting portrait of life among the privileged in Regency England. The principal characters are not particularly well-developed, but they are believable enough and I did enjoy the bits of the history of Christmas traditions Beaton provided as part of the story.
The problem with this is the absolute WORST narrator I have ever encountered on Audiobooks. I actually thought for a while about what reader I had heard who was worse and I couldn't come up with one -- and I have almost 400 audiobooks! First of all, Ms. Nettleton can't act and, of course, that's somewhat essential for even a decent narrator. Ms. Nettleton speaks almost all lines as if the characters were auditioning for a high school play (with English accents.) IOW, she can only over-act... and she does it horribly.
Secondly, her range of voices includes some of the most frequently obnoxious noise I've run into in any book. One character actually sounds like she is speaking the lines while holding her nose (what is it with British English narrators that so many of them think that the more nasal the voice, the more ~English~ they sound?)
You will also find that, in general, you won't have much luck telling the characters apart. Jillie and Mandy sound alike. The two Lords sound alike. And they sound, most of the time, like every other character of their gender when she loses control over her range of voices.
If they get this re-read by someone who is good at it (Susan Duerdon?) it would be worth a credit for a cute if somewhat unbelievable holiday story. Otherwise I suggest you skip it. If you want a fun little Christmas story by Beaton that is well-told AND well-read, I suggest ~A Highland Christmas~ from the Haimish MacBeth series.