Despite being the illegitimate daughter of a prince, Gillian Dryden is happily ignorant of all social graces. After growing up wild in Italy, Gillian has been ordered home to England to find a suitable husband. And Charles Valentine Penley, the excessively proper, distractingly handsome Duke of Leverton, has agreed to help transform her from a willful tomboy to a blushing debutante.
Powerful and sophisticated, Charles can make or break reputations with a well-placed word. But his new protégée, with her habit of hunting bandits and punching earls, is a walking scandal. The town is aghast, but Charles is thoroughly intrigued. Tasked with taking the hoyden in hand, he longs to take her in his arms instead. Can such an outrageous attraction possibly lead to a fairy tale ending?
"This is a fun ride with a colorful, adventurous heroine and a happily disconcerted, formerly perfect hero." (Publishers Weekly)
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Why the Accent?
A different narrator. The narrator kept giving the heroine, Gillian, and her mother an Italian accent, which drove me crazy and took me out of the story. Unless I misheard and misunderstood the story, her mother was born and raised in England of English parentage and was only called a "contessa" because she had married an Italian count. I questioned whether even Gillian would have had an Italian accent. While she was raised in Italy, her mother and grandparents, who had raised her, were all English so I think English would have been her first language, or at least she would have learned it at the same time as Italian, so I doubt she would have had such a strong accent. In fact, her grandmother mentioned how Gillian could speak French with hardly any accent, so why the heavy-handed accent in English? I've also heard a lot of female narrators do better men's voices. Even when she was just reading the main narrative portions, Crick sounded either disdainful or bored.
This was my first audiobook of Kelly's, but I had read an ebook by her before and thought the plot dragged. I actually liked this one better although I felt it dragged in a couple of places in the middle. I really liked Charles' character but didn't find Gillian as endearing as the original Eliza Doolittle was. There were scenes where I really liked her and felt for her, but there were also scenes where I thought she acted like a petulant child.
Ashford McNab or Elaine Claxton
I felt sadness because I felt sorry for Gillian, who'd had such a lonely existence and was punished for her mother's mistakes. Unfortunately, I felt annoyance every time she spoke because of the Italian accent. I just couldn't get past the poor narration.
I would give Vanessa Kelly another try because there were characters and parts of this I really enjoyed, but only if there were a different narrator.
A fun listen
- Maine Knitter