Sunday, 30 May 2021

Four (Audio) Books


The Night Gate by Peter May (2021)
Narrated by: Peter Forbes (13:06 h)

The latest thriller by Peter May belongs in his "Enzo Files" series (featuring Scottish forensic scientist Enzo MacLeod, living in France). I've only read one of the others in that series before, but don't think that matters all that much. The book starts with a death in present-day times (with covid lockdown and all) which turns out to be linked to events back during WWII. While sorting out the details, the story takes us to wartime London and the Outer Hebrides as well as Berlin and France. One of the true events in the background is that in connection with the German occupation of France, valuable paintings from the Louvre (including the famous Mona Lisa) were moved (by the French) to a secret hiding place, so as not to fall into the hands of Hitler & co. I follow Peter May on Facebook, and before the publication of this novel he gave some video presentations of it there, and also mentioned that one of his sources of inspiration was that one such hiding place was where he himself now lives in France. I enjoyed the book and I think it's one I might return to and listen to again. The audio narration by Peter Forbes is excellent as always. (I think he has recorded most of Peter May's books; or at least the ones I've listened to before, like the Lewis trilogy.)


The Other Bennet Sister by Janice Hadlow (2020)
Narrated by: Carla
Mendonça (18:10 h)

In general, I'm not a huge fan of other authors attempting to write sequels to old classics; like the books by Jane Austen. But someone recommended this one, and I got curious, so decided to read it (or listen to it) - and am glad that I did. In Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice, Mary Bennet is the middle sister (of five), and very much a background character - so much in fact, that I have to confess not even remembering her at all. (Had anyone asked me, I would have said there were only four Bennet sisters: Jane, Elizabeth, Lydia and Kitty. I've gone back to P&P to check though, and yes, Mary is mentioned.) I guess Janice Hadlow (author unknown to me before) thought Mary was worthy of more attention, and a story of her own - and I actually think she did quite a good job of it, while still keeping quite close to the spirit of the original story. 

Having finished this book, I now find myself going back to read / listen to the whole original Pride and Prejudice as well - and I'll not be too surprised if after that, perhaps I'll want to reread this one again, trying to sort things out in my own head!


The Forsyte Saga (1-3) by John Galsworthy
Narrated by: John Williams (42:35 h)

I'm still a member at Audible - I keep thinking maybe I should resign for a while, and just catch up with a number of books I've collected but still haven't found time to listen to; but then new ones keep popping up that I really want, and... - Ah well, anyway, last month, I happened to find this massive audio book (42½ hours) included in my membership free to listen to for members (but should I quit my membership, it would disappear from my library). I'm guessing that many of my blogging friends around my own age probably remember the old TV-series - I'm talking of the 1967 black & white one, not the one from 2002-03. While I listened to original novel now, it was the characters from the 1967 one that I kept seeing in my head. I do think that first TV series must have kept rather close to the novel. It was probably also the first long TV series of that kind that I ever saw. In 1967 I was 12 years old and we only had one TV channel in Sweden! Since then I've also seen it repeated a couple of times later in life. I can't remember having read the books until now, though. I thoroughly enjoyed listening to this audio book now. (Mostly listening at night, I did fall asleep to it every now and then... But with a familiar story it's not too hard to rewind and get back on track... I always set a timer!)

After I had listened to the whole audio book, it struck me to also check for it on Kindle. Turns out it's available there as free e-book, as well as in several very cheap editions. (I bought it for $1.05, but then also found it for 0.00. Ah well, I'll survive that...)

If you're not familiar with the story, it spans over three generations of a "commercial upper-middle class" family in London, starting in the Victorian era during the 1880s and ending in the early 1920s. It's a lot about their relationship to money and social status, but also deals the general developments within society during that time - and not least the changing position of women. 



The Consequences of Fear by Jacqueline Winspear (2021)
No 16 in the Maisie Dobbs series
Narrated by: Orlagh Cassidy (10:27 h)

This is the latest book in the Maisie Dobbs series, many of which I have reviewed before on this blog. (Write 'Winspear' in the search box of my blog, and you'll find them.) Maisie is a private investigator in England/London. The first book (Maisie Dobbs) is set in 1929, when she sets up her own business, ten years after WWI. Her background story is introduced there but also gets repeated and added to in all the following books. My feelings for the series have gone up and down a bit over the years. I got a bit tired of them for a while - but have kept on reading anyway, and on the whole I think it has got more interesting again with the later ones, set during WWII (and Maisie also getting involved in some international affairs). Undoubtedly, the author does put quite a lot of effort into getting historical background and atmosphere right.


  1. I remember when The Forsythe Saga was on T.V.

  2. I have yet to read any Peter May or Jacqueline Winspear books, but every time you mention them on your blog, I think I would enjoy them.
    Thank you for these reviews; I found the one about the sequel written to P&P especially interesting, as I have come across a few sequels to classic books written "in our times" as well and have had mixed thoughts about them.

    1. Meike, the someone who recommended that book to me was John, which is why I thought it worth while to give it a chance :)


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