Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Review: The Midnight Rose by Lucinda Riley (audio)

Title: The Midnight Rose    
Author: Lucinda Riley    
Narrator: Anjana Srinivasan  
Published: January 2014, Whole Story Audiobooks  
Length: 16 hours, 48 minutes   
Source: Personal copy via Audible 

Spanning four generations, The Midnight Rose sweeps from the glittering palaces of the great maharajas of India to the majestic stately homes of England, following the extraordinary life of a remarkable girl, Anahita Chaval, from 1911 to the present day . . .

In the heyday of the British Raj, eleven-year-old Anahita, from a noble but impov­erished family, forms a lifelong friendship with the headstrong Princess Indira, the privileged daughter of Indian royalty. As the princess’s official companion, Anahita accompanies her friend to England just before the outbreak of World War I. There, she meets young Donald Astbury—reluctant heir to the magnifi­cent, remote Astbury Estate—and his scheming mother.

Ninety years later, Rebecca Bradley, a young American film star, has the world at her feet. But when her turbulent relationship with her equally famous boyfriend takes an unexpected turn, she’s relieved that her latest role, playing a 1920s debutante, will take her away from the glare of publicity to a distant cor­ner of the English countryside. Shortly after filming begins at the now-crumbling Astbury Hall, Ari Malik, Anahita’s great-grandson, arrives unexpectedly, on a quest for his family’s past. What he and Rebecca discover begins to unravel the dark secrets that haunt the Astbury dynasty . . .

A multilayered, heartbreaking tale filled with unforgettable characters caught in the sweep of history, The Midnight Rose is Lucinda Riley at her most captivating and unforgettable.

My thoughts: I first became a fan of Lucinda Riley after reading, and loving, The Lavender Garden. Since then, I've had my eye on her books, but have not had a chance to read anything else by her. I have The Orchid House sitting on my shelf and am just waiting to find the time to pick it up. When I saw this one, I just knew I had to read it and read it soon. While I had the e-copy of it, I decided to go with audio and I am so glad I made that choice - the audio production was brilliantly done.

This is the type of story that just captivated me from the very beginning. I love multi-generational stories and this one not only does that, but it also brings into play different cultures. The dual narrative keeps things moving, switching from the present to the past at just the right times. 

It is so easy to get caught up in Anahita's life and she is certainly a character I don't think I will ever forget. There was just something so endearing about her. Even knowing that from the beginning of the book, she lives a long, long life, takes nothing away from her story when it goes back to her early days as a child and then progresses through her life. Lucinda Riley is a master storyteller, managing to draw out a life story in such a way as to not get bogged down in too many minute details, but give us enough to really know and understand the type of person Anahita is.

I also felt connected to Rebecca in some ways. An American actress staying in an English manor, she's captivating in her own way. I loved how she and Ari formed an easy relationship almost right from the start and how interested she was in his grandmother's story. She wasn't without her issues, and I think delving into the past was helping her to keep her own troubles at bay. 

The rich history of the Indian culture as well as classic English countryside really come to life in this book and I was quite sad when I came to the end of this book. This was really a story that I wished could go on forever, I was that captivated and entranced by it and the characters. I can't wait to read more by this amazing author!!!


Audio Thoughts: This was the first time I've listened to Anjana Srinivasan narrate a book and I thought she was the perfect narrator for this particular story. She was able to switch back and forth between the Indian and British accents effortlessly and made each voice quite believable. Every character, and there were quite a few, had their own unique voice and it was very easy to remember who was talking throughout the book. I enjoyed listening to this book as well as listening to Anjana's voice. I will definitely be checking out what else she has narrated.


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6 comments

  1. I will have to look up books narrated by her as I don't think I have listened to her before.

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  2. Sounds like you really enjoyed this one. :)

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  3. Kristin, this one sounds wonderful! I'm glad you enjoyed the story and the narration.

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  4. I love multi-generational stories and I don't think I've read one with that looks at Indian history as well. Thanks for sharing!

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  5. I've read this book and loved it when I did. When I saw your recommendation for listening to it I thought of it for some time in the future to listen to as a reread.

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