Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Edward IV goes corporate

The Ravenscar Dynasty The Ravenscar Dynasty by Barbara Taylor Bradford


My rating: 3 of 5 stars
To be honest, I'm a bit ambivalent about this one. I don't know how many of the disappointments with this book are due to abridgment. Further, there were aspects of the CD that marred my enjoyment of the audiobook. Perhaps I'll start with that, before reflecting on the content.
The narrator had a pleasant enough voice, one which I couldn't help thinking wouldn't sound out of place reading children's stories on the radio. Because of the abridgment (one presumes) there were no chapter demarcations, and I found that there were insufficient pauses or breaks between scenes. Sometimes it was not immediately apparent that one scene had ended and another had begun. The most disorienting was one that went straight from a seduction to... well, I can't for the life of me what it went to, but I was left going "Huh???" and had to do a bit of a rewind to work out what was going on. This happened on several occasions. There was no "end on disk" announcement, and -listening as I do in my car - several times it took me a few minutes to work out that the disk had ended and gone back to play track one again. On the plus side, there was a very nice little interview with the author at the end of the recording.
As for the book itself... well. As I may have mentioned previously, I got the book out of the library when it was first released, read about a chapter, and then had to take it back because that had taken me a month, and there were other people waiting for it. I'd been interested because it was based on Edward IV, and I'm a Yorkist fan-girl. Maybe that meant I knew too much. All the way through I found myself questioning if stuff that was missing (e.g. Henry VI being restored to the throne) was missing from the book, or just lost in the abridgment. Certainly some of the colour and detail has been lost in the abridgment - the blurb says the book is "a dramatic saga that brings to life the glittering Edwardian Era" Um... no. Not this version of the book, anyhow. We also don't really get the full effect of Edward being a womanizer - rather he seems to have a series of mistresses that he's pretty faithful to, rather than being a rake who can't keep his trousers on!
So as far as audiobooks go, I suggest you give this one a miss. An unabridged version may be preferable, if one is available, or of course the actual book. However I don't see myself chasing down the remaining 2 books in the series, even if at least one of them must deal with the equivalent character to Richard III.

Being totally cheeky and counting this toward the historical fiction challenge as it is based on a chunk of English history. So there!

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