I have been a member of Audible for so long now that I have quite a library built up for re-reading, which is how I spend two-thirds of my reading hours, such that between the daily deals and two-fer sales, spending a whole credit on just one book is reserved for special occasions, like adding the titles of authors that I really, really enjoy reading and want to have more of. Kemelman and Grainger are two of those authors.
Picking up shortly after the conclusion of Thomas, Matthew opens with Thomas’s sister Theresa and her daughter Pricilla taking care of his estate while Thomas is away on his honeymoon travels. Running into difficulties with a mare, Theresa calls on Thomas’s neighbor, Matthew. Both Theresa and Matthew are lonely soles (she spending 8 years in self-inflicted exile, he the widower magistrate with bothersome in laws), and the pair strike an early friendship.
Following the mold of the preceding book, Matthew tells the tale of an unconventional woman who defies the times and a jaded gentleman who discovers a new joy in life with the help of the right woman. I like Theresa a lot. I like that despite the hardship of her past and the unkindness of her brother, her only living relative, she remains kind-hearted and gentle. Matthew is a true gentleman who recognizes the wrongs places upon Theresa, and defends her every action to both her brother and to Theresa. Through his love, she learns to accept her own faults and appreciate the person she’s become.
The only real negative I had was with Priscilla, who is mostly lovely and an excellent supporting character. However, the author shares a few sections from her point of view, and she is entirely too astute for to be an eight-year-old. Although her observations are spot on, I just didn’t like that they came from an eight-year-old.
Once again, Mr. Langton provides the narration for the tale. His voices, expressions, and characterizations have become familiar and enjoyable. His cadence is well-suited for the slower-paced and historically-set romance.
Even though Matthew is the second book in the Jaded Gentlemen series, it’s the third title I’ve listened to, and I continue to enjoy the titles. The book was delightful and lovely. I like that Theresa and Matthew find love early on, and it’s solving the mystery that delays the HEA.
My Rating: B+
Holly, a powerful witch, has been tossed from the Haven, a secret system of living for paranormals. She’s been placed in a communal home for displaced paras, living in the small town of Beechwood Harbor. Working at a coffee shop to make ends meet, Holly is shocked when she shows up for work only to find her grumpy boss Peg murdered in the back alley. When her best friend is named as the primary suspect, Holly uses her witchy ways to get to the bottom of this mystery.
Murder’s a Witch is a fun, entertaining story. This is the first time I’ve selected an audiobook primarily because of the narrator, and I’m glad I did. I enjoyed the small-town, cozy paranormal mystery with a slight blossom of romance. Even though at first, I found the house infighting annoying, and the characters a bit over-the-top, I grew to like the residents of Beechwood Harbor.
Holly is a bit of a mess, and she has secrets, of which we learned very little. Hopefully those answers will come in time, but the immediate mystery of who killed Peg was engrossing. I liked listening as Holly worked to put all of the pieces together. I loved the light-hearted nature of the story, watching friendships develop, seeing Adam’s genuine interest in Holly, etc. Some of the storylines were a bit cheesy - like the vampiress beauty queen, but mostly it is a good mix of fun.
As I mentioned, I picked up this story because while it looked interesting, the narrator is one of my favorites: Amanda Ronconi. She does a wonderful job with the story, creating and maintaining unique and fitting voices for each character. Ms. Ronconi succeeds with the quirky, first-person female lead, and Holly is no exception. I’ve become familiar with most of her voices, yet never did I confuse Murder’s a Witch with another story.
In the end, I enjoyed my first visit to Beechwood Harbor. I like that there is still a lot of unknown around Holly, like why she was kicked out of the Haven system, and with town newcomer, Nick… I feel like there is more to him than meets the eye. I will definitely pick up future titles of the Beechwood Harbor Magic Mysteries with Amanda Ronconi narrating.
My Rating: B
Review copy provided by Tantor Audio
Thomas Jennings arrives at his newly acquired estate to discover his steward has been absent for two years, leaving his more than capable daughter, Loris, to fill the roll. However, with discontent among the staff, Thomas makes changes immediately, and now someone is causing mischief on his property, leaving the unprepared Thomas dependent on Loris’s knowledge and advice.
Loris Tanner enjoys her position as steward despite the hard work because she loves the land. She’s comforted to realize the new owner is reasonable and plans to keep her on in her role. However, neither Loris nor Thomas planned on the growing attraction that draws the pair together.
Even though Thomas is the first book in the Jaded Gentlemen series, it’s the second I’ve listened to. Now that I am familiar the author’s voice and storytelling, along with the narrator’s style and vocalization, it all fell into place. I adore Thomas and Loris. I love that both are unconventional for the time. She is a strong female who uses her smarts and wit. She’s happy running the land, doing a man’s job… and she’s mostly accepted, which is not something that would have happened. Likewise, Thomas is kind and generous. He values not only Loris’s opinions but the word of all his honorable employees. He gives Loris time and comfort, recognizing that she has been hurt and needs to be in charge of her own life.
The narration by Mr. Langton is comforting. His voices are soothing and familiar. While none of the characters stand out, each is just different enough that every character is unique and distinguishable from the next. While he never quite comes off as a woman, his female voices are appropriate and feminine.
Even though the story takes place only over the course of a couple months, Thomas is sweeping and almost epic in nature due to the methodical approach to both the romance and the mystery of who is behind the sabotage. I like that story gives equal footing to the romance, the mystery, and the development of the two main characters. Overall, Thomas is a delightful listen.
My Rating: A-