The Dressmaker’s War

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Title: The Dressmaker’s War

Author: Mary Chamberlain

Narrator: Susan Duerden

Publisher: HighBridge

Genre: Historical Fiction

Audio: Unabridged

Time: 10.5 hrs / 9 CDs

My Review:     4.0 Stars

Disclaimer: I received this audiobook free of charge for a honest and unbiased review.

It took me a few weeks to listen to this book mostly because of person time constraints. The book was very interesting. I really wanted to just sit down and listen to the whole book in one sitting. Mostly because the narrator, Susan Duerden, is great at grabbing the listener’s attention. She can also keep it all the way through the book. Susan Duerden helped make this book a great listening experience. This story makes a great audiobook. It allows the listener’s imagination to roam and for me that is always a real plus.

This book is told mostly from the first person point of view. The Dressmaker’s War is based on a girl named Ada Vaughan and her experiences during World War II. Unlike most historical fiction based on or during the World Wars this main character is not Jewish. Ada is a dirt poor girl working in a dressmaker’s shop in London. When she meets a guy that changes her life forever and not in a good way. Ada gets conned by this guy who acts like a Hungarian Count. Because she’s in love Ada is blinded to all his faults. So Ada and the guy decide to take a trip to Paris right before the Second World War is about to begin. OF course the war starts but the guy Ada is with doesn’t want to go back to London. He talks Ada into going to a different country. After Ada gets them into the country because he supposedly lost his passport. They start trying to make a fresh start. Ada finds a job with a tailor and helps him. Until again she’s stupidly lead astray by the guy she left London with. He leads her into a more dangerous location to leave Ada high and dry when the bombs start falling. Ada turns to the only people she can think of nuns. Her aunt is a nun so she asks them for help. They put their lives in danger to help her. As time progresses she finds herself prisoner and now a pregnant. Fortunately she joined the order of nuns that help the elderly so this is what she continues to do for the Germans. Until one of the elderly gentlemen tells his nephew about Ada’s dressmaking skills from her life before she was a nun. Ada is then moved to the Commandant’s house where she is locked up and forced to make dresses for the Commandant’s wife and others. The commandants comes and goes but Ada’s job remains the same. Only one person that Ada makes a dress for is nice to her. The Germans lose the war. American Soldiers find Ada at the commandant’s house and help her get home to London. After Ada get home she finds no one really uses dressmakers anymore because of rationing. Ada finds herself a little apartment and a job. When she meet another conman who leads to her final downfall and again to the first guy who had previously abandoned her. After crossing paths with the first gentleman again and being insulted Ada kills him and stands trial. At the trial Ada is painted as a sympathizer for the Germans. All because the one German woman who was nice to Ada turned out to be Adolf Hitler’s mistress and wife and the time of his death. Because Ada couldn’t deny that the dress the lady was wearing was made by her. Ada was sentenced to hang.

The Bride OF Lammermoor

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Title: The Bride OF Lammermoor

Author: Sir Walter Scott

Narrator: Antony Ferguson

Publisher: Blackstone Audio

Genre: Classic/Fiction

Audio: Unabridged

Time: 13.2 hrs / 11 CD

Release Date: 03/08/16

My Review:   4.0 Stars (for the story) 2.5 Stars (for narration) 3.0 Stars(overall)

Disclaimer: I received this audiobook free of charge for a honest and unbiased review. 

It’s been more than 20 years since I last read this book. When I first read a book by Sir Walter Scott. I was 14 with a fascination and passion for classics. I had already read all of Shakespeare’s works and had even made my way through Poe, Dickens, and Austen when my English teacher introduced me to Sir Walter Scott. Over the years my fascination for classics has diminished but not my passion for reading. So when I stumbled across the opportunity to review the audio version of Sir Walter Scott’s classic The Bride Of Lammermoor. I requested that I be given the opportunity. My request was granted.

I listen to this book three times from start to finish. The main reason being the narrator. I was trying to find something nice to say about the narrator but, I honestly can’t figure out if Antony Ferguson just hates this book or if he’s doesn’t have the right voice for audiobooks in general. The first time I listened to this book it was all I could do to not bang my head against the wall and scream. Antony Ferguson has a very monotone voice and doesn’t make it easy for the listener to tell the difference from one character to another. IF the listener can get pass this problem then the book is a great story.

The story is situated around Lucy Ashton and Edgar Ravenswood. Keep in mind this is set around when Scotland and England was in flux around 1707. So, the story does talk about the political conflict sometimes more than the two lovers. This is a romantic tale that  has madness, murder and death. Which all seem to be a prerequisite for classics and you won’t find them lacking in this story.

Now I guess the real question is “Do I think it makes a good audiobook?” Honestly, no. Again it’s a wonderful story but unless it’s acted out and made into a full cast audiobook from there I don’t think it makes a very good audiobook.

Sadly it’s one of the less thought of stories written by Sir Walter Scott. But I was asked for an honest and unbiased review and this is it. I love the story and give it 4 stars. The narration is only getting a 2.5 stars from me and that’s being generous because I know it takes a long time to make audiobooks. So overall I will give this audiobook a solid 3 Stars.