Friday, March 1, 2013

Just Audiobook Reviews - Desiree!

Just Audiobook Reviews: Read detailed information, with minimum or no spoilers, about the narration and story of audiobooks I've listened to.

Désirée: The Bestselling Story of Napoleon’s 

First Love Audiobook Review

by admin on February 22, 2013
Narrator: Nicole Quinn
Nicole  has a natural voice that is either liked or it isn’t. While this should apply
 to any narrator, in her case, there is a tremble quality to her voice to which some 
may not be able to adjust.  I  had no issue with it all.   For me, her narration of 
Desiree is Exceptional.  Time and again,  she moves effortlessly between various 
male and female characters in a given scene.  Her ability to convey in her reading, 
the description stated by a speaker’s tag is among the best I have heard. Her masculine 
voices sounded as though there were a male narrator, hidden in there somewhere. 
Her performance of this story is like a stage full of actors.
I especially enjoyed the way she is able to create an equally sensual, yet subtle distinction 
between the voices of Bernadotte and Bonaparte when the two men discourse.  Her female 
voices are whatever emotion or pitch or depth they are called on to be. In a word, her 
reading is Exceptional.
I do want to add that her male voices, at times, did sound the same for some of the many 
minor characters, but she maintains a uniqueness  with those of the principal male players. 

The Story:
Selinko’s interpretations of the real-life individuals in her book, naturally enhances them 
with feelings, mannerisms, and traits that remain consistent throughout. These attributes 
are so convincing that I reached a place where I could anticipate practically each major 
character’s reactions in almost any situation. Like the backdrop of a movie, Selinko’s 
descriptions and focus on details take the reader into Desiree’s world. Coupled with 
Nicole’s reading, it was wonderful to be so integrated into a fiction of this magnitude.
Desiree’s greatest distinguishing quality is her ability to be herself, despite whatever i
s going on around her. She is non-pretentious and fits no romantic stereotype. She is a 
New-Age woman who freely acts and speaks exactly as she desires and a woman who 
cares little for her ignorance concerning major political issues or the whereabouts of any 
place or country in the known world except Paris.
Yet, when the stakes are high, she asks enough questions about both politics and 
locations to keep readers connected with how these two aspects are influencing her fate. I 
liked her very much for her humanism, her candor, and above all, her compassion. I disliked 
her for her indifference and selfishness in a situation, where she should have been much more understanding and supportive. An incident that takes place, sixteen hours in the story, made 
me want to express-mail a letter to her, freely voicing my serious displeasure with the way 
in which she is behaving.
Throughout the book, her relationship with Napoleon is a broken cord of first love that
 is never truly severed. The interaction of the two in any given occurrence bears out this 
As for historical accuracy, Selinko’s coordination of important dates, battles and events 
into the everyday lives of her characters gives this story a consistent rope of tension and 
pumps life into the often distancing non-fictional accounts of Napoleon’s reign.
In fact, were I forced to study this period in history, I should like very much to have a 
couple of good historical-fiction books on it. After all, it is those one or two soldiers whom 
we met before as a maid’s or relative’s son that bind our emotions to the fate of all the sons, 
husbands, fathers, and relatives on the battlefield.
I wasn’t familiar with many of the events surrounding Napoleon’s rise to and fall from 
power.   Often I found myself verifying a few dates (not all of them) and checking the progression
of Napoleon’s and Bernadotte’s actions, against non-fictional sources. When the tension 
was high, I refused to read about what had actually happened, but would read the
non-fiction account once I was passed that point in the narrative.
This audiobook is twenty-five hours long, yet I found myself so involved with the life of 
Desiree and Jean Baptiste that I didn’t want the book to end. Still, when I did further 
investigations into their real lives, I accepted that Selinko chose the right time to conclude 
this epistle.
I praise this book as an entertaining fictional world expertly bound to one of history’s most 
famous timelines in a way that makes it definitely worth listening to.
Bibliography: Desiree: The Bestselling Story of Napoleon’s First Love by Anne Selinko
Length: 25 hrs. 48 minutes (unabridged)
Publisher: ©8-14-2012 Bluebarn Productions
An audio sample and download details are available.

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