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March 28, 2014 / Leslie

Rapid Reviews: Mr. Chartwell by Rebecca Hunt, Murder of Crows by Anne Bishop

rapidreviewslogo1March Rapid Reviews

In keeping with 2014 goals I am writing more short, concise, timely reviews with a quick overview and what I enjoyed or didn’t enjoy about the book. Using a Rapid Review format makes it easier for me to stay caught-up.

This wraps up most of my March reading with the exception of a review or two scheduled next week.

Mr. Chartwell by Rebecca Hunt

Publisher: The Dial Press | February 2011Mr Chartwell by Rebecca Hunt
Format: Hardcover | 258 pages | Rating: 2½ stars

July 1964. Chartwell House, Kent: Winston Churchill wakes at dawn. There’s a dark, mute “presence” in the room that focuses on him with rapt concentration. It’s Mr. Chartwell.

Soon after, in London, Esther Hammerhans, a librarian at the House of Commons, goes to answer the door to her new lodger. Through the glass she sees a vast silhouette the size of a mattress. It’s Mr. Chartwell.

Charismatic, dangerously seductive, Mr. Chartwell unites the eminent statesman at the end of his career and the vulnerable young woman.

I thought this book was going to be historical fiction but it’s not. It takes place at a historical moment – Churchill’s retirement – but the story itself is about depression. Depression takes the form of an imaginary creature, a large dog, named Black Pat. Black Pat regularly visits Winston Churchill and now is also dropping in on Esther Hammerhans, a librarian at the House of Commons.

It’s an interesting and clever concept but try as I might, I just could not get into this story. Maybe because there wasn’t much of a story, just a lot of conversation. There were a few humorous moments and it made me think about depression and how it affects people, but mostly it left me unsatisfied and glad that it was a short book. [I received this from LibraryThing so I felt I should finish what would have been a DNF].

Murder of Crows by Anne Bishop

Publisher: Penguin Audio | March 2014
Format: Audio Download | 14 hours | Rating: 4½ starsMurder of Crows
Audio Listening Level: Intermediate

Return to author Anne Bishop’s world of the Others – where supernatural entities and humans struggle to co-
exist, and one woman has begun to change all the rules…

After winning the trust of the terra indigene residing in the Lakeside Courtyard, Meg Corbyn has had trouble figuring out what it means to live among them. As a human, Meg should be barely tolerated prey, but her abilities as a cassandra sangue make her something more.

This is the second book in the paranormal fantasy series about an earth inhabited by preternatural beings – shape-shifters, vampires, and other predators – known as The Others who rule over humans and mostly consider them prey. In the first book, Written in Red, much of the focus was on world-building and character development. In book two, many of the familiar names are back and several of the story lines begin to develop along with a few new twists.

Fantasy is often hit or miss for me but I won’t hesitate to say I enjoyed this immensely. The world-building, writing and character interaction are fantastic, not to mention an entertaining story. There is good vs. evil, a few mysterious characters and a budding romance simmering in the background. There is still much story to be told and I’m already looking forward to the next book in the series.

Audio production: As in book one, the audio was narrated by Alexandra Harris. There were many characters in this story and she did a nice job changing tone and inflection for each of them. While it is not essential to read book one before attempting this audio, I would recommend doing so. There are a lot of characters and being already familiar with them makes the story flow; unlike a print book, it’s difficult to flip back and forth in audio. Getting lost or confused would be frustrating and I would hate to see someone give up on the book. I recommend listening to Written in Red first before enjoying this one.

Source: Review copies provided by the publishers.
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Leave a Comment
  1. BermudaOnion / Mar 28 2014 6:18 pm

    I had high hopes for Mr. Chartwell but I’m not sure it’s for me after reading your review.


  2. Suko / Mar 28 2014 6:23 pm

    Leslie, I like these shorter reviews. Thanks for sharing your thoughts in a concise manner.



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