People who know me personally know that I usually despise audiobooks; this is simply because I have a hearing loss and most narrators do not enunciate. At. All. I don't listen to audiobooks for the same reason I prefer to listen to instrumental music and have to have subtitles when I watch a movie: I have trouble catching all the words, even with my hearing aids. In the past, I have had to follow along in a book while listening to it, and that pretty much defeats the purpose, so I gave up. Not to mention that if I tried listening to a book while driving, it was impossible to hear anything with all the other noise.
That being said, a friend recently told me about LibriVox.org, and since the audiobooks there are all free, I decided to give some of them a try. I do a lot of housework, so I'm usually listening to music, but then I can't get all the reading done that I want to, etc., etc. Okay. So trying to listen to an audiobook again mainly stemmed from my attempt to balance reading and housework. >_>
Lady Audley's Secret by Mary Elizabeth Braddon was the first audiobook I downloaded from LibriVox. There were three separate sections, which added up to about 12 hours of listening time. I didn't have very high hopes for a decent narrator, since they are all volunteers, but the narrator for this book was excellent. Her name is Elizabeth Klett, and I hope she narrated more books because her enunciation was perfect.
Now, on to the story.
Lady Audley's Secret was Braddon's first novel; I don't know what else she wrote, but I will definitely be checking. The book was published in 1862 in England. As the title states, there is a secret surrounding the beautiful fairy-like Lady Audley. She was once Lucy Graham, a young governess who caught the eye of Sir Michael Audley, a landowner in Essex. When his nephew Robert Audley invites his friend George Talboys (lately returned from a three year trip to Australia to seek his fortune) to stay at Audley Court with him, George Talboys disappears, among other odd happenings. Robert Audley is normally not a very active fellow; his favorite pastimes are smoking his pipe and reading French novels. But when his close friend disappears under incredibly strange circumstances, Robert has no choice but to investigate. What he eventually discovers is remarkable and startling, and some may even say mad. -wink wink-
This is a "classic Victorian whodunnit" as someone on Goodreads stated; I can't very well tell you much more, except that I was enthralled by this tale from the very beginning. It was predictable in parts, but not so much that I wasn't surprised by events as they took place.
Of course, being a Victorian novel, some may claim it is too preachy. There are many Christian references and more than a few times when morality is spoken of as being one of the greatest things. I agreed with everything the author put in this book, being of rather Victorian sensibilities myself. Actually, I would say it is not preachy at all, but that people in this modern society would do well to heed some of the things she says.
It isn't the best book ever, but it was quite entertaining.
I give it 4 1/2 stars.
As I believe I mentioned in my last review, reviewing a mystery novel is difficult business. One never knows how much of the tale to reveal before it becomes painfully obvious how the mystery is to be resolved. At any rate, I hope this measly review is enough to make you at least consider reading Lady Audley's Secret, or listening to it as I did.