The House on Vesper Sands Audible Audiobook – Unabridged
©2018 Paraic O'Donnell (P)2018 Orion Publishing Group
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|Listening Length||10 hours and 21 minutes|
|Whispersync for Voice||Ready|
|Audible.com.au Release Date||18 October 2018|
|Best Sellers Rank||
82,831 in Audible Books & Originals (See Top 100 in Audible Books & Originals)
367 in Occult Horror Fiction
819 in Traditional Detective Mysteries (Audible Books & Originals)
2,463 in Historical Romance (Audible Books & Originals)
4.1 out of 5
55 global ratings
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Top review from Australia
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Reviewed in Australia on 14 January 2019
This novel is set in London, seemingly just before or after 1900. Bicycles and phonographs are mentioned. The writing style is Victorian too - very authentically so. This is very skilful but might be off putting to modern readers who prefer a leaner style. The mystery is why girls and young women of lowly rank are disappearing. There’s an evil lord, a poor but noble clergyman, an impoverished student of divinity, a feisty adopted woman who’s trying to be a reporter, an energetic Inspector with a nice line in acerbic wit, an enigmatic man who works in some capacity for the Home Office and a self-sacrificing suicide with a message sewn into her skin. All jolly good stuff and very well written. London itself is marvellously evoked. My only problem - and it’s very much a question of personal taste - is with the supernatural explanation for the disappearances. The victims are selected for the brightness of their souls, this brightness being appropriated by the evil-doers. If you can cope with this, you’ll love this book.
Top reviews from other countries
Mr. N. R. Ash
Difficult to believe in.Reviewed in the United Kingdom on 6 November 2018
The professional reviews for this book raise high expectations, with names like Dickens, Wilkie Collins and Conan Doyle bandied about. It's hard to understand why. It fails to generate an ounce of the atmosphere second nature to those authors and has none of their descriptive power. Believing in it is difficult because there are so many things that jar if you know anything about Victorian Society. Lord Strythe is apparently the Earl of Maundley, in which case he would be known as Lord Maundley, not Strythe. Octavia's noble friend is William Elphinstone, the Marquess of Hartington, which is odd because Marquess of Hartington is a Cavendish family title and was very much in use at the time the novel is set. Why apply the title of a real historical personality to a fictional one? Octavia turns up at a high society event on her bicycle. Did she bike in her evening gown or breach all etiquette by barging in wearing her mud spattered everyday clothes? Either way, nobody seems bothered. The indomitable Inspector immediately assumes that the first person to turn up at the scene of the crime is the Sergeant sent to assist him, no pertinent questions asked. There's a sloppiness and falseness at the heart of the book that grates very quickly, an expectation that the reader will suspend disbelief (fair enough), without offering the expected helping hand. I could forgive all that if the book possessed any of the other qualities attributed to it - the 'vivid portrayal of London' or true echoes of the great writers of the past - but it doesn't come near to doing that. Another Amazon reviewer described it as a 'frothy confection' which is probably about right. I count it a major disappointment.
19 people found this helpful
Original, brilliant and profound Victorian detective novelReviewed in the United Kingdom on 23 December 2019
My husband always loved Victorian detective novels - Wilkie Collins was a favourite - so when he was struggling to read, I gave him this book, little realising what a perfect choice I'd accidently made. Inspector Cutter is one of the most memorable fictional detectives I've ever encounted - a year after reading it, I still remember the exact page he bursts upon - before tearing through the murky streets of Victorian London, discovering dead bodies, missing women, strange seances and high society scandals. This book has such energy and exuberance, that even my very sick husband (who despite being a bibliophile had not read a fiction book for quite while) rapidly turned the pages. But this is so much more than a rollicking good read. Like all great books, The House on Vesper Sands defies the constraints of genre, and whilst the dialogue is often laugh out loud funny, there are scenes and themes that are genuinely moving and profound. The supernatural is not added for a dash of gothic flavouring, but is at the heart of the novel itself. The epigraph is taken from words Elizabeth Parker stitched into a linen sampler c.1830: 'What will become of my soul?' This question haunts the novel and its characters, and I think this is why we both kept turning the pages as we read it side by side. The House on Vesper Sands was the last book my husband ever read, and so I think about it often; in particular, how one character slowly, but inexorably vanishes before her beloved's eyes. But looking back through it again today, I am glad that the last book he ever read was not just an entertaining distraction, but dealt with the fears we dare not speak of, and that the last lines will have offered him comfort and hope.
2 people found this helpful
My favourite book of 2018!Reviewed in the United Kingdom on 3 November 2018
I absolutely loved this book! I very rarely leave Amazon reviews, but I had to review this (mostly in the hope that Mr O'Donnell will be compelled to write a sequel if enough people rave about this one!). Wonderful characters, beautiful writing, a gripping plot - wonderful! Also very funny at points (Bliss's police notes are a comedic masterwork). Enjoy!
7 people found this helpful
Beautiful, funny, moving. A hugely enjoyable readReviewed in the United Kingdom on 23 October 2018
A gripping, beautiful, read. Humane, spooky, and drenched in the atmosphere of 1890s London. Also funny, with great characterisation.
5 people found this helpful
I have already won.Reviewed in the United Kingdom on 28 May 2019
I haven't read this book yet, technically speaking, so should perhaps hold off on the reviewing front, but I count myself well enough versed in the author's abilities in prose to speak with authority. I have followed him on Twitter for the last six or seven years and he is - seriously - one of the two or three most consistently funny and original tweeters out there, bristling with elan, insouciance and joi de vivre. if - as I have sometimes fantasised - one could have one's favourite tweets rendered as little enamel broaches to wear as conversation starters (and to lend an old school prefect air to a battered blazer) the Paraic's work would dominate by jewellery box. And so, never having had to pay for a single one of these gems, I would have pounced upon this purchase as an opportunity to thank him for that much innocent pleasure alone. Now that I see what universally excellent reviews it has been getting (at least from anyone not pathologically obsessed with accurately rendering the 19th Century hierarchy of class distinction) I am looking forward to reading it as much as I did owning it. But whether you do or not, do follow him on Twitter. Seriously. x