Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Dearest Enemy by Nan Ryan **

It's been a while since I listened to an audio book!! I went on a binge of audio booking earlier this year but somehow slowed down, and allowed my credits to accumulate and also got a gift certificate. There was a sale and a promotion at so I jumped in and grabbed a bunch, and listened to Dearest Enemy today.

This is by author Nan Ryan, and I have only read one other of her works, which I got at the Portal Library sale this past year - or the one before that. It sat in my TBR pile for a while then I read it, and liked it. So when this book came up on audible, I added it to my TBR pile too.

It's another Civil War story, and like You Belong To My Heart, the heroine is Southern and the hero fought for the Union. I wondered as I listened if You Belong to My Heart was filled with the same number of adjectives and adverbs as Dearest Enemy. It seemed every noun was preceded by at least one and often 2 adjectives, every verb enhanced by an adverb or 2, until I wanted to scream! Maybe reading it and hearing it make it seem different - I know from having first read then listened to a book that the experiences are different, but usually I just feel like I gained more of an insight into the story. In this case, maybe when I read the first one I skimmed over all the adjectives?

The author indulged in a lot of (forced?) alliteration as well, and I thought if I heard the adjective "saucy" one more time I might have to rip the earphones out of my ears and scream. Bulging Biceps. Saucy Sweetheart. well you get the picture.

I did try to focus mainly on the story and the characters, and I tried to overlook all the excess and purple prose. But that was hard too - the heroine was a Southern spy, so bitter that the Union soldiers had taken everything from her - her sweetheart, her brother, her home - that she had no qualms about pretending to be in love with the hero and having lots and lots of amorous encounters (was she on the pill or what? I kept wondering why she didn't get pregnant!!) only to go behind his back and read documents he carelessly left lying about with Union Naval secrets. He's injured when what she reveals puts his ship and his life in danger, and he's cashiered out of the navy, but doesn't reveal her name.

That doesn't stop Pinkerton from figuring out who she is and getting her imprisoned as a spy. The coincidences that keep her from being hanged were fairly hard to believe, but she survives and lots and lots of time goes by before the lovers are reunited, also in a very incredible and coincidental way. Now it's his turn to be bitter and punish her. As well he should.

Well, whatever. Weak plot. The narrator was mediocre. Her southern accent was pretty good, and her different characters were easy to keep track of, but she did get sorta breathless in her reading at some points where I would have preferred a more straight-forward approach. I don't mind the characters getting dramatic, but the prose between doesn't need to be quite so, uh, dramatically read...

And yet, look at me giving it 2 stars -not as good as mediocre/average, but not as bad as Did Not Finish. I wasn't touched by this story, I didn't find the characters or their actions very compelling, and I don't really recommend wasting an credit on it.

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