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30 Books in 30 Days - Day 19: An audiobook you like because of the narrator's voice

Just to be clear - I don't ONLY like this book because of Sam West's narration. It's a brilliant book on its own merit. Robert Goddard is a brilliant author and I've read and enjoyed all of his books. Having Sam West narrate them is just a huge added bonus. I could honestly listen to him narrate the phone book and enjoy it!

The book itself is set predominantly during World War One and is centred around Leonora Galloway and her story. It touches on themes of mental health, shell shock and social class, amongst others.

Six months after the sudden death of her husband, Leonora Galloway sets out on a trip to France with her daughter Penelope. At last the time has come when secrets can be shared and explanations begin... Leonora takes her daughter to the battlefields of WW1, where her father is commemorated on the Thiepval Monument. But the date of his death is surprising, and reveals that Captain John Hallows cannot possibly have been Leonora's real father.

This is only the start of a series of revelations that span three generations of a distinguished aristocratic family who are not what they seem. Penelope must piece together a tale of war, of loss, of greed, deception and vice - and the perpetrator of a murder left unsolved for more than half a century...

As with all Goddard's books, there are numerous plot twists and turns throughout and nothing is quite as you expect it to be. Ultimately, however, everything is drawn to a satisfactory conclusion by the end.

I first came across Sam West in the BBC programme Over Here, broadcast in April 1996. When my school organised a trip to Blackpool's Grand Theatre to see him and his father, Timothy West in Henry IV Parts 1&2, I jumped at the chance to see him on stage. He did not disappoint (a 'slight' understatement - it was a brilliant production!) and I've subsequently seen him in a number of different roles. The narrations he did of Robert Goddard's books are ones I've repeatedly gone back to over the years, but with the advent of CD and subsequently MP3 downloads, they have proved impossible to buy in a more advanced format. Luckily, I still have my original tape versions, so bought a tape recorder and taught myself how to convert them into MP3 files on my laptop. OK, so they're in mono rather than stereo and the quality leaves a lot to be desired, but it means that at least I'm still able to listen to them!

photo from Wikipedia

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