📚 Her Royal Spyness by Rhys Bowen

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Her Royal Spyness #1

Description⎮Reviewed Jul. 2016

Narrator: Katherine Kellgren
Length: 8h 9m
Publisher: Audible, Inc.⎮2010

5 ★ Audiobook⎮ Let me begin by saying that the discovery of this series was a welcomed and delightful summer treat! I’ve been suffering from an overdose of Young Adult fiction for some time now and the Her Royal Spyness series seems to be just the cure. It is light and wonderfully amusing, without being immature or frivolous. I overwhelmingly recommend this for anyone interested in being charmed off their feet by Bowen’s British humor and incredibly relatable protagonist, the penniless and accident-prone Lady Georgianna (“Georgie”).

This novel was as far from my typical tastes as I have wandered in a very long time and it proved to be a breath of fresh air. There was no “insta-love”, no love triangles, and the female protagonist was unbelievably engaging. Her use of common sense (something fictitious females are all too often written without) endeared me to her instantly. Indeed, she is no lovestruck teenager with a heroine complex.

It has been a great while since I have adored a main character as much as I adore dear Georgie. Furthermore, I have found that I’m also quite attached to the minor characters, especially Georgie’s ex-policeman grandfather with the Cockney accent. As a star-eyed royal lover, the 1932 London setting is particularly appealing to me, as are the satirical portrayals of Queen Mary and The Prince of Wales (later Edward VIII). Although, fans of Wallis Simpson may bristle at the comical, yet unflattering portrait of her painted here. History and objectivity aside, she does make quite the femme fatale-type adversary.

The mystery plot is the backbone to the story. Without it, this would just be an amusing story about a nearly impecunious daughter of a noble family fallen from grace. Granted that with Rhys Bowen’s writing, that would still be more than enough to entertain. However, the mystery adds an extra je ne sais quois to the story that kept me, quite literally, on the edge of my seat until the last second.

This mystery was anything but predictable and I was beyond pleased to not even have had the tiniest inkling of “whodunit” until the big reveal. When one reads as much as I do, it can be very difficult to come across a plot this pleasingly unpredictable. I’ve discovered a new subgenre term to describe this type of story: Cozy Mystery. Nothing describes this series better.

Narration review: Oh, Katherine Kellgren, where hast thou been all my life? Never have a narrator and an audiobook series been better suited for one another. I won’t say that this audiobook would have been nothing without her, because that would undermine everything I said above about the writing, but suffice it to say that this audiobook would have most certainly been significantly less enchanting without her.

The characterization she provided was absolutely out of this world and unlike any I have ever before experienced. Believe me when I say that Kellgren breathed life into the characters and made them come alive. Even the prose was enhanced through her narration. I simply cannot gush enough about the superb way in which Katherine Kellgren narrated this audiobook. I’m still in awe. ♣︎

$ Available at The Book Depository and Audible

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