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Friday, November 9, 2012

Audio Book Review: Emily Goes to Exeter by Marion Chesney

This is a fun, engaging match-making tale set in Regency England.
Emily Goes to Exeter: The Traveling Matchmaker, Book One 
Author: Marion Chesney (M.C. Beaton)
Narrator: Helen Lisanti
Audible Audio Edition
Listening Length: 5 hours and 39 minutes
Program Type: Audiobook
Version: Unabridged
Publisher: AudioGO Release Date: August 1, 2012

Genre: Historical Romance
My Rating: 4.25 of 5.0

Book Description
Publication Date: April 15, 2010
A dead employer’s legacy of five thousand pounds allows spinster Hannah Pym to resign from housekeeping and find adventure travelling the English countryside by stagecoach. But adventure soon finds Miss Pym in the form of Miss Emily Freemantle, a spoilt violet-eyed beauty fleeing an arranged marriage to a rake she has never met. What the girl’s darkly handsome betrothed boards their stage, Miss Pym is certain Emily was rash to bolt from this aristocratic catch! And so as soon as the travellers repair to an inn, Miss Pym begins her matchmaking… and although Lord Ranger Harley complains he’ll not marry an ungrateful minx, Miss Pym suspects once she’s marshalled the couple into sharing intimate household chores, all romantic knots will be untangled!

Although the story is title “Emily Goes to Exeter” the true protagonist and star of the story is Hannah Pym.  Miss Pym is a middle-aged spinster who has risen over many years to the position of Housekeeper for a reclusive gentleman. Miss Pym has steadfastly taken care of Mr. Clarence since before his wife ran away. Now Mr. Clarence has died and Miss Pym wonders what will happen to her.

Miss Pym is thrilled when she is left the good sum of five thousand pounds-- enough to take care of her for the rest of her life. Now she can seek adventures on the ‘flying’ stage coaches that she has longingly watched from the parlor windows.  Miss Pym gets some pleasant help from Mr. Clarence’s distinguished and kind, single brother, Sir George, who has inherited Thornton Hall. He helps her set up an account at the bank and encourages her to stay safe as she insists on setting out on the stage coach to Exeter.

Miss Pym is fascinated by the other passengers and the coach staff. An attempt by a highwayman is thwarted but inclement weather strands the group at a local Inn. When the Inn staff can’t get through the snow, the indomitable Miss Pym takes charge to organize feeding and cleaning with the expectation that everyone, from Coachman to Lord, will pitch in to help. 

Miss Pym puts her organizational skills to work too as a matchmaker for Miss Emily, a young girl who was running away from a match made by her parents, and her would be fiancé, Lord Harley, who has followed along to take her home.  Emily thought she was in love with a young man at home and that Lord Harley was too old and rakish for her. But her nose is out of joint to discover that Lord Harley may well reject a spoiled young miss, no matter her beauty.

Miss Pym is also matchmaking to get a rich widow away from the Captain who wants to control her and match her with a sweet, kind Lawyer instead.  Jealousies and tempers flare and injuries occur that indicate someone in the group is up to no good.

Miss Pym finds adventure in the whole journey and is a delightful character! I loved the regency setting that allowed her adventures along the road and at the Inn. The group of traveling companions are well developed to play into their roles with intrigue and sweet, budding romance. Although the mysterious attacks are a smaller portion of the whole, they add to the package to make this an entertaining tale.
Audiobook Jukebox
Audio Notes: The narrator does a fine job of capturing the different British voices from cockney to highbrow and various classes in between. The reading fit the 'old-fashioned' tone. The pacing was sweet and moved well with the easy pace of the story.  This is a fun and engaging listen especially for readers who enjoy this genre.

I received this for an honest Review from AudioGo through AudioBook Jukebox.

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