- Audible Audio Edition
- Listening Length: 12 hours and 6 minutes
- Program Type: Audiobook
- Version: Unabridged
- Publisher: Audible Studios
- Audible.com Release Date: August 2, 2010
- Whispersync for Voice: Ready
- Language: English
- ASIN: B003YV16TG
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank:
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The Brimstone Wedding Audible – Unabridged
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Top Customer Reviews
This book revolves around the unusual friendship between two women (Jenny and Stella) who are widely separated by age, class, and finances. What they have in common is the nursing home where Stella is a resident and where Jenny works as an aide. They also have in common unhappy marriages, unsatisfactory lovers, and a remote house which hides some strange secrets.
I bought this on sale and enjoyed it. I prefer Rendell's mysteries - especially her earlier, leaner ones. However, she's an intelligent observer and a fine writer and her "Barbara Vine" books are worth a look. I think it could have been trimmed to good effect, but she has a lot to say - about men and women and the harm they can do to one another, about the strictures that class, education, and money place on everyone, and about ageing and our attitudes toward it.
In particular, she's adept at showing the full range of the English class system and its effects, both good and bad. Stella was born into a tradesman's family and "married up." In some ways her life has been one of privilege, but she was constantly hemmed in by gender expectations and her fear of exposing herself and her children to ridicule or scorn. In Jenny's working class family everything is open, but her life is narrow because she knows so little of the world outside her neighborhood and the opportunities there.
Jenny can still make a fulfilling life for herself, if she has the strength and determination to do so. Stella is dying and can take comfort in the two grown children whom she loves and who love her. But before she lets go, she needs to pass on a terrible secret that has over-shadowed her life for decades. Does anyone really ever "get away with murder?"
THE BRIMSTONE WEDDING starts off with Genevieve meeting Stella, a very prim and proepr (and blazingly intelligent) woman who has moved into the residential home for the elderly to live out her final months as she dies from lung cancer. Geneieve feels a connection with this woman who seems so different from her, a lowly-paid carer who has just started an affair with a TV producer from London. Stella proves to be far more similar to Geneieve than she could've ever thought.
The stories of two sets of lovers--Geneieve and her TV producer, and Stella ne her lover--intertwine and defray as Stella slowly recounts the tale of how she found the love of her life too late and who Gilda Brent was (and why there is no record of her death).
In this story of how far people are willing to go for love (and how far love can go), Vine incorporates stinging social critiques of class, manners, divorce laws, and gender. I can't help but feel as if Jane Austen would've been proud of her contemporary cousin in the mystery genre. Amidst the critique and mystery of Gilda Brent's death, we also have a startling exploration of what love really means.
Rendell/Vine continues to impress me with her lyrical, layered storytelling.
It took me a while to realize that the characters were in England. It was interesting to catch a glimpse into life that is similar, yet different to life in the USA.
I found the story to be very entertaining, and didn't have too much trouble with the switching from present to flashbacks of the past. The ending was really fairly surprising. I really didn't see it coming, which is nice change from many stories now.
The only thing I didn't like is the cover of the book - what a terrible picture! Has nothing to do with the story & almost made me pass on the book. Glad I took the chance. Great book.