Author: Jennifer Kincheloe
Narrator: Moira Quirk
Length: 12h 44m
Publisher: Jennifer R. Kincheloe, Ltd⎮2016
Genre: Historical Mystery/Thriller
Release date: Nov. 14, 2016
It’s 1907 Los Angeles. Mischievous socialite Anna Blanc is the kind of young woman who devours purloined crime novels, but must disguise them behind covers of more domestically-appropriate reading. She could match wits with Sherlock Holmes, but in her world women are not allowed to hunt criminals. Determined to break free of the era’s rigid social roles, Anna buys off the chaperone assigned by her domineering father and, using an alias, takes a job as a police matron with the Los Angeles Police Department. There she discovers a string of brothel murders, which the cops are unwilling to investigate. Seizing her one chance to solve a crime, she takes on the investigation herself. If the police find out, she’ll get fired; if her father finds out, he’ll disown her; and if her fiancé finds out, he’ll cancel the wedding. Midway into her investigation, the police chief’s son, Joe Singer, learns her true identity, and shortly thereafter she learns about blackmail. Anna must choose – either hunt the villain and risk losing her father, fiancé, and wealth, or abandon her dream and leave the killer on the loose.
Jennifer has been a block layer, a nurse’s aid, a fragrance model, and on the research faculty at UCLA, where she spent 11 years conducting studies to inform health policy. A native of Southern California, she now lives in Denver, Colorado with her husband and two teenagers. She’s currently writing book three in the Anna Blanc Mystery series. Book two, THE WOMAN IN THE CAMPHOR TRUNK, is coming out in Fall of 2017 from Seventh Street Books.
Moira grew up in teeny-tiny Rutland, England’s smallest county, which is fitting as she never managed to make it past five feet herself. Moira’s work spans the pantheon of the voiceover world: plays for BBC radio, plays for NPR, video games, commercials, television promos, podcasts, cartoons, movies and award winning audiobooks. She’s won Multiple Audie Awards, Earphone Awards, as well as Audible’s prestigious Book-of-the-Year Award. She has lately set foot in front of the camera again, appearing in “Pretty: the Series” and the Emmy-winning “Dirty Work.”
The Secret Life of Anna Blanc has some very visual language and descriptions. And I’d be first in line to see the movie. Here’s my idea of a dream cast!
Anna is always comparing Joe to the Arrow Shirt man. I thought we could all use a visual for that as well!
Anna Blanc has gumption. Moxie. She’s a socialite moonlighting at a police department. Trying to solve a string of murders. Surrounded by men who find women to be useless. At least as police detective.
It was a cock shame being a woman. Being right and having the facts meant nothing if one wore frocks. Even if they were very nice frock, which her matron’s uniform was not.
I had some issues with Anna at the beginning of the novel. She is rather naive and silly about the world. But she’s been protected her whole life. She is really looking for some adventure in her life. She shows some real growth throughout the novel. Maturing and figuring out what it is that she wants. Or really, who. And she isn’t afraid to speak her mind. Which is a great trait in any character!
I found the novel as a whole completely delightful. And hilarious.
Anna kneed him in his secret man parts. Not hard. But that was the nice thing about secret man parts. They were man’s Achilles heal.
I’m hoping that the novel was intended to be funny. Sometimes my sense of humor is a bit off the wall. It’s the sarcasm that gets me every time.
Anna Blanc, the novel and the character, was also more sexually suggestive than I was expecting. Including Anna cutting out a rather suggestive advertisement which she brandishes in front of her father. There were quite a few scenes that had me blushing. And wondering how sexually liberated women were in the 1900’s.
I wholly enjoyed the narration of Anna Blanc. Ms. Quirk did a great job with the different characters. I could easily distinguish each one. She even sings as one of the characters!
After finishing The Secret Life of Anna Blanc, I’m ready for to be a part of her next adventure!
Overall : 4 Stars
Story: 4 Stars
Narration: 4 Stars
I received this audiobook as part of my participation in a blog tour with Audiobookworm Promotions. The tour is being sponsored by Jennifer Kincheloe. The gift of this audiobook did not affect my review of it.
We also have an interview today with narrator Moira Quirk!
Q: You’re an English actor, yet you voiced THE SECRET LIFE OF ANNA BLANC using a variety of American and European accents. You did it so convincingly. How did you learn to do that?
A: I am very relieved to hear I was convincing! I didn’t ever really learn accents, it was just always something I did like some people can draw, or run fast. My drawings are laughable. My running is more laughable.
Q: What got you started as a narrator? Is it a dream job or something you stumbled into?
A: It wasn’t so much a stumble as serendipity. A director I work with for BBC radio plays and readings recommended me to an audiobook producer, and I went from there. I’ve worked extensively in theatre. I’ve worked extensively in voice over. I’m an avid reader with a degree in English and Drama. It’s kind of the perfect job.
Q: Do you read the whole book before recording or do your read it in sections?
A: It would be so delightful if I could just turn up and read the book for the first time in the recording studio. But it just can’t work that way. You have to cast all the characters beforehand. You have to do the usual homework for making them real and truthful, but also making them aurally distinct and vocally sustainable. You need to know the character arcs and you need to be familiar with the author’s style and tone.
Q: Are male characters more difficult for you to voice than female characters and are certain accents more comfortable/difficult for you?
A: Well, male characters are different in that I feel I really can be any number of female characters, but I can only convey the idea of a male character. Does that make sense? So the important thing is to make them truthful and authentic. I don’t go all basso profundo because I think that’s weird.
Q: If you make a mistake while reading, how do you handle it? How does it affect the recording process?
A: Aw, you said “if.” When I make a mistake I use punch record. The recording goes back about three seconds and then you pick up where you left off. It makes the editing process easier. I always record at a studio with at least an engineer, it really is what I prefer. I’m an efficient reader, I don’t make too many mistakes. But you really do have to be prepared. I can’t believe that constantly having to do pick-ups won’t adversely affect your read, and it’s certainly not the best use of expensive studio and editing time.
Q: What other books have you narrated? And do you still read for pleasure?
A: I seem to have done a fair amount of steampunk lately, including Gail Carriger’s lighthearted series. I just did my first non-fiction book all about infinity which made my brain melt a little and I just finished a lovely YA Fantasy series called The Thickety. My narration is listed under my name at audible.com. I have pretty eclectic taste in my own reading. Currently I am working my way through Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s work in chronological order. After that I plan to read Our Mutual Friend, and in between I’ll probably pick up a Rolling Stone magazine or two and peruse what my daughters are reading. Reading them Winnie the Pooh and the Harry Potter series (before they insisted on reading them on their own) were some lovely non-professional reading times.
Mar. 1: Chapter Break (Review, Spotlight, Dream Cast, & Interview)
Mar. 2: Candid Ceillie (Review & Author Interview)
Mar. 4: Lilly’s Book World (Review)
Mar. 5: The Desert Bibliophile (Review & Spotlight)
Mar. 9: Babs Book Bistro (Review & Spotlight)
Mar. 12: History From A Woman’s Perspective (Review)
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