Hey, Carol what do you think? It was hard getting down here, I know. My backside is so-o-o sore! These mules aren’t the easiest way to reach the bottom of the canyon, but just look at the view! A – MA-A_A_A – ZING!!
Anyone coming to the states to see its vastness and beauty needs to make a trip here, don’t you think?. And since we’ve recently had a nice visit at the Pettigrew Tea Room in Wales, I thought you’d like a change of pace, that is roughing it, as many Americans like to do for vacations. I wonder if it has anything to do with our frontier days and conquering the west? Perhaps our DNA drives us to do it. Hmmmm.
Lucky, we’re in front of these guys. At least our mules won’t slip on something, ah, newly made and take us over the side!
Carol: WOW, Eileen! You certainly know how to choose a heart-stopping adventure! It’s certainly a far cry from the gentility of the Pettigrew Tea Room but what spectacular views…just breathtaking. It’s worth suffering a sore backside to see such amazing scenery. I was apprehensive about riding a mule on such a narrow path but I’ve heard they are sure-footed and well-used to this type of terrain. So I’m putting on a brave face.
Eileen: Hey look! Another mule train. You see, not everyone takes a helicopter tour.
As a side note, did you know The Grand Canyon has some of the cleanest air in the U.S.? So breathe in deeply, my friend.
It is no easy feat descending into the canyon, as well we know! It’s elevation top to bottom is 2400 meters (8,000 feet). That’s from the Colorado River in the basin of the canyon to the North Rim.
And as I’m spouting fascinating data, there are 38 mammal species who make the canyon their home. Of those, eight of them are various kinds of bats and 18 are rodents.
Carol: Breathes in deeply. I didn’t realise just how deep the canyon is or the how much wildlife is to be found here. I hope we catch sight of some of the mammals as we descend.
Some time later…
Just look at the helicopter! It is flying really low, lower than we are. Ugh! Are we planning to go all the way down?
Eileen: It won’t be long, I hope. The sun will be setting in a couple of hours. The colors of the setting sun are exquisite against the rocks.
Carol: I have seen photographs of the sunsets but actually seeing it firsthand will be an unforgettable experience.
Eileen: We’ll be at the basin of the canyon very soon. I thought we could have a nice relaxing dinner at The Phantom Ranch Canteen, discussing Deadly Engagement. Will you be up to it? I’m glad we’re staying overnight. Oh, my poor bum!
This beauty certainly takes my breath away!
Carol: I’ll be relieved to get off this mule and a relaxing dinner before discussing Deadly Engagement sounds just perfect.
Eileen: Here check out the cabin, will you? Thrusts her cell phone above her head so Carol can see. Lots of people actually camp out under the stars, but I’d prefer that adventure in a book!
Carol: I’m more interested in some food first! I’m starving!
Eileen: Me, too. We’ll eat at the canteen. Here’s another picture. Can you see it? Not much of a choice, but I hear the fare is tasty. (stomachs start to rumble)
Carol: Some good, wholesome, tasty food is exactly what I need and afterwards we can stroll back to the cabin, have some coffee, and settle down to discuss Lucinda Brant’s book.
Later after several mugs of hot coffee…
Carol: Deadly Engagement was a real departure for me because it is essentially a historical mystery with romantic elements rather than a historical romance. Having read/listened to several books in Lucinda Brant’s Roxton series, which I absolutely loved, it didn’t take much for my friends to persuade me that I should read this series. What were your initial thoughts, Eileen?
Eileen: Initially? I, once again, marveled at the suave, polished and refine voice Alex Wyndham uses to narrate. The use of his voice in its various nuances clues the listener into the internal conflicts of each of the characters. He propels the mysterious and suspenseful storyline forward with such vigor, a listener cannot stop listening.
Alec has quite a mix of emotions rolling inside himself. He thinks he loves Emily. He thinks he’s gotten over Selina. He thinks he can handle the duplicity of his elder brother, Edward. He thinks he can unravel who killed his friend Jack, for he is sure he was set up. He is confused, mystified and ultimately scared to death! I totally get into a mystery, Carol. It must come from all the Nancy Drew books I read as a young girl!
Carol: I totally agree with you about Alex Wyndham’s brilliant narration. I felt as if I was listening to a radio play performed by several actors instead of just one person and he gives each character a distinctive and easily identifiable voice. He seems to live and breathe every character and perfectly captures the personalities of each one. Listening to his superb performance definitely enhanced my enjoyment of the book.
Alec is a wonderful hero – handsome, intelligent and honourable. He had an unconventional upbringing with his rabble-rousing Uncle Plantagenet and, therefore has a very different outlook on life to his peers. What I really like about him is that he is his own man. He likes his life as it is and has no desire to be the Earl of Delvin. Whatever he achieves it is on his own merit.
I enjoyed the romantic elements simmering in the background and poor Alec certainly goes through the emotional wringer. I was happy to see him rekindling his feelings for Selina but was somewhat disappointed that matters between them remained unresolved. I’m hopeful of a happy ending later in the series.
Eileen: I’ve got to say it, pure and simple. I so disliked Edward Delvin. He is quite the devil, although dressed in proper attire as Earl. The man is extremely astute—additionally, he’s a conniving creep! Talk about a man who will do anything to gain more prestige and status. Ugh! I particularly didn’t like his little trick of using people against each other and going out of his way to take as much happiness from Alec as possible. He plays Lady Charlotte, getting her to do part of his dirty work. Frankly, her idea of appearing so terribly proper is offensive. Carol, do I make myself clear??!!
I’ve got to know what you think of Simon Tremarton and Lady Gervais. What about Plantagenet Halsey? This man was a balm to my nerves! He supported women and truth.
Carol: We both agree about Edward Delvin. I thoroughly detested that self-serving man. I hated how he called Alec “second” in that sneering way and how he manipulated the scene in Selina’s bedroom knowing just what Alec would believe (I loved Selina’s method of revenge!). Oh yes, Lady Charlotte. A real viper with an acid tongue!
I think Alec’s friend Sir Cosmo described Simon Tremarton perfectly – an opportunistic weasel and the polite word for the voluptuous Lady Gervais is promiscuous. What about that scene where Lady Gervais and her husband argue and then have anger-fueled sex?
Eileen: Nodding with complete agreement.
Carol: I love Plantagenet Halsey…such an outrageous character who is not afraid to voice exactly what he thinks. He obviously cares very much for his nephew and do I detect a potential romance between the old curmudgeon and The Duchess of Romney St. Neots?
Eileen Yes, Plantagenet had simply a hard outer surface, but sweet and sincere to his core. I’m eager to see if The Duchess will find the honey within the lemon!
There were lots of characters in this story. Usually, I have difficulty keeping them apart, but the author did a fabulous job giving them each their own distinctive personality. In doing so, it also gives more depth to the mystery. More characters, more possibilities of who is culpable.
Was there any one point you told yourself, you had figured out what was going on? On my part, I kept hitting surprise after surprise in the many twists this story takes. Just when I think I have a pulse on the mystery another layer of intrigue is exposed.
Carol: I agree, despite there being a large number of characters, they were all so well-drawn, each with distinctive traits. They all added depth to the story and, as you say, provided a wide choice of potential suspects. I thought the mystery was so well-plotted and the twists and turns certainly kept me guessing as to the identity of the culprit and the motive. I also like how Ms Brant explored the darker side of Georgian society within the context of the story.
Eileen: I enjoyed the part of Tam, the young self-appointed valet to Alec. For a young man, he has seen much cruelty of the world, yet has a compassion to help the weak. He experiences the wickedness of those who connive and realizes noblemen who do wrong, very often go unpunished.
Sir Cosmo, a very good friend of Alec, is a very earnest and sincere young man. A most likeable character. He’s speaks what we are all think. I love when he speaks of the physique of a male. “Who wouldn’t prefer a stallion to an ass!”,
Carol: I thought Tam was an interesting character with his apothecary skills. He’s honest and it infuriated me to see him suspected of a murder he didn’t commit simply because of who he is. Unfortunately, that’s how most of society treated their servants. So I enjoyed the scene where the reform-minded Plantagenet Halsey lambastes Lord Gervais who objects to seeing Tam drinking coffee in the same room. When we discover the identity of Tam’s father, it was quite a shock.
I very much liked the rather corpulent Sir Cosmo. As you say, he is a man who speaks plainly and provides some delightful humour with the things he says. At the same time, he is a good and decent man and a true friend to Alec even when it means telling Alec some hard truths where Selina is concerned.
Eileen: So all in all, we both agree. This story was superb. I’m ready to listen to book 2 of the series. I can’t possibly leave the threads hanging nor leave what Ms. Brant has in store for the characters. She really knows how to gather her listeners and engage them.
It was a pleasure to have you come all this way to the U.S., Carol, mule and all, to discuss this book. (Carol stretches, winces and yawns.) What? Do you think it’s time to hit the sack? After all, we need to take the trail down in a couple of days. While here, let’s enjoy nature and each other’s company. What say you, friend?
Carol: Yes, I think I’m ready to hit the sack but this has been such a spectacular place to discuss this excellently written, superbly narrated story and I’m eagerly looking forward to listening to the other books in this series. I agree, Ms Brant certainly knows how to keep you coming back for more!
A good friend and awe-inspiring scenery…the perfect combination. Her eyelids start drooping.
Eileen: Goodnight, Carol. I shall always remember this time we’ve shared. This book shall be forever tied to this experience in my mind. Flips the lights and crawls into bed. Within minutes both are softly snoring with lingering contented smiles.
Title: Deadly Engagement A Georgian Historical Mystery (Alec Halsey Mystery), book 1
Author: Lucinda Brant
Genre: Historical Romance
Story Setting: London, 1763
Published by: Sprigleaf; 2 edition
Published Date: March 2, 2015
Narrated by: Alex Wyndam
Length: 9 hours, and 53 minutes
Release Date: January 5, 2015
Published by: Sprigleaf Pty Ltd
It’s 1763. Career diplomat Alec Halsey returns to London and the shocking news his estranged elder brother, the Earl of Delvin, has not only killed his friend in a duel but become engaged to the woman he had hoped to marry.
When Alec reluctantly attends a weekend house party to celebrate his brother’s engagement, he gets more than he bargained for when a lady’s maid is murdered, the bride-to-be is attacked, and a guest is shot dead. Alec uncovers a connection between these sinister acts and his brother’s duel. He must also confront a cruel twist of fate that explains why his brother loathes him and will go to any lengths to discredit him in Polite Society.
©2011 Lucinda Brant (P)2014 Lucinda Brant
About the Author: LUCINDA BRANT is a New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of award-winning Georgian historical romances and mysteries. Her novels have been described as from ‘the Golden Age of romance with a modern voice’ and ‘heart wrenching drama with a happily ever after’.
Lucinda has degrees in History and Political Science from the Australian National University and a post-graduate diploma in Education from Bond University, where she was the recipient of the Vice Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Education. Before becoming a full-time writer, Lucinda taught History and Geography at an exclusive boarding school for young ladies. She drinks too much coffee and is addicted to Pinterest. Come join her there in her 18th Century world: http://www.pinterest.com/lucindabrant/
About the Narrator, Alex Wyndham: Alex Wyndham is an English actor best known for his roles in HBO’s ‘Rome’ (2007) and the BBC’s ‘Little Dorrit’ (2008) and ‘The Line of Beauty’ (2006).
He has a degree in History from Oxford University and went on to study at RADA, graduating in 2005.
His first job as a professional actor was playing Silvius in Kenneth Branagh’s ‘As You Like It’ (2006) while in his final year at drama school.
– IMDb Mini Biography By: The Artists Partnership
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