A Most Extraordinary Pursuit
By: Juliana Gray
Narrator: Nicola Barber
Penguin Random House Audio/Penguin Audio
Genre: Fiction – Historical – Romance
Release Date: October 04, 2016
11 Hours and 10 Minutes
Audiobook provided by publisher for review. No remuneration was exchanged and all opinions presented herein are my own except as noted.
Known for her original plots, deft characterization, and lyrical voice, Juliana Gray presents an extraordinary novel of an uncommon pursuit…
February, 1906. As the personal secretary of the recently departed Duke of Olympia—and a woman of scrupulous character—Miss Emmeline Rose Truelove never expected her duties to involve steaming through the Mediterranean on a private yacht, under the prodigal eye of one Lord Silverton, the most charmingly corrupt bachelor in London. But here they are, improperly bound on a quest to find the duke’s enigmatic heir, current whereabouts unknown.
An expert on anachronisms, Maximilian Haywood was last seen at an archaeological dig on the island of Crete. And from the moment Truelove and Silverton disembark, they are met with incidents of a suspicious nature: a ransacked flat, a murdered government employee, an assassination attempt. As they travel from port to port on Max’s trail, piecing together the strange events of the days before his disappearance, Truelove will discover the folly of her misconceptions—about the whims of the heart, the motives of men, and the nature of time itself… http://www.penguinrandomhouseaudio.com/book/317032/a-most-extraordinary-pursuit/
This story offers a unique slant on time travel, the Edwardian period, and Greek Mythology. In terms of time travel the only other series I can recall involving on Greek Mythos is Jodi Taylor’s The Chronicles of Saint Mary’s. But where Taylor takes a lot of time to offer a rationale, if not a theoretical explanation for traipsing from one era to another, Gray is a little scant on facts, rationale, and explanation. We don;t even have a reason for the bad guys to be in the story. The question is whether just having an idea for the story is enough to offer it to the public; I think if it were just one paranormal mystery variable then it might work, but here we have several and none are truly explained. The paranormal activity ranges from what would seem to be ghosts (but would be seen as mental illness) to time traveling mythological creatures.
I enjoyed the youthful exuberance of the narration, which, when combined with the stuffy Victorian-raised Emmeline is the thing that makes her character believable.
If there is some sort of Anime based in this era I think it is likely that this would make an excellent piece in that genre. Or, it could be an art film from the 1970s: choppy, in black and white with subtitles even though it is written in English.
I thought it was fun and energetic, but needed more depth and substance to hold the pieces together. As a work under a different name by the author Beatriz Williams, it felt entirely different from her more modern, but still historical work.
Since I read some very erotic literature, this story feels clean with only a slight frisson of romance, but there is a darker past referenced.
I would definitely like to see the story offer more depth, and though this is the second entry in a series of some sort, it feels like a prequel. I might read the first piece in the series, THE DUKE OF OLYMPIA MEETS HIS MATCH (AMAZON PAGE), a novella. And, I might read another book in the series too, but I would want to see more world-building; something more than the scant information offered about the how and why of the paranormal activity.
Juliana Gray is the pen name of New York Times bestselling author Beatriz Williams. She lives near the Connecticut shore with her long-suffering husband, two scheming cats, a beagle of dubious origins, and four largely unsupervised children. http://www.julianagray.com/meet-juliana
AUTHOR AS BEATRIZ WILLIAMS: http://beatrizwilliams.com/