Amy Snow by Tracy Rees
Unabridged, 15 hr. 48 min.
Simon & Schuster Audio
Melody Grove (Narrator)
June 7, 2016
Genre: Historical Fiction
Source: Received audio download from publisher for review
Left to perish on a bank of snow as a baby, Amy has never known love, never known family.
Reluctantly given shelter at nearby Hatville Court, she is despised by the masters and servants alike.
The beautiful Hatville heiress, Aurelia Vennaway, is Amy's only advocate - she becomes the light of Amy's life, and the centre of her existence.
So when Aurelia dies young, Amy's world collapses. But Aurelia leaves Amy with one last gift.
A bundle of letters with a coded key. A treasure hunt that only Amy can unlock.
A life-changing secret awaits... if only she can reach it.
Amy Snow and I have had a difficult relationship. I was excited about the description of the book when I requested it from the publisher. I mean, it describes it as a treasure hunt to reveal major secrets of Amy’s life that could only be told to her through letters from a recently deceased friend. A cool concept – and one that was done well, but more on that later. Then apparently I promptly forgot what the book was about and my excitement for it as it lingered on my playlist for a good 6 months before someone on my Facebook reminded me of my excitement for the book.
Picking it up, I struggled to get through it from the very beginning – it’s saving grace was the audio production which was better than the actual story. The first third of the book was SLOW and boring. Amy is telling us about her past and it just wasn’t pulling me into the story at all. It was all tell and no show. But I stuck with it and once we got on the actual trail of the letters to find out the mystery her deceased friend had left her, it indeed picked up – for a little while. I got into the quest and how was she going to figure out the coded messages. She meets people that were important to her friend and she begins to have a sense of her own life, not that of a servant downstairs. You could watch her grow and evolve.
But then, when the story progresses from the town of Twickenham to the town of Bath it ground to a halt. No more growth for the character, she became mired down in this love triangle that didn’t interest me at all. One guy is supposed to be the good guy and the other the trickster, but that didn’t come through as clearly as I would have liked. I ended up feeling sorry for the trickster character, which I don’t think was the angle she was going for. Amy has a crisis of conscience as to whether she should continue the quest or move on with her own life, which really felt like a child throwing a tantrum and just not appealing. To make matters worse, Amy spent so much less time in Bath than Twickenham, but it felt so much longer (I’m not sure if that was just because I was bored or if it was actually longer).
And that whole mystery – it’s no surprise that I wasn’t surprised about it because neither was the main character! She had guessed it about halfway through, so I found her reaction to the news so contrived.
However, my biggest gripe is with the epilogue. The entire story is told from Amy’s perspective, or through the voice of her friend Aurelia in the letter’s Amy reads, but still from Amy’s perspective. However, the epilogue, that was 16 minutes of recording long, was told from the perspective of an entirely new narrator! This felt way out of place even if I understand why that character was used to reveal what she knew. It certainly could have still been conveyed differently. As soon as the epilogue came from a new character and this had never happened before, I was turned off.
Were there good parts of this story? Yes. I felt that a good portion of her quest was well structured to keep you wanting to find out more with Amy and watch her grow. But there should have been a greater payout for that time. It got bogged down with some ancillary storylines that had no real purpose from my perspective. I wanted a lot more from this novel.
The audio production was fairly good in Amy Snow. At first, I didn’t really care for the sound of this narrator’s voice. I actually turned it off after a short listen the first go around. The second time it didn’t bother me as much, so maybe it was just a me-in-that-moment sort of thing. The production did help make the story more bearable for me as I might have put it down in print and not picked it back up. It was well paced reading. While there weren’t markedly different voices for each character you did get a different feel for each character so that you knew who you were listening to, which I appreciated.
Check out this short excerpt for a sample of the narration!
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