Friday, September 14, 2018

Bloodlines:Cove Point Manor, by William B. Taylor (author), Bill Nevill (narrator)

William B. Taylor, March 2018

Alex Tinsdill takes a Y-chromosome DNA test, hoping to learn more about his paternal family prior to his great-grandparents. Not long after uploading his results, he's contacted by a New York City lawyer, telling him he is the long-sought heir to a fortune and a large estate on Long Island.

With little to hold him in Toronto, he figures it can't hurt to go to New York and check this out. Having learned the truth about his ancestry--his great-grandparents made creative use of the truth, though what they said certainly wasn't all lies--he goes to Long Island to see his new property. There he meets Maggie, the property manager who has maintained the property for years, having inherited the job from her father and grandfather.

The counterpoint to how good things are looking with his new property, new wealth, and new friend Maggie, are old family "friends," Brenda and her daughter, Connie. Brenda is the sister of an actual good friend of his now-deceased mother. That sister is also deceased, but Brenda and Connie still expect Alex to handle all their problems for them, including providing money when needed. When they figure out he's inherited a fortune in the US, they can't get from Toronto to Long Island fast enough.

I wanted to like this book. I really did. It has potential. Alex, Maggie, the New York lawyer Julia Wentworth, and others, are quite likable, interesting, and real.

Brenda and Connie, on the other hand, are stereotypes of the "poverty is  result of bad character" variety. You can't like them; they are actually bad people. Yet I kept wanting to say, no, wait, you can't be serious...

The plotting is perfectly decent, and the characters we're supposed to like are decently written. Even the cheap targets, Brenda and Connie, are written well-enough that you can't just say, the wrong people have been labeled the villains.

And yet.

None of these people speak normally. There never use contractions. None of them. Ever. No one says "I can't." They always say "I cannot." They say "I will," not "I'll." And that's just the simplest thing to point out. All through, the language is too correct, too clear, no normal contractions or elisions or sloppy, casual phrasing. What individuality the characters have in their speech is entirely due to the narrator, who infuses them with emotion and personality.

And yet.

The narrator is a benefit, but not an unmixed blessing. He speaks with such precision that he misses the chance to subtly lessen the effects of the writer's placing unnaturally correct speech in the mouths of his characters. He's so precise it's distracting.

Overall, not recommended.

I received a free copy of this audiobook from the narrator.