Changeling by Philippa Gregory, narrated by Charlie Cox
Published in audio by Simon and Schuster Audio, published in print by Simon Pulse, both imprints of Simon & Schuster
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Luca Vero has a curiosity that cannot be squashed by the strictures of the church and his religious order. Luckily for him, the intelligence that accompanies this curiosity has been recognized by another order, a secret sect within the church known as The Order of the Dragon. Luca is recruited by the order and sent out to investigate strange occurrences across Europe that may signal the end of the world.
For Isolde, the world as she knows it is indeed ending. Her father, who treated her as a virtual equal, instead of a piece of chattel like many medieval women, has died, and the life she knew is no longer. Now her brother tells her that she must either marry, or join the local abbey as the Lady Abbess. When strange things begin happening at Isolde’s abbey, she and Luca are set at odds, even as there is a growing attraction between them, despite their vows.
Thoughts on the story:
This is Philippa Gregory’s first foray into YA literature, and it was quite successful. I’m finding that much YA historical fiction is, even more so than other YA fiction, based almost solely on marketing decisions. There is not much about Changeling that has a particularly young adult feeling. Yes, the characters are in their late teens, but as they’re not really dealing with parents and high school, it doesn’t seem to matter much, they could just have easily been in their early to mid-twenties.This is not to say that teens would not enjoy Changeling, indeed it is a great crossover novel, but there is no reason for adults to shy away from this because of the YA label.
As for the story itself, it was highly engaging and absolutely kept my interest the entire time. Although it did fall victim to a bit of Gregory’s propensity to repeat herself, those sections weren’t too egregious and they did not significantly diminish interest in the plot or the characters. I was always interested in seeing what would come next, and am excited to know that this is the first in the series, although Changeling is sufficiently self-contained that you could read it without reading the sequels, although I suspect if you read Changeling you will want to continue with the series.
Thoughts on the audio production:
Charlie Cox did a great job narrating Changeling. He kept the story moving and got out of the way of the characters, conveying the story without being a focus himself.
I really enjoyed Changeling and would not hesitate to recommend it. This is Philippa Gregory at her most engaging.
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