On Handling Narrator Changes Within a Series
Sometime within the last year, it seemed that everyone began talking about Maisie Dobbs, a private investigator created by Jacqueline Winspear. There are many books and series that have a great deal of hype swirling around, but when some of my favorite book bloggers and publicists joined the fray, I couldn’t stay away, especially when I found out about the audiobooks.
There is an issue with books in a series that is peculiar to audiobooks: changing narrators. There is no guarantee that the narrator you begin a series with will continue on throughout. Although I knew that the series had several narrators going in, this was something I didn’t think would have much of an impact on my reading. I’ve discovered that I should never underestimate the power of change.
The first in the series, Maisie Dobbs, was narrated by Rita Barrington. I fell in love with her work immediately. In addition to the time and place, both Maisie and Billie Beal came to life through her skilled performance. I immediately downloaded the second novel in the series, Birds of a Feather. It is narrated by Kim Hicks. I started the book within a short period of time after Maisie Dobbs and I found that Kim Hicks just wasn’t Rita Barrington. Ms. Hicks’ Maisie and Billie felt off kilter to me and I sadly set it aside.
Months later, after finding myself in between audiobooks with my next listen at home, I picked it back up. I wasn’t expecting much, but I didn’t like the idea of losing all of that reading time. Much to my joy, my Maisie Dobbs ear memory had faded. Kim Hicks was no longer “not Rita Barrington.” I was able to enjoy the listen on its own merits. True, the story picked up shortly after I started listening again, but I was no longer focused on what had changed. I couldn’t recall what that was any longer, so I was free to focus on the story. Don’t you love that feeling?
As with the first novel, I ended Birds of a Feather enchanted by Maisie Dobbs and her world. Kim Hicks is an excellent narrator. My experiences with her and Rita Barrington have taught me a valuable audiobook geek lesson. This time, no matter how curious I am to see what happens next for Maisie, I’m going to give it some time before I pick up Pardonable Lies. I want to fully enjoy Maisie and the latest narrator, Orlagh Cassidy. Patience is a virtue, after all.
Maybe I should pick up an audiobook about developing patience while I wait…