An isolated island off the coast of Maine.
Puppets. (Yes, puppets…)
A mysterious house looming over the sea…
He's a reclusive writer whose imagination creates chilling horror novels. She's a down-on-her-luck actress reduced to staging kids' puppet shows. He knows a dozen ways to kill his characters with his bare hands. She knows a dozen ways to kill an audience with laughs. But she's not laughing now.
Annie Hewitt has arrived on Peregrine Island in the middle of a snowstorm and at the end of her resources. She's broke, dispirited, but not quite ready to give up. Her red suitcases hold the puppets she uses to make her living: sensible Dilly, spunky Scamp, and Leo, the baddest of bad guys. Her puppets, the romantic novels she loves, and a little bit of courage are all she has left.
Annie couldn't be more ill prepared for what she finds when she reaches Moonraker Cottage or for the man who dwells in Harp House, the mysterious mansion that hovers above the cottage from a windblown cliff. When she was a teenager, he betrayed her in a way she can never forget or forgive. Now they're trapped together on a frozen island along with a lonely widow, a mute little girl, and townspeople who don't know how to mind their own business.
Is he the villain she remembers or has he changed? Her head says no. Her heart says yes.
It's going to be a long, hot winter.
©2014 Susan Elizabeth Phillips (P)2014 HarperCollinsPublishers
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"Not SEP's best work"
Find some way to down play the puppets. For the most part I really didn't like them. I understand the role they play, but I think they could have been written in without being such an integeral part of Annie's life that she constantly heard their voices in her head and she talked to them as if they were real? I found it annoying and it creeped me out a bit and made me question her sanity.
I enjoyed the flash backs to Annie's youth so that you understood the history, as she knew it, between her and Theo (her love interest). I also enjoyed slowly uncovering the truth about Theo and his life. The mystery of who was trying to get her to leave the island was interesting as well.
Yes. Very distinct voices. Would happily listen to another of her narrations.
Lack of puppets. Did I mention I really didn't like them?
This book is a little over 12 hrs long. If you can force yourself to get through the first 4 hrs or so, then it starts to change and gets better. I have to say that I really haven't enjoyed the last two books SEP has written. I found that I was forcing myself to continue on and finish them. If this trend continues I will drop her from my "must read" authors list.
As a rule Susan Elizabeth Phillips writes humorous stories. This one is somewhat of a mystery with not as much humor in it. Actually I found it took me awhile to really get into the story. But was very glad I stayed with it. There were twists and turns in who the real villain was going to end up being. Along with the little mute girl and the hand puppet's. Will I listen to this book again? You bet I will. Erin Bennett did a great job narrating as well. If you are looking for another laugh out loud story? Do not buy this one. If however you would like to read a good light mystery? This Book is the one to buy.
I stumbled across Susan Elizabeth Phillips' books when a good friend recommended her Chicago Stars serried to me. I proceeded to blaze through all her novels while I studied abroad in Europe without my family or boyfriend. They kept me in excellent company. This book has been livening up my commute to law school, and I don't know how anyone could fail to love Theo and Annie. Ms. Phillips' wry humor and pop culture references have me giggling on the ferry every day. The twist at the end was wonderful; I definitely didn't see it coming! My favorite part of all her books is the empowering nature of all her heroines. They take charge of their own lives, and become the strong women they were meant to be, while finding a man who lets them be exactly who they are and loving them all the more for their strength and quirks. I highly recommend this book, and all of Ms. Phillips' other stories.
Not the same
I love SEP books, but this one is not the same as her others. But I still liked the story, I have all of her books and I think they all are Great, so if this is your first book that you have tried and you didn't like it, Then you need to try another one, they are really good.
The creation of multiple puppet characters to represent the heroine's thoughts and emotions was distracting, slightly creepy, and weakened the overall story.
Injected humor and more likable protagonists. Never warmed up to the heroine or hero, and thus just didn't care what happened to either.
The performance was excellent. The narrator performed unique voices for multiple characters, and had great acting ability. However, the story was too weak to be retrieved by the performance.
"Great story, excellent performance"
Susan Elizabeth Phillips is one of my favorite authors. This is one her gems. Perhaps not as bright and shiny as some of her earlier books but a jewel nonetheless.
She fools use in the beginning into thinking Annie is a weak heroine, and then slowly peels away the layers of her character to show us how strong she really is. Theo is the ultimate heart-thong villain who is secretly a hero.
"One of my favorite authors has really let me down"
It's ok for what she had to work with.
The whole book is weak. I would not have published it. I feel they would not have had it not been an established author.
This is my one of my favorite authors. I have read and listened to her books many times and had her name not been on this book I would have thought someone else wrote it. I just could not wait for it to be over. I usually read and listen to this author for the great characters and their smart back and forth. Not this time. It's like she just pumped something out to hit a deadline. So disappointing.
"Finally Got Past the First Chapter"
I've started this book a couple of times. But I could never get past the first chapter, because I found the puppet usage very annoying. This surprised me because I am generally a fan of SEP. It wasn't until after I finished her most recent book, First Star I See Tonight, that I committed to finishing Heroes are My Weakness. And I finally did.
The book does get better. The puppet voices are used less frequently as the story progresses and by the last half of the book, they are primarily used appropriately, as puppets, not as the inner voice of the heroine.
Beyond the fact that this book stands totally alone, with no overlapping characters from other books, this is in many ways a departure from her other books. You can tell she fashioned it after the gothic romance genre that the heroine enjoys so much. And there is typically very little dark, scary or gothic about her books. There is still quite a bit of humor, but she tries to include suspense and foreboding. And she almost succeeds.
If you are new to SEP, I would not recommend this book as your first read. It isn't her at her best. If you are a long term fan though, I recommend reading this book, even if it is a departure from her normal niche that doesn't quite work.
If you love S.E.P. books you will love that one too. it was easy to listen to enjoyable but with the same timeline as always. Poor girl meets rich guy - they end up in bed together, disliking each other in the end and the guy always realizes almost too late that he loves the heroine too...
"Rocky start to a great book"
The first chapter left me questioning if I would finish - but it was definitely worth the wait.
"I like that voice"
Rather not, but only - as a non-native listener - I hardly would find anybody to understand the story at all...
I've read a few of SEP's books in English and German, so yes. As a diversion from my usual reading habits.
Don't know exactly. I like her voice and the slightly recognizable amercan accent.
I would never make a film out of this - sorry - thin story. This is a book for leisure-time and a stormy weekend. But no more.
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