The Secret Life of Violet Grant was a highly anticipated summer read for me, as last summer I listened to Beatriz Williams’ first novel, A Hundred Summers. Kathleen McInerney also returns as the audiobook narrator for The Secret Life so I ended up purchasing it in that format because I so enjoyed her narration in A Hundred Summers.
The Secret Life of Violet Grant also features many of the characters that appeared in A Hundred Summers, as Vivian’s (and Violet’s) family is related to Aunt Julie and Nick and Lily Greenwald.
And, while Violet Grant is Vivian’s aunt as well, the family does not nor has not spoken of her. The only reason Vivian has resurrected Violet’s name is owing to the mysterious piece of luggage that once belonged to Violet ending up in Vivian’s lap. After picking the large piece of luggage up from the post office, Vivian learns that Violet has a scandalous past owing to the stories that she murdered her husband and ran off with her lover just prior to the start of WWI.
While at the said post office to pick up what was first a mysterious package, Vivian meets the incredibly handsome Dr. Paul. He willingly helps Vivian lug the package back to her apartment, and both immediately fall head over heels in love with one another, on sight, and quite passionately. Vivian is fresh out of school and wanting to spread her wings in her job at The Metropolitan – the magazine owned by her best friend Margot’s (Go-Go) father. By investigating the story behind Violet and hoping to expose her secrets, Vivian is hoping this will land her the right to write a full-length feature article about it instead of just being a fact checker.
Of course, tied up in Vivian’s story is the great and passionate love affair with “Dr. Paul”. Oops though – Dr. Paul turns out to be the great love of Margot (Go-Go) and what is Vivian to do? Honour her friendship with Go-Go or go with her heart and Dr. Paul?
Flipping back and forth between Vivian and Violet, we slowly discover the secret life of Violet Grant, her strange and unhappy marriage to the much older Dr. Grant, the identity of her supposed lover and the reason why Dr. Grant winds up dead and for Violet’s disappearance. We also hear of the dilemma Vivian has with her heart and her conscious all the while she is researching Violet’s story.
What made this one shine was most definitely the narration by Kathleen McInerney – she shines like a bright star here, her narration was fantastic! Her voice for Vivian was complete perfection, as was the voice she gave Violet and certainly the one she gave to Go-Go (Margot), Vivian’s best friend. Truth be told, it was her narration that had me staying with this story to the end- The Secret Life of Violet Grant has a great deal of the throbbing, pulsating body parts and tingly, sweaty thighs and by mid-way I was ready for the (predictable) mystery to be solved.
Violet’s life was the better story line here. She is married to her decades older professor Walter Grant – the esteemed but descpicable man with an annoying penchant for calling Violet “child” and a very skeezy way of documenting his sexual dalliances with Violet and a countless number of other women. Her “lover” and what happens to her following the death of Walter Grant was more exciting to hear about over Vivian’s overwrought (sex) life.
The Secret Life of Violet Grant is filled with far too much tawdry filler, far too much of the quivering thighs opened in anticipation awaiting the throbbing members that made this one for a considerably long and drawn out tale. Reading about muscular thighs desperate in longing and desire to push through their finely creased cotton made it very difficult to not roll one’s eyes into the back of your head when there should have been focus the more serious situations. The cheap filler creates great impatience waiting for the final reveal of Violet’s “secret life” (which was fairly easy to determine).
While I greatly enjoyed Vivian’s conversational way of telling this story to the reader, it became tedious and the novelty wore off with the repetitive nature of her ins and back ons agains with “Dr. Paul”.
The overall story earned a 3 star, but it was the narration done by McInerney that raises it to the 4 star for the audiobook rating (per our rating system on the right). The enjoyment of the audiobook far surpasses any enjoyment I would have encountered had I read the hard copy. McInerney’s voice was absolutely wonderful. Had I read the hard copy I’m certain I would have been skimming liberally to reach the conclusion and find out the secret in Violet’s life and bypassing the constant over-described tawdry sexual encounters but I would have missed out on the excellent narration by McInerney.