Double-Showcase | Book & Audiobook Review of “The Woman in the Camphor Trunk” (Anna Blanc series, No. 2) by Jennifer Kincheloe

Posted Wednesday, 10 January, 2018 by jorielov , , , , , 0 Comments

Book Review badge created by Jorie in Canva using photography (Creative Commons Zero).

Acquired Book By: I am a reviewer for Prometheus Books and their imprints starting in [2016] as I contacted them through their Edelweiss catalogues and Twitter. I appreciated the diversity of titles across genre and literary explorations – especially focusing on Historical Fiction, Mystery, Science Fiction and Scientific Topics in Non-Fiction.

I received a complimentary copy of “The Woman in the Camphor Trunk” direct from the publisher Seventh Street Books (an imprint of Prometheus Books) in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

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On why I can’t wait to read more about Anna Blanc:

The Secret Life of Anna Blanc by Jennifer KincheloeThe Woman in the Camphor Trunk by Jennifer Kincheloe

Series Overview: Young socialite turned police matron Anna Blanc bucks society’s mores to solve crime in early 1900s Los Angeles.

The main reason I find myself so very attached to the world in which Anna Blanc lives is because of how she is beautifully brought to life by Ms Kincheloe. She has a way of fusing Anna into our hearts whilst winning us over with her quirkily humourous prose which not only dictates a keen awareness of Anna but of the times in which she is alive. It’s a curious door into the historical past as these were my parting words after having read the first novel of the series:

Sophisticated in her ascertainment of conception behind Anna Blanc, Kincheloe has writ such a lively character, you drink in her words with such a joy of delight! She has a fast paced narrative, where the humour is smitten by the sophisticated edging of her character’s personality, matched equally brilliantly by the grace of a Cosy Historical Mystery backdrop! She’s captured the turn of the century atmosphere aptly, as she tucks in recognisable familiarities to alight in your imagination as you turn the pages; replete with gaslights and other bits which correlate with the era.

I loved the way in which Kincheloe turnt a phrase, using words not oft found in historical fiction as her novel is a good primer of words that are wicked to say aloud and used in descriptive narratives such as this one! The phrases themselves are a delight for readers who love words as much as wordsmiths, which Kincheloe definitely excels at including whilst giving Anna Blanc a crafty choice of words to express her emotional duress! She also found a clever way to include Anna’s religious background by having her talk to the Saints when a mood or a moment fitted the hour; it was quite an interesting way to thread faith inside a mainstream novel and I liked the author’s candor.

The best attribute Anna Blanc has within her is a self-motivating resolve to become self-educated as it was such a joy to watch her expand her mind in a fervent attempt to understand the underpinnings of motives and causes of the crimes that were leeching through her city at such a fast rate of alarm. She did not just want to sleuth for the sake of detection but to fully understand the methodology behind the crimes and I think this is a nod to the writer’s (Kincheloe) curiosity being piqued by true crime stories straight out of the historical archives from whence she draws her inspirations. Kincheloe also under-writ a stunning historical survey of early Forensic techniques which inspired Anna with her investigating – especially in regards to understanding the differences between murder and suicide. This became quite pivotal in the story as Anna Blanc made her transition from socialite to female detective.

The beauty of The Secret Life of Anna Blanc are the little bits of plot your not expecting to find encircle through the evolving story – there were little clues fluttering through it’s context, but the joy was not completely sorting it all out until the very last chapter – wherein, your heart swoons with glee and you champion the success Anna Blanc had in closing her second case! This is a bit of a guilty pleasure for historical fiction readers – Kincheloe has tempted us with her wicked sweet prose where a heroine peppers the scenes with her feisty personality and a penchant for seeking out the truth from a sea of lies!

-quoted from my review of The Secret Life of Anna Blanc

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Double-Showcase | Book & Audiobook Review of “The Woman in the Camphor Trunk” (Anna Blanc series, No. 2) by Jennifer KincheloeThe Woman in the Camphor Trunk
Subtitle: An Anna Blanc Mystery
by Jennifer Kincheloe
Source: Direct from Publisher

In early-1900s Los Angeles—an era of courting, ragtime, suffragettes, and widespread corruption—a socialite turned police matron tracks down the murderer of a white woman in Chinatown, while trying to prevent the outbreak of a bloody tong war.

Los Angeles, 1908. In Chinatown, the most dangerous beat in Los Angeles, police matron Anna Blanc and her former sweetheart, Detective Joe Singer, discover the body of a white missionary woman, stuffed in a trunk in the apartment of her Chinese lover. If news about the murder gets out, there will be a violent backlash against the Chinese. Joe and Anna work to solve the crime quietly and keep the death a secret, reluctantly helped by the good-looking Mr. Jones, a prominent local leader.

Meanwhile, the kidnapping of two slave girls fuels existing tensions, leaving Chinatown poised on the verge of a bloody tong war. Joe orders Anna to stay away, but Anna is determined to solve the crime before news of the murder is leaked and Chinatown explodes.

Places to find the book:

Borrow from a Public Library

Add to LibraryThing

ISBN: 9781633883635

Also by this author: The Secret Life of Anna Blanc, The Secret Life of Anna Blanc [audiobook]

Series: Anna Blanc

Also in this series: The Secret Life of Anna Blanc, The Secret Life of Anna Blanc [audiobook], The Body in Griffith Park, The Body in Griffith Park

on 14th November, 2017

Pages: 304

Published By: Seventh Street Books (@SeventhStBooks)

Available Formats: Trade Paperback, Ebook and Audiobook

About Jennifer Kincheloe

Jennifer Kincheloe Photo Credit: Fola Akinyemi

Jennifer has been a block layer, a nurse's aid, a fragrance model, and on the research faculty at UCLA, where she spent 11 years conducting studies to inform health policy. A native of Southern California, she now lives in Denver, Colorado with her husband and two teenagers. She's currently writing book three in the Anna Blanc Mystery series. Book two, THE WOMAN IN THE CAMPHOR TRUNK, is coming out in Fall of 2017 from Seventh Street Books.

Photo Credit: Fola Akinyemi
Biography updated: March 2017
Links updated: August 2019


Converse via: #AnnaBlanc + #HistoricalMystery or #HistMyst

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on why I read the novel & then listened to the audiobook:

As previously disclosed on my review of Betrayal at Iga (another beautiful series by Seventh Street Books) – my health has been dearly affected this past year. I had initially planned to read this novel between November and December; however, with my migraines and the virus I later succumbed to the days after Christmas leading into New Year; I had to postpone my readings. Realising the hours were blinking off the clock faster than I could recover from the virus itself – I decided the best way to talk about this installment was to first read the book and then, listen to the audiobook immediately afterwards.

This way, I could intuit the differences and similarities – of how Ms Quirk brought this installment to life but also, to see how hearing Anna brought back to life through this story would impress me so soon after having read the novel. I still remember having a distance between my reading of The Secret History of Anna Blanc and listening to the audiobook – however, due to Ms Quirk’s instinctive understanding of how Anna is portrayed and is meant to be brought alive – the distance between book and audiobook never felt very ‘distant’ at all! In fact, it was as if my readings of the book had been brought back to the forefront of my memory – of having felt as if I was re-living reading the story the way in which it was meant to be interpreted!

Therefore, instead of two separate posts, I’ve separated this showcase into two distinct sections – the first, are my very first impressions of the story as it was being read – whilst the second half refers directly to my impressions as I’m listening to the audiobook shortly after pausing for a slight moment after reading to collect my thoughts. Anna Blanc is a character you immediately recognise and whole-heartedly rally behind on first meeting – having the chance to re-visit her and pick up where I left off with her adventures is truly blissitude.

my review of the woman in the camphor trunk:

On the onset, the curious ways in which Anna Blanc gets herself into mayhem and trouble tickles the senses with both her curiosity to ferret out a new crime she intends to solve herself and the manners in which she attempts to curate the evidence of said crime! The first few pages are as much of a hoot as the original installment of the series with one minor difference: this time it involves the untimely death of a man she knows not the identity (though she momentarily felt she knew) and the only bits she has of him to grow a case is, er, well, his head!

In any other situation this might be entirely too gruesome to read about but in the deft hands of Ms Kincheloe – your smirking before you remember how displeasing of a situation Anna has become entangled inside! I mean, the gall of Anna really, is what makes her such a fascinating character to read about – she takes the initiative at the jump-start, nay, never-mind the future consequences and sets her mind straight towards her ‘end-game’ which is solving a murder she feels personally motivated to lend her sleuthing mind.

Murder aside – what fascinated me even more happened to be the current conditions of Anna’s living arrangements! I had a feeling her father would not yield on his disdainment of having his gentle-bred daughter running in tangent with police detectives and interacting with who knows whom whilst she sleuthed; he simply didn’t have the capacity for compassion or forgiveness in that particular regard (or any, I suppose would be true, too). To observe how she haphazardly outfitted her tiny flat to endeavour to hold all of her worldly goods was quite comical if it weren’t so ingenious! She had a system for organisation which only made since to Anna, but in doing so, you get a proper descriptive look into how she lives! The folly of it all is despite everything else, Anna Blanc is a woman who loves fashion, loves the high life and refuses to compromise a part of herself despite the change in her circumstances. She has gumption like no one else and I love her for it!

The plot thickens immediately when she finds Joe; dear, darling (near saintly) Joe who would have protected her and been her true blue confidante in life had Anna not asserted her rather feminist view of marriage over his earnest affections! You can understand where Anna is coming from – she needed to assure her independence in life, though the price her independence was costing her was becoming a bill she was almost not willing to pay. The hard bit is she learnt she cannot have her cake and eat it; like many women before her, Joe was not going to play the fool nor was he going to be the stand-by boyfriend whilst she carried on with her own affairs as a police matron a la detective. Joe wanted more, and we, as readers want more for Joe; he deserves a stable marriage, for all the wear and tear his job puts him through: a little stability would go a long way!

What was most surprising is Joe isn’t the only one who is partial to Anna; in regards to who will step forward and bend their own ear towards helping her when she’s in a pickle of a murky pool without hope of bailing herself out clean! This time round, it turnt out Det. Wolf – the least person you’d expect would be sweet on Anna and have blind faith in her, actually came to her aide without his arm being bent! There is a curious scene between Wolf, Joe and Anna down in the stables but what was more surprising of all – is how Anna, feeling no one was in her ballpark, is learning how sometimes your friends and foes are not as easily defined. Plus, I agreed with Joe; she was still too green, too wet behind the ears and dearly didn’t fully understand all the grief of woe she could kick into a swirl worse than a hornet’s nest by butting her nose into cases she has no business sleuthing just because she has an inclination to pursue them!

One thing which is endearing about Anna is how she is a defender of the minorities and of anyone who has it harder in life than she does. She wants everyone to be treated equally and fairly; to have equal opportunities and to have options in their lives. In many ways, she is voicing what the Women’s Rights movement has been stressing all along intermixed with the Civil Rights movement where equality is truly for every man, woman and child irregardless of their origin, background, religion, gender identity, sexuality or ethnicity. Anna Blanc simply wants everyone to see everyone in a frame of light where their differences are not outshining their hearts nor is a person’s self-worth questioned due to their outward differences. In essence, she was a one-woman crusader in a city where a singular voice struggled to be heard.

The closer Anna tried to cosy up to Joe about the idea of her tackling this particular case with him the angrier he became realising Anna did not place her own personal safety high on her list of things she needs in her life. I smiled when Mr Jones (a liaison between Chinatown and the LA PD) entrusted Anna with information he hadn’t yet shared with Joe; he was the one who had called in Joe (and the LA PD) but he was still cautious about what he divulged to him. With Anna, he had some leverage he could broker with and he used it well. Anna for her part, was simply thankful to be in the ‘game’ as sleuthing to her was sport and it was something which came instinctively to her despite the fact her colleagues were usually far behind the mark of where she already knew the facts.

Leaving Anna in charge of matron duties is like leaving a child to decide how much candy they ought to have during the day! Anna can’t help herself – she loves living on the edge of danger but she also lacks the know-how to deal with rudimentary issues alongside the larger acts of criminal acts which she is not entirely employed to handle herself! Laughs with mirth. No, leave it to Anna to find a crafty way round to dealing with a lost toddler and a teenager caught drinking! The whole sequence will leave you in smiles for how clever Anna was and how willing the teen was to comply to Anna’s wishes!

What was more exasperating is how Anna felt when she learnt a singular truth from Joe; something she never deemed could be true, until she heard it straight from Joe. It was the kind of thing which could crush a girl’s heart and take the illusion out of the softer shades of the world – the places which weren’t rank and riled with crime. Anna believed Joe lived by a higher standard but when she finds out he is as fallible as any other bloke; one who listens to his orders, bides his Captains’ and does the will of the duties assigned him, she faltered to find her balance. Her world was upturnt and it was not the kind of feeling any girl wishes to feel in her heart when she realises the one person she entrusted with her heart, was the very same person who could crush all hope of feeling loved by them. As this spoke more to how she saw the world – knowing of its injustices, Anna still believed in the rights of the oppressed and of those who were victimised by circumstances outside of their control. It was in-part what made her a great detective – losing this, her belief in Joe for being a man she thought he was but turnt out he wasn’t was too great a shock. For Anna and all of us, really. Part of me couldn’t quite believe it was all true,…

Anna Blanc also gives new meaning to spiteful retorts – especially if you consider what she conspired to tell Miss Robins on Joe’s behalf after the girl made an innocent enquiry on his behalf! If only you could have heard my laughter – I’m not sure if the girl fell faint off her chair or if she saw the humour in the irony, but the moment was not lost on me! Anna spoke her mind if only to reclaim a piece of her heart she felt she had lost.

The labyrinth of clues Anna uncovers only hints to more questions – of why the victim in the trunk was living two distinctive lives and why there was an unsettling power struggle overtaking Chinatown. Each time Anna grew a yard in knowledge of what was happening ‘behind’ the crimes she was trying to sleuth out, the closer she was coming to finding out what happens to people who butt into affairs their never meant to know about in the first place! The sweetest part of the unravelling is how tender the exchanges were between her & Mr Jones as she grew in empathy to understand how another girl such as her could fall in love with someone of a different culture.

The feisty exchanges between Anna & Joe fuell their relationship – if these two aren’t bantering or finding reasons to argue they simply aren’t getting along! They love to hash it out – to find a maddening way of connecting whilst owning to the fact, they both were good at their jobs. Anna might be ahead of her years, being a woman who had the mind to sleuth but Joe was an apt partner, despite his grievances to the contrary. They simply didn’t always trust each other – with information or with clues, nor with their hearts, but all the same, they found their own rhythm. It would be hard to think of Anna and Joe too far apart, as they feel more like magnets who are especially charged to draw closer to each other.

Your heart is tugged and pulled throughout this novel, as you find yourself grieving one moment and feel anguished the next. There are innocent lives lost, there is a love story at the center of it all and the hardest part are the characters you feel are tortured in spirit due to the situations surrounding the main crime of all – how and why, the woman was found in the camphor trunk! Each step of the way, your hoping Anna will stay one step ahead of those who pursue her – despite finding a few wild animals are not quite her equal match for wits (there are a few gruesome moments in the woods, if you use your imagination you’ll know what to expect – blessedly it wasn’t too grisly described as Ms Kincheloe pulls back her pen before it crossed a line for me) but wherever she found herself in this caper she found strength in the Saints and in her solemn belief she could make a difference in the lives of those who no longer have a voice to defend themselves.

On why I love reading the anna blanc Mysteries:

I oft wonder how many hats Anna Blanc will lose throughout our time in her company, as she classically lost another one – this time, in pursuit of freedom from a detective she was not inclined to share information or time. It’s how Ms Kincheloe describes Anna and her world which entice you forward into the narrative – of how she uses words to not just ground you in Anna’s shoes but the quirkiness of the situations she finds herself placed! It’s how it’s all lushly described, humourously bent and of course, wickedly sophisticated in its delivery!

I positively savour the words and paragraphs – of seeing this part of California recreated through Ms Kincheloe’s eyes – as she dictates what we see, what we sense and how we feel interconnected through Anna’s shoes to this lifeblood of early 20th century living in the throes of high crime, dire danger and an endless sea of crimes which all seem to percolate before landing at Anna’s feet.

There were a lot of critical passages about Chinese traditions, culture and the goings-on of Chinatown in the early Nineteen Hundreds. Including the questionable establishments which were of highest profit and the business of how everything was just slightly more shady than it appeared in first light. Lots of smoke and mirrors – of how store-fronts which claimed to be one kind of place were really fronting for another entirely. It was a place on the fringes of falling into itself – of how the chaos of the city was enfolding back against the tides of crime to where it was no longer functioning at all. All of these pieces were examined or pulled into the light of where the novel resides – you see a grittier Chinatown, where the underworld is alive and in control; much to the credit of how the author researched this era.

A note about Equality in Lit:

I read the ‘extras’ in novels first – the Author’s Notes, the Dedications and in this case, the Research Notations – what was fascinating to me is how headline news is what quite literally inspired this novel! There really was a case of ‘a woman in a camphor trunk’ inasmuch as there were disappearances of girls – all of this hinged towards placing the climax in Chinatown as the year and era in history were fraught with issues in this one locale inside Los Angeles. It was a time of great grievance and of great violence – the lens in which Ms Kincheloe in-tunes out of the newspapers gives us a portal of a glimpse into what caused the boiling point on tensions within this closed community. Closed here refers to how Chinatown was nearly completely independent of LA; they had everything they needed within the confines of Chinatown itself, whilst they truly lived separate from everyone else as well.

One tradition, even I had struggled with studying Eastern History was the practice of binding feet; the presence of this tradition made sense within the thread of the story-line but part of me still questioned why it was done at all. Especially due to the pain involved and the lifetime of health afflictions for the women. I always felt it was one of the sombering truths brought to light about a tradition which would not make as much sense in the West.

It was clearly evident to me, Ms Kincheloe wanted to honour the Chinese in the story with authentic truths whilst getting the descriptive narrative accurate at the same time. To respect History and the customs of a different country all the while attempting to carve a story out of headline news where unsolved cases left enquiry open to the imagination!

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Audiobook Review Badge made by Jorie in Canva.

Acquired Audiobook By: I received a complimentary audiobook copy of “The Woman in the Camphor Trunk” via Audiobookworm Promotions who is working directly with the author Jennifer Kencheloe in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein nor for recommending her to use Audiobookworm Promotions for publicity for this title or series in 2016 when “The Secret Life of Anna Blanc” had an audiobook blog tour via Audiobookworm Promotions.

NOTE: As previously mentioned, I both read and listened to this audiobook in tandem; thereby, I am offering my thoughts directly on behalf of what moved me whilst listening to the audiobook as it cross-applies to my thoughts spoken on behalf of the print edition or are independent of them.

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Ms Quirk puts such determined grit into her voice when she’s tackling Anna’s spontaneously adventurous spirit – she illuminated the opening sequence so intrinsically true to how I had envisioned it myself – it nearly felt like I was listening to theatre on the radio!

One thing which comes out in this installment is the internal conflict Anna oft wrestles with herself in regards to her own conception of her identity as a woman and the concept she had of how she wished to remain a modern independent woman who would not be demure, cow to a man or find herself controlled by anyone other than her own mind. She was conflicted about men because of her father – of how she felt this weight of repression was slowly encircling round her each time she allowed herself to feel close to a man. This would reflect in how she interacts with Joe – of what impedes their relationship and why she has trouble expressing her truer feelings.

Her resourcefulness is still aptly on display – she has a keen mind and as Ms Quirk points out in what has become a classically ‘Anna’ voice – she highlights how she likes to direct herself in studies and lessons which will aide her crime solving skills. She has a wonderful memory for the information she reads, allowing her to use bits of information per each time she finds herself in need of a source of inspiration for a pickle she’s caught herself inside – such as how to forestall a corpse from decomposing (hint: use limes!).

One clever display of her resourcefulness is how she calculates currents, tides and the circulation of the waters merging into the sea. This became a key factor in not just sorting out the origin of the head she found and kept in the pail but she needed this information to bail herself out lateron. It shows how she’s a self-starter and a quick-study; she picks things up faster than most who are either younger or older than her at the station. This is one reason her colleagues weren’t entirely sure how they felt about having her round – she was both a welcome presence (for the detectives who respected her) and an unwelcome nuisance (to those who found women detectives was not a way forward). I loved listening to how Ms Quirk caught all of this spoken and unspoken tension – as she read the passages involving the station house.

As I was reading the novel, I had hoped I could have seen the banterment better between Anna, Joe and Wolf – through listening to the audiobook, I was able to realise this, as Ms Quirk brought each of the characters to life as they were meant to be heard. Wolf is the one who surprised me the most at each turn; as I don’t remember him being so agreeable or as smitten by Anna as he is this time round – almost as if her accomplishments solving her first case were what altered his opinion of her now. He was so in-tune with her, nothing she was going through was missed by him and for some odd reason, he felt it necessary to be her hero! He oft would do things which made me think if Joe wasn’t in the picture, Wolf would attempt to court Anna!

Joe has a worried voice tempered with his experiences as a detective; Anna on the other hand has a joyfulness in her voice – the two of them have a bit of a different approach to their jobs. Joe would rather protect Anna completely and shield her from the worst of what the city can show her whereas Anna would rather run by his side, as a true partner and not one saddled with his needless worrying. You can hear his concern through how he was voiced – of the desperation he was feeling trying to convince Anna of something she would not allow herself to yield in consideration nor accept.

When we move into Chinatown, my excitement grew – as I was most anticipating how Ms Quirk would handle all the scenes and exchanges here – especially due to the variances in the voices! I was not disappointed and in many ways, she added to the enjoyment of listening to this story, as she added more realism to having all the different characters – from the secondary cast to the lead characters who interact using their own personal voices. A lot of the voices in this area of the novel were how I initially envisioned them but hearing them so soon after I read their dialogue exchanges felt like an unexpected treat – as it confirmed how I had interpreted the novel.

Re-listening to all the words spoken by Ms Quirk allowed me to soak back into this story I had just read – re-seeing how it all came to life and finding myself completely in awe how well what I imagined was being brought to life by Ms Quirk! I quickly realised how I could become lost in her voice – allowing the story to be re-visited and cherished, because her voice gave depth to the words and enlarged the breadth of what Ms Kincheloe had written. So much so, I simply allowed my mind to wander into the realms of the audiobook and stopped taking notes – it was a story which had caught my heart and had left me satisfied in how in the end, Anna Blanc was blissfully caught unawares by who surprised her in the final scene!

Happily for those who are listening to the audiobook, you will enjoy the ‘extras’ about how the novel was written as Ms Quirk narrated those inclusions, too!

Double-Showcase | Book & Audiobook Review of “The Woman in the Camphor Trunk” (Anna Blanc series, No. 2) by Jennifer KincheloeThe Woman in the Camphor Trunk [audiobook]
Subtitle: An Anna Blanc Mystery
by Jennifer Kincheloe
Source: Audiobook via Audiobookworm Promotions
Narrator: Moira Quirk

Places to find the book:

Find on Book Browse


Also by this author: The Secret Life of Anna Blanc, The Secret Life of Anna Blanc [audiobook]

Series: Anna Blanc

Also in this series: The Secret Life of Anna Blanc, The Secret Life of Anna Blanc [audiobook], The Body in Griffith Park, The Body in Griffith Park

Published by Jennifer R. Kincheloe Ltd

on 6th December, 2017

Format: Audiobook | Digital

Length: 10 hours and 50 minutes (unabridged)

About Moira Quirk

Moira Quirk

Moira grew up in teeny-tiny Rutland, England’s smallest county, which is fitting as she never managed to make it past five feet herself. Moira’s work spans the pantheon of the voiceover world: plays for BBC radio, plays for NPR, video games, commercials, television promos, podcasts, cartoons, movies and award winning audiobooks. She's won Multiple Audie Awards, Earphone Awards, as well as Audible's prestigious Book-of-the-Year Award. She has lately set foot in front of the camera again, appearing in “Pretty: the Series” and the Emmy-winning “Dirty Work.”

I am appreciative of Ms Jess providing a cursory outline of how best to articulate my listening hours on behalf of this audiobook and the others I shall be blogging about or reviewing in future. I’ve modified the suggestions to what I felt were pertinent to respond too on my own behalf as well as keeping to the questions I felt were relevant to share.

Number of Times I’ve heard the Narrator(s):

This is my second audiobook narrated by Moira Quirk, I truly hope she can narrate the entire series because she quite literally IS Anna Blanc!

Regards to the Narrator’s Individual Character performances: three examples:

Anna: Just to hear Ms Quirk give the proper overview of Anna’s flat is priceless; especially as she has to rattle off all the possessions in the flat itself! lol She captured the scene as I had viewed in my mind – how upset Anna was about a man she afeared dead whilst miserable in her current straits yet calmed a bit she still had her belongings; if only for now.

Joe: You simply have to hear Ms Quirk sing the little ditties Joe likes to serenade Anna with or rather, he sometimes seems to sing without realising he is saying anything aloud at all. The music is simply a part of him and it comes out quite naturally.

Wolf: His voice has a deeper presence than Joe; he has a patience about him I don’t remember as he seems to be smitten by Anna this time round. He’s quick to defend her and he’s unamused by the trouble she might cause him. All of this plays into Ms Quirk’s performance – you get a better impression of him in this story. I nearly died hearing Ms Quirk say ‘honeybun‘ in the exact voice I heard Wolf say this endearing name for Anna in my head!

Secondary Characters:

Mr Tilly: You can’t feel anything but spite for this journalist – he’s a quick-talker, a smooth operator and a true opportunist – all of whom is expertly brought to life. He makes you squirm just to listen to him because you can’t fully trust anything he says nor understand what motivates him. He’s hard-nosed and only cares about getting his article published to tell the truth as he sees it but not necessarily as the facts reveal.

Laundress of Most Lucky Laundry: Her voice was distinctive and she sounded as I felt she might – a cunning voice to match her cleverly hidden awareness. She didn’t give out a lot of information but when she spoke, you could tell she knew more than what she was letting on. She was one of my favourite secondary characters because of how important she became to the story.

Mr Jones: I wasn’t sure what to expect from this character as I wasn’t sure how to best ‘hear’ his voice in my head. As I heard how Ms Quirk felt he should sound, the final piece of his character fell into place for me.

How the Novel sounded to me as it was being Read: (theatrical or narrative)

I felt this moves between being theatrical and narrative; as Ms Quirk gets lost in her characters, she allows herself to take over their sensibilities and draws out their personality quirks as she portrays them. Thereby, at any given moment you’ll hear more theatrical bits in the audiobook rather than spoken narrative; and of course, vice versa. It’s a pleasurable listening experience because you can tell the narrator loves her lead character and is having fun bringing her to life.

Regards to Articulation & Performance of different sections of the novel:

The first time she interacts with the Most Lucky Laundry laundress: Mostly as I was curious to see how she would handle the differences in the dialects and the sound variances between Anna and the Chinese lady who literally did not want to give Anna a reason to trust she knew anything at all. It is a short exchange but it was executed so well, you want to go back and re-listen to it. You also get excited to hear her again lateron in the story!

It’s hard to break-down specific scenes when you love how a book is being narrated. I mentioned this first scene as it showed the first instance of when the Chinese characters were interacting with Anna; later, they would interact with Anna and Joe. Hearing the cultural heritage shine through the voice Ms Quirk attached to them was splendid but also, it gave credence to how this was a multicultural story. Those were some of my favourite scenes – how Ms Quirk moved in and out of the different voices and brought more of the layers of the novel to life.

Notes on the Quality of Sound & the Background Ambiance:

I love the sound quality of these novels; each of them has such clear sound quality – they are a joy to listen to due to how articulate Ms Quirk is in her characterisations but also, in how she delivers the narrative scope as well. I can’t speak higher on her portrayals.

Preference after listening to re-Listen or pick up the book in Print?

I truly do want to read and listen to the novels of this series – where I listen to Ms Quirk narrate the stories whilst I’m listening to the audiobook in my headphones. One of these days, I shall realise this dream of mine. Perhaps, ahead of the third novel!? Here’s hoping!!

In closing, would I seek out another Moira Quirk audiobook?

Most definitely! And, I do hope she has the blessing of continuing to read Anna Blanc’s adventures as I cannot imagine now another voice who could capture the beauty of who Anna Blanc is other than Ms Quirk! It was such a smashing fit! – as declared last year and the truth of this statement remains!

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This book review is courtesy of:

Seventh Street Books

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This audiobook review is courtesy of:

The Woman in the Camphor Trunk audiobook book tour via Audiobookworm PromotionsFun Stuff for Your Blog via

I look forward to reading your thoughts & commentary!

Especially if you read the book or were thinking you might be inclined to read it. I appreciate hearing different points of view especially amongst bloggers who gravitate towards the same stories to read. Bookish conversations are always welcome!

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2018 Historical Fiction Reading Challenge badge created by Jorie in Canva.

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{SOURCES: Cover art of “The Woman in the Camphor Trunk”, book synopsis of “The Woman in the Camphor Trunk” and series synopsis were provided by the publisher Seventh Street Press (via Prometheus Books) and used with permission. Cover art of the audiobook for “The Woman in the Camphor Trunk”, author biography & photograph as well as the audiobook blog tour banner were provided by Audiobookworm Promotions and are used with permission. Post dividers and My Thoughts badge by Fun Stuff for Your Blog via Pure Imagination. Tweets were embedded due to codes provided by Twitter. Blog graphics created by Jorie via Canva: Audiobook Review banner, 2018 Historical Reading Challenge banner and the Comment Box Banner.}

Copyright © Jorie Loves A Story, 2018.

I’m a social reader | I love sharing my reading life

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About jorielov

I am self-educated through local libraries and alternative education opportunities. I am a writer by trade and I cured a ten-year writer’s block by the discovery of Nanowrimo in November 2008. The event changed my life by re-establishing my muse and solidifying my path. Five years later whilst exploring the bookish blogosphere I decided to become a book blogger. I am a champion of wordsmiths who evoke a visceral experience in narrative. I write comprehensive book showcases electing to get into the heart of my reading observations. I dance through genres seeking literary enlightenment and enchantment. Starting in Autumn 2013 I became a blog book tour hostess featuring books and authors. I joined The Classics Club in January 2014 to seek out appreciators of the timeless works of literature whose breadth of scope and voice resonate with us all.

"I write my heart out and own my writing after it has spilt out of the pen." - self quote (Jorie of Jorie Loves A Story)

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Posted Wednesday, 10 January, 2018 by jorielov in #JorieLovesIndies, 20th Century, Audiobook, Audiobookworm Promotions, Bits & Bobbles of Jorie, Blog Tour Host, Civil Rights, Compassion & Acceptance of Differences, Cosy Historical Mystery, Cosy Horror, Crime Fiction, Equality In Literature, Grief & Anguish of Guilt, Historical Fiction, Historical Mystery, Historical Romance, Historical Thriller Suspense, History, Indie Author, Multi-cultural Characters and/or Honest Representations of Ethnicity, Prometheus Books, Realistic Fiction, Religious Orders, Self-Published Author, Taboo Relationships & Romance, the Nineteen Hundreds

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