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  • Muted Veil

  • A Psychological Suspense Thriller With a Series of Ingenious Twists
  • By: Elizabeth Hamilton-Smyth
  • Narrated by: Claire Vousden
  • Length: 9 hrs and 58 mins
  • 4.3 out of 5 stars (4 ratings)

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Muted Veil

By: Elizabeth Hamilton-Smyth
Narrated by: Claire Vousden
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Summary

When Frances concocts an elaborate plan to escape today's world of surveillance, her hopes are soon crushed by long-buried secrets, entwining her life with others forever. Having fled to a remote village in the south-west of France, she employs Julien, a mute builder, to renovate her house. Communicating by notes written on pages torn from a jotter, they form a strange, silent bond, but when a newcomer moves into the neighboring property, followed by furtive men inspecting her land in the dead of each night, Frances' concerns for her privacy spiral. While fighting to defend her covert existence, fear soon turns towards murder, and Frances finds she uncovers a series of gruesome, historic events....

©2019 Elizabeth Hamilton-Smyth (P)2020 Elizabeth Hamilton-Smyth

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Another great audiobook from a talented author

Having listened to Elizabeth Hamilton-Smyth's previous book Sour Blood, I was eagerly awaiting her next. Muted Veil did not disappoint. This beautifully crafted story, which is at times dark and poignant, keeps you gripped throughout. Even though both books are narrated by different people, the author's distinct voice shines through on both. Highly recommend.

1 person found this helpful

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Gripping and unputdownable

This book is something of a slow burner. Nothing much happens in the first half dozen chapters or so, but stick with it, it's worth the wait! It's a thriller/mystery story set largely in France. When a 50-something lady decides to get away from the rat-race and overwhelming surveillance in England, she decides to buy an old run down house in the South of France. Then things get interesting. A gripping story with plenty of twists and turns. The only slight criticism I had was that the narration was a little too fast. Sentences and paragraphs ran into each other without a break, so the use of pauses would have improved it considerably.

1 person found this helpful

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Very boring

Unfortunately this book left me cold by the story line and by the narrator. It became very predictable and characters were unbelievable.
I wish I hadn’t used one of my credits on it.

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  • Jeff & Sabrena
  • 23-10-20

Character-driven suspense

This suspense story is told from the perspective of three main characters in three main parts, so the audiobook would have been an excellent candidate for utilizing two or three narrators, one female and one or two male narrators. However, Claire Vousden delivers an excellent performance all on her own.

The story is set in France, but there's enough description that intimate knowledge of the area isn't necessary.

I found it pretty easy to guess the overall mystery early in the story, but how the characters got to the end makes for an engaging tale.

Note: I was given this free review copy audiobook at my request and have voluntarily left this review.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Gilbert M. Stack
  • 21-10-20

Fascinating Heroine

Hamilton Smyth takes what might have been a routine mystery story and turns it into an extremely tense adventure by creating a heroine with an unusual personality disorder. Frances is obsessed with her personal privacy—so much so that she takes medication to help her control the anxiety her disorder causes her. Unfortunately for her, the modern world is not kind to people who don’t want others knowing what they are doing. Google and its corporate pals spy on everything. The government keeps humongous volumes of information on all of us. Cameras mark our cars’ comings and goings in the streets. And that’s only the tip of the iceberg when you start thinking about shopping, banking, and everything else we do.

Frances decides to leave England and resettle in a small town in southern France to escape everyone’s prying eyes and live quietly with her four cats. She plans her escape in meticulous detail and carefully settles into her new property where she hires (for cash) a handyman to fix up the house and put a fence around her land. Then things go crazy. A new boisterous neighbor buys the house next door and immediately starts intruding on her property. He claims the fence is on his land and his building plans would steal from Frances her sense of safety from prying eyes. She reluctantly engages a lawyer to fight his plans and he physically threatens her.

Now this is the part of the tale where a normal person would go to the police and lodge a complaint—but Frances can’t do that. Police keep records and her disorder doesn’t permit her to get help in the normal fashion, so she has to figure out what is going on and find a solution to her problem on her own.

All of that (Part I of the novel) is great! It’s fast moving, engaging, and suspenseful. I was particularly pleased that I solved the mystery on my own (I don’t always do that) and was shocked by the eventual solution to the problem. Unfortunately, Hamilton-Smyth then spends the next two-thirds of the novel giving details on how the problem that caused the land dispute occurred. I thought all of this was implicit in what Frances discovered in her investigation. I would have much preferred the author to show how Frances—with her peculiar disability—handled the aftermath to the solution to her problem with her neighbor. I see no way for her to keep the authorities from becoming involved and the stress this would have caused her would both further stoke the reader’s sympathy and create a different kind of drama. Perhaps Hamilton-Smyth will show us that in a later book.

That being said, the basic mystery is a very good one and the decision to go with a heroine suffering from Frances’ disability was ingenious. This one is well worth reading.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Deedra
  • 20-06-22

Muted Veil

This was a very good book.The novel incompases generations of murder and hate in one French town.The story is amazing but has some continuation issues.Claire Vousden was a wonderful narrator.I was given this free review copy audiobook at my request and have voluntarily left this review.

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  • CuteAsADaisy
  • 26-12-20

Thriller fail, good narration

Content Warnings-Rated R level
Language: moderate but no F bombs
Violence: murder, suicide ideation, rape, suicide, incest, drug use/paraphernalia
Sexual content: sex scene, rape

Frances has some serious paranoia that seems to be unfounded but provoked through a series of events. The story itself is painfully slow with random moments of interest... like crumbs that you hope will turn into a real meal sooner rather than later. Despite background being supplied in alternate accounts, this story continues hobbling along as it has been from the beginning and I suggest you skip this book if others paranoia gives you a sense of anxiety.

Narrator: soothing, good French pronunciations; could have benefited from separate narrators for the different accounts.

—I was given this free review copy audiobook at my request and have voluntarily left this review.

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  • Anne Secher
  • 22-12-20

A great psychological thriller with shocking twist

*I was given this free review copy audiobook at my request and have voluntarily left this review.*

Until I reached part 2, I kept thinking I'd give this thriller 3 stars, but I was wrong and I'm glad it happened.

In the first part, you think this is more of a cosy mystery; one that was to be solved by Frances, the MC presented to you in that section. Frances moves from England to France, where she means to hide from the world and makes some friends she, at some point, doubt are such. She starts investigating and finds herself in trouble.

She reminded me to Eleanor Oliphant and the narrator was quite flat in her voice.

However, the author has several surprises and twists that take you into a world in which nothing is at it seems. A horrible father and a few affected people who end up being unjustly accused of crimes the did not commit, a couple out of their mind forever.

I absolutely loved the twists and how she reveals their background stories.

The narrator did not help the story. I think she should have given a different voice to each character and given more emotion to each one of them. This is why the book did not get a higher rating from me.

I'd recommend reading it.

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  • Shawna
  • 27-11-20

Great Story

I was given this free review copy audiobook at my request and have voluntarily left this review. This book was an extremely tense adventure because of the main character- a heroine with a personality disorder. Frances is obsessed with her personal privacy—so much so that she takes medication to help her control the anxiety her disorder causes her. Everyone knows how much technology listens to you - alexa, siri, even Facebook all "spy" on you. The government keeps information on all of us. Everything we do is digitalized nowadays and trackable. Frances decides to settle in a small town in southern France to escape everyone’s prying eyes and live quietly with her four cats. She plans her escape in amazing detail and carefully settles into her new property. The new neighbor throws all of her plans into the air when he arrives and she needs to settle things on her own because - HELLO!- she can't go to the police as they record everything. This book was definitely worth reading.

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  • Erika
  • 10-11-20

Good story

It wasn't quite what I expected but was good nonetheless. Frances I thought was quite paranoid, anything beyond normal. She wanted to get away, hide herself from the world. She finds a house in the country and thinks she can escape being "watched". When the new neighbors move in that changes.
I thought the story had a slow beginning. It builds and the information is important for how the story unfolds. It intrigued me enough to continue listening. I even looked up Frances disease mentioned in the story to see if the side effects to medicine were paranoia and researched the symptoms thinking maybe that was it. I didn't really find any answers there but as the plot builds more pieces fall into place.
There's a lot readers don't know about her from the beginning and its a good mystery that really picks up in the second half of the book. It's well written and the characters are easy to identify with even those I didn't like so much. I would recommend the story to anyone who enjoys a mystery.

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  • D. Sturgeon
  • 28-10-20

Awesome story!

Fantastic writing and narration come together to make this dramatic tale of murder, mystery and intrigue an extremely enjoyable listening experience. My only complaint is that the phrase "seconds turn into minutes" was used a bit too often.