Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Audiobook Review: The Secret Life of Anna Blanc by Jennifer Kincheloe

Publisher: Jennifer R. Kincheloe, Ltd⎮2016
Author: Jennifer Kincheloe
Narrator: Moira Quirk

Length: 12h 44m
Release date: Nov. 14, 2016

Genre: Historical Mystery/Thriller


It's 1907 Los Angeles. Mischievous socialite Anna Blanc is the kind of young woman who devours purloined crime novels, but must disguise them behind covers of more domestically-appropriate reading. She could match wits with Sherlock Holmes, but in her world women are not allowed to hunt criminals. Determined to break free of the era's rigid social roles, Anna buys off the chaperone assigned by her domineering father and, using an alias, takes a job as a police matron with the Los Angeles Police Department. There she discovers a string of brothel murders, which the cops are unwilling to investigate. Seizing her one chance to solve a crime, she takes on the investigation herself. If the police find out, she'll get fired; if her father finds out, he'll disown her; and if her fiancé finds out, he'll cancel the wedding. Midway into her investigation, the police chief's son, Joe Singer, learns her true identity, and shortly thereafter she learns about blackmail. Anna must choose - either hunt the villain and risk losing her father, fiancé, and wealth, or abandon her dream and leave the killer on the loose.

What Did I Think About the Story?

Reading the synopsis of The Secret Life of Anna Blanc, I was instantly drawn to it as it has so many components that I love in historical fiction: a look into the customs and culture of the time period in which it takes place; a resourceful, intelligent female battling against the set stereotypes of the time; some sort of drama/action/adventure to keep me interested.  I've also been hearing great buzz about this audiobook version and was delighted at the prospect of finding another delicious audiobook to make my commute less frustrating and boring then it typically is. I'm happy to say that I did enjoy listening to Anna's story unfold very much, even if I did have some issues with the main heroine herself.

Speaking of Anna Blanc (or Anna Holmes or Ami Amour depending on whether she was using one of her aliases or not), I'm sorry to say that I wasn't a huge fan of her as a character. She was quite selfish, impulsive, and arrogant and this all served to undermined her natural talents at detective work and obvious intelligence. She seemed to act without any regard for how her actions would effect other people and even destroyed the property of other people without seeming to care. She also came off as somewhat flighty at times, which made for a really odd dichotomy between her obvious abilities and her ditzy persona. She seemed shocked when people didn't take her seriously, but then did things over and over again that would  make anyone not take her seriously! I'm not sure if I missed something by this being a listening experience over reading the actual book but I just had the hardest time wrapping my head around Anna Blanc.

Now, that being said, I loved almost all of the other characters! Joe Singer was an amazingly charming character and the brothel girls were hilarious. Actually, there was quite a bit of humor amongst most of the characters and I found the banter to be very entertaining. The actual search for the killer of the brothel girls was interesting as well and I can honestly say that I had no idea who the killer was and was surprised when he revealed himself.

Even with the delightful secondary characters, my absolute favorite aspect of this audiobook would have to be the narrator, Moira Quirk. She was amazing! Her ability to change her voice and make every single character distinct was unlike any other narrator I've listened to before. She was easily able to express the humor and danger and romance wherever it needed to be and made me excited to keep turning it on to listen to a little bit more whenever I could.

Anna Blanc herself aside, The Secret Life of Anna Blanc was very entertaining.  While I didn't connect with this particular heroine I can see how others might really enjoy her contradictory nature and, regardless, her adventures searching for a killer definitely keep your attention.

What Did I Think About the Cover

I found the audiobook cover that I've included above quite plain, but the book cover has a fashionably dressed woman hiding her face behind a large hat and I find that cover to be much more fitting for the story.

My Rating: 3.5/5.0

Thank you to Audiobookworm Promotions for a free audiobook copy of The Secret Life of Anna Blanc in exchange for an honest review! All opinions are my own. Please see below for more information about the author, narrator, and the rest of the blog tour.

About the Author

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.

About the Narrator

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.”

Buy the Book

The Secret Life of Anna Blanc Tour Schedule

Mar. 1: Chapter Break (Review, Spotlight, Dream Cast, & Narrator Interview)

Mar. 2: Candid Ceillie (Review & Author Interview)

Mar. 3: The Bookworm Central (Review)

             Rolo Polo Book Blog (Spotlight & Music Playlist)

Mar. 4: Lilly's Book World (Review)

Mar. 5: The Desert Bibliophile (Review & Spotlight)

Mar. 6: A Bookaholic Swede (Review)

             terriluvsbooks (Review & Dream Cast)

Mar. 7: Working Mommy Journal (Review)

Mar. 8: The Maiden's Court (Review)

             The Bookworm Lodge (Spotlight)

             A Literary Vacation (Review)

Mar. 9: Babs Book Bistro (Review & Spotlight)

Mar. 10: Dab of Darkness (Review)

               Desert Rose Reviews (Review, Music Playlist, & Dream Cast)

Mar. 11: Literature Approved (Review)

              Spunky 'n Sassy (Review & Spotlight)

Mar. 12: History From A Woman's Perspective (Review)

Mar. 13: Jorie Loves A Story (Review)

               Bound4Escape (Review)


  1. Thank you for the review. Listening to more audio books lately. Might pass on this one.

    1. Thanks, Carol! Other reviewers are absolutely loving it, so it might be that I just didn't connect with it as much as others do. The narrator was spectacular, so it might be worth a try!

  2. Oh how I loved Joe Singer!! He was a complex guy and I loved his interactions with Anna. I didn't have an issue with Anna's personality; I found it more of a sheltered girl who wants to live the life of the novels she reads (romance and mystery) but doesn't really know how to do a lot of it because of her upbringing and place in society.

    1. I loved Joe Singer too! And a lot of reviewers agree with you about Anna it seems...I think she just didn't work for me. But so glad you enjoyed her antics :)!!