An Audiobook Review of An Elegant Façade
Book by Kristi Ann Hunter
Narration by Charlotte Anne Dore
Review by Carrie Fancett Pagels
Dyslexia, Narcissism, and Redemption?
This audiobook has had me thinking about it long after I finished reading it. Start with a heroine who is more of an anti-heroine, who has a reading learning disability, or dyslexia. She's born into a family she perceives as perfectionists. Set during Regency England, the heroine reminds me of one of Jane Austin's antagonistic females. There was a movie sometime not too far back where a twist was done on an Austin novel, making the antagonist the heroine and giving her a happier outcome than the book had. This novel reminded me of that movie, to some extent.
As a psychologist of twenty-five years, one of the most difficult conditions to deal with was narcissism. Granted, today it is rampant in our culture. And it is a vice that Lady Georgina Hawthorne epitomizes well. The problem is -- we don't normally want to see that in our heroine! So I kept waiting and hoping that this well-written story would show progress for the heroine and I hung in there and kept listening. The narrator, while sounding rather young and petulant in voice for this character really is quite perfect for Georgina.
The heroine, in contrast, is a lovable guy and kept me interested in the story. Colin McRae makes up for what Georgina lacks. And he draws her forward in her relationship with the Lord. And finally to making her own decision. The problem is, when someone is "ashamed" of their disability and hiding it, that doesn't excuse self-absorption and narcissism and even with redemption, the chance in the heroine is not so marked as to make the reader think -- there now, she'll go forward and stop all that. On the other hand, we shouldn't expect redemption to cure all our fleshly sins. So that is my struggle in reading this story and why it is memorable. One hopes for, wishes, and delights in the day of redemption yet those fleshly behaviors are likely to continue, and disturb others, as God slowly peels those layers away. We aren't going to see that at the end of the story. We get a nice epilogue, and we can hope, but one can't help but wonder if all that self-centeredness and deception are going to be problematic in a marriage and family. My personal experience has been that narcissism is horrifically hard to excise from someone and overcome. It can be done, but only with God's help. Kristi Ann Hunter doesn't give a neat little package wrapped up with a bow at the end -- and maybe that is how this story needs to be.
Question: Do you enjoy stories with an anti-hero who is restored? What is your favorite?