The Tell Tale, by Clare Ashton, is a beautifully crafted mystery and was one of my favorite books of 2021. The audiobook, narrated by Lucy Rayner, brings the story to life in a spectacular way. I’ve never been to Wales. I’ve hardly been out of the United States, but while listening to this audiobook, I was transported to the village of Foel. I felt like a member of the community, trying to solve the mystery of who was leaving the townsfolk notes, making it clear that their secrets weren’t so secret after all. Even though I knew the outcome, I was drawn in all over again.
Lucy Rayner’s voice is perfectly suited to the story. It’s soft and melodic. There are a lot of characters, and she did a masterful job of making them distinct. This is my first time listening to her narrate a book, and I certainly hope it’s not the last. Her voice is calm yet conveys so much emotion.
This book brought a lot of feelings out when I read it initially, primarily empathy and anger. And Lucy’s narration brought them out all over again. I have so much empathy for the women of Foel, who are living in the 70’s with misogyny running rampant. The men in the village think having a dangling participle gives them to right to belittle and control women. Overcoming that male superiority is at the heart of this story. I fought alongside Sophie, Beth and the rest of the women of Foel.
I am a Clare Ashton fangirl and I make no apologies for it. She is a brilliant author who brings stories to life in such a vivid way that I feel transported into the story. With Lucy Rayner’s narration that was only intensified. This is an author/narrator combination that I hope we get more from in the future. I will be not so patiently waiting for the next collaboration.