I don’t like vampires. Sure, I watched 'Buffy, the Vampire Slayer', and I watched 'Angel', but that’s more or less where it stops. I was never very interested in Dracula, never watched Twilight, and only watched the Vampire Dearies until I got bored with the cast. So, when I came across The Vampire Knitting Club I scrolled past it without giving the books a second glance. Eugh, more vampires.
Then again, I’m a big fan of Sarah Zimmerman and have listened to all the books she has narrated. You may think that narrating a book is easy, that it’s just reading a book, but you would be so wrong. Some narrators read too fast, others too slow, others suffer from dry mouth syndrome, speak in little girl voices, act out the scenes with too much emphasis, or pronounce words ending with the letter g as a letter k. Very annoying.
As a narrator, Sarah Zimmerman is perfection. She has a beautiful, melodic voice, and is able to perform in several different voices and dialects. So as I said, I’ve listened to everything Sarah Zimmerman ever narrated, but 'The Vampire Knitting Club'wasn’t part of that. Then one day, when I absolutely couldn’t find anything interesting to listen to, I downloaded the first book anyway. In the story, I met Lucy Swift, her grandmother, and not one but a whole nest of vampires who live under Lucy Swift’s wool shop named Cardinal Woolsey’s in Oxford.
As soon as I finished book one, I downloaded book two, then book three, etc. I’m currently on book thirteen and as such nearly at the end of the series (unless Nancy Warren writes more books about Lucy Swift and vampires).
What makes these books so appealing (other than Sarah Zimmerman’s wonderful voice is that these vampires are not bloodthirsty creatures who attack humans or animals in the night. Times have evolved and they now have access to a private blood bank.
The main character, Lucy Swift, is as charming as they come. She’s in her twenties, doesn’t have a vain bone in her body, has a sunny disposition, and can’t knit. Yeah, weird right, an owner of a knitting shop who can’t knit. Oh and she’s a witch.
The only thing that bothered me about 'The Vampire Knitting Club' books, is Lucy Swift’s cat, Nix. Nancy Warren made him a black cat, and that annoys me to no end. Why is it that witches’ cats are always portrayed as black cats? Does Nancy Warren have any idea how much damage that does?
Being involved with a cat rescue organization I witness firsthand how every year numerous cats and kittens are abandoned because they are black. Whenever white, grey, tabby, or calico cat pictures are posted online for adoption, they are gone within hours or days. Black kittens and cats however stay there. Hardly anyone wants them because there’s a stigma around them. Stupid people believe black cats are associated with witchcraft or that black cats bring bad luck. Baloney of course, but as long as movies and books portray witches’ cats as black, the superstition continues.
Another thing that bothered me is that Lucy only feeds her cat canned tuna. Nancy Warren should know better. She has no doubt a whole legion of followers who might take their cue from this feeding habit and start giving their cats tuna too. Some might think if Nancy Warren advises tuna then it must be good. Or, if Lucy feeds Nix canned tuna, I’m going to do that too.
Truth is, canned tuna is not good for cats. A bite or two every now and then won’t hurt them, but making every meal a tuna meal is definitely not good. For one thing, canned tuna does not contain all the nutrients a cat needs to stay healthy. That’s why there is specifically designed cat food. Also, tuna contains a significant amount of mercury, which in large quantities is toxic for both humans and animals.
Anyway, back to Nancy Warren and her writings.
Seeing the end of 'The Vampire Knitting Club' nearing, I went looking for other books by the same author. As such, I found several books in 'The Vampire Book Club’ and more books in what was called ‘A Paranormal Culinary Mystery’.
I was all but rubbing my hands in anticipation of hours and hours of listening delight when I downloaded the first book and instead of Sarah Zimmerman, I heard the most annoying voice ever. The voice belonged to Hollis McCarthy. OMG, how she ever got hired as a narrator is beyond me. Was the person who auditioned her deaf? Did someone at the audiobook company owe her a favour and couldn’t say no want she wanted the job? Did a family member or friend work for the audiobook company and didn’t want to turn her away?
Hollis McCarty’s reading is terrible. She’s one of those narrators who thinks she’s the queen bee of narrators and as such puts too much emphasis on her reading. Or if you like, she doesn’t read a book, she acts it out. But she overdoes it. She thinks she’s all that and in the process ruins a perfectly good story.
So, unfortunately, I’ll have to pass on the books in ‘A Paranormal Culinary Mystery’ and ‘The Vampire Book Club’. As much as I like Nancy Warren, I just can’t take Hollis McCarty's voice. I rather listen to nails scraping a blackboard to listen to her voice.
So authors pay attention, a good narrator is more important than you think.
About the Creator
Conny is the author of Waiting for Silverbird, Voice of an Angel, Lily, Kitten Diaries and Debbie. Contributor to various hard copy and online publications.
She lives in Toronto with her son and cats.