Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Audiobooks Take Listeners from Paris to Pacific Northwest

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Audiobooks Take Listeners from Paris to Pacific Northwest

Article excerpt

In summer, conventional wisdom is that we look for less weighty books, whether for reading on the beach or listening in the car with the AC blasting. This month's audiobooks, all featuring women, are light enough to get us through a sticky season.


By Eleanor Brown, read by Cassandra Campbell * Penguin Audio * 12:30

Madeline Spencer is miserably married to a cartoonishly horrible man when she splits for her Southern hometown to visit her mother. The year is 1999. As her mother packs up to sell the family home, Madeline finds a trunk full of journals kept by her grandmother, Margie, beginning in 1919.

Brown's story alternates between Madeline and Margie, following the former as she meets a rough-hewn restaurateur and contemplates her marriage and the latter on a disastrous and ultimately delightful trip to Paris that looks to change her life.

Campbell's chirpy delivery is a problem, although I eventually got used to it; so is Brown's tendency to repeat words and phrases. ("Deliciously" is a favorite.) And the alternating chapters keep either woman's story from developing much momentum.

But both settings are appealing: a small and snooty town undergoing a cultural renaissance, and Paris during the Jazz Age. The dual romances are engaging, and Brown is superb (let's say delicious) at describing food.


By Ashley Ream, read by Xe Sands * Macmillan Audio * 8:30

This audiobook moved up in my listening queue because of a cover blurb by Gillian Flynn ("Gone Girl"). But "The 100 Year Miracle" is an odd novel indeed.

Young scientist Rachel Bell, still in agony from childhood burns, plans to create pain relief from a rare bioluminescent arthropod (say that three times quickly) that breeds only once every 100 years. She can't let her team, including a member of a Pacific Northwest tribe that attributed special power to the teeny-tiny creatures, know what she is up to.

Despite reader Sands' best efforts, Rachel is a murky character, and much of the book wanders off into other storylines, including the relationship of a former senator and her ex-husband, dying of a degenerative disease. …

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