December 2018/January 2019

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December 2018 / January 2019 n 31 WHERE THE CRAWDADS SING Delia Owens Read by Cassandra Campbell Narrator Cassandra Campbell serves up a bushel of Carolina accents in this debut novel by nature writer Delia Owens. Campbell's accents give the mix of classes and regions in the story the same realistic detail Owens provides for the marsh. Kya, a girl abandoned by her family in the isolated marshes of North Carolina, comes of age with little social contact in the 1950s and '60s. Campbell gives us her story in a reverent documentary tone that does justice to the rich descriptions of the natural world that nurtures and fascinates Kya. This story is interspersed with the 1969 murder of the town golden boy, Chase Andrews. The investigation and trial unfurl slowly with a more reportorial tone. Prepare to be enchanted and haunted. S.T.C. Penguin Audio 12.25 hrs. Unabridged Trade Ed.: DD ISBN 9780525640370 $17.50 Books on Tape Library Ed.: DD ISBN 9780525640394 $66.50 GOOD LUCK WITH THAT Kristan Higgins Read by Xe Sands, Lori Gardner, Suzi Jackson A trio of amazing performers, Xe Sands, Lori Gardner, and Suzi Jackson, narrates the story of three women who struggle with their self-image. Following the dying wishes of their friend Emerson, Georgia and Morgan struggle to overcome their fight with their weight and self-image and to complete their teenage wish lists, which include such items as "Wear your shirt tucked in" and "Hold hands in public." Friendship and love are the themes of this heartwarm- ing story. Sands portrays Marley in a matter-of-fact, somewhat morose tone. Gardner por- trays Georgia in a bright, cheery tone that suggests she will eventually overcome all obstacles. Jackson portrays Emerson with hope in her voice. Listeners will be drawn into this uplifting story of women who are determined to overcome what life dishes out. M.B.K. Recorded Books 15.25 hrs. Unabridged Library Ed.: CD ISBN 9781501968556 $123.75 (also MP3, DD) UNSHELTERED Barbara Kingsolver Read by Barbara Kingsolver Playing with layered meanings of shel- ter, author, and, here, narrator, Barbara Kingsolver weaves the stories of two fam- ilies tied to the same house in Vineland, New Jersey, across two centuries. In t h e p r e s e n t d a y , W i l l a c o p e s w i t h t h e aftermath of the unexpected loss of her daughter-in-law, adding additional bur- den to a family barely getting by. In the late nineteenth century, Thatcher returns to his wife's ancestral homeland for a teaching position. Each family struggles to rise above the economic and psychologi- cal barriers of its time. The parallels are striking, often dispiriting. Marred at the outset by a background echo, Kingsolver's performance is imperfect and uneven, though still worthwhile. Her warm, lightly accented voice with its natural emotional pull is effectively applied in her perfor- mances of the female characters. A.S. Harper Audio 16.5 hrs. Unabridged Trade Ed.: CD ISBN 9780062865663 $55.99 (also DD) A SPARK OF LIGHT Jodi Picoult Read by Bahni Turpin, Jodi Picoult [Note] N a r r a t o r B a h n i T u r p i n i n f u s e s sensitivity and compassion into Picoult's thought-provoking story set against the contentious backdrop of abortion rights. After gunman George Goddard fires shots and takes hostages at a Mississippi women's clinic, police negotiator Hugh McElroy bargains for the hostages' lives, one of whom is his 15-year-old daugh- ter, Wren. The story unfolds in reverse chronological order, allowing listeners to learn the victims' backstories. Turpin's chameleon-like ability to voice disparate characters is fully realized as she brings forth the rough desperation and love that drive the story. Her nuanced treatment of people enduring the most heartbreak- ing and terrifying moments of their lives is deeply affecting. The reverse chrono- logical structure does require focused listening, but the compelling events of the story will hold listeners in thrall. S.A.H. Random House Audio 13 hrs. Unabridged Trade Ed.: CD ISBN 9781984828095 $45.00 (also DD) Books on Tape Library Ed.: CD ISBN 9781984828118 $45.00 (also DD) THE MERMAID AND MRS. HANCOCK Imogen Hermes Gowar Read by Juliet Stevenson Juliet Stevenson is the ideal narrator for this audiobook. After all, who better to use her immense skills with vocal characterizations and richly nuanced accents? Who else could take a sizable cast, developed with nearly Dickensian detail, and make each voice distinct? Indeed, there are moments when the voices reach near-caricature, but the intensity is not entirely out of place. Stevenson's performance is well paced as the story moves between Mr. Hancock, a lonely mer- chant whose fortunes shift when he comes into possession of the titular sea creature, and Angelica, a high- class prostitute seeking both freedom and security. The listener follows these parallel tales easily, having been drawn into eighteenth-century London and larg- er-than-life characters who are trying to keep their heads above water. L.B.F. Harper Audio 17.25 hrs. Unabridged Trade Ed.: DD ISBN 9780062864833 $36.99 Prepare to be enchanted and haunted. Fiction

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