?Have You Heard??Audiobooks For Your Listening Pleasure ?The Best of September?

Posted September 30, 2020 by RobbieLea in Book Reviews / 0 Comments

#aplacecalledfreedom #kenfollett #simonprebble #coldstorage #davidkoepp #rupertfriend #universeoftwo #stephenpkiernan #cassandracampbell #byinvitationonly #dorotheabentonfrank #susanbennett #courtneypatterson #sarahnaughton

Welcome, audiobook listeners, to the Best of September! As we continue to live in our strange new world, I deliberately focused on books with a HEA, specifically those that didn’t seem possible or took a circuitous route. The storylines are a motley assortment.  A Place Called Freedom is billed as a thriller, Universe of Two is a work of historical fiction, Cold Storage is Sci-Fi with a touch of humor, and By Invitation Only, written by a favorite author who recently passed away, is a  nostalgic favorite.

If you like historical fiction, you will love A Place Called Freedom by Ken Follett. If you hate the fact that mankind has had a history of social injustice, racial discrimination, and cruelty since the beginning of time, this book will do nothing to change your mind. Classified as a thriller, the book is filed with historical details and is very much character-driven. The stars are Mack MacAsh who grew up slaving in the Scottish coal mines of the mid-1700s and Lizzie Hallim who longs to throw off the bonds of her dull privileged life. From their childhood to the twist of fate that brings them to America under different circumstances, these two are destined to turn each others lives around. Simon Prebble is the perfect voice for this epic tale. Since I make a special effort to keep politics out of my reviews, I will leave you to listen and be reminded without my input that we haven’t come very far on the human rights journey. There is a HEA, but you will have to listen to some disturbing narrative before you reach it.

I don’t routinely do science fiction but the book details on Cold Storage intrigued me, especially during this time of Covid-19. A deadly fungus has been let loose on earth and even though some heroes of our military service manage to contain it and keep it under wraps, they make the mistake of sealing up a vial for investigative purposes. Does that sound familiar? The vial remains hidden deep underground for decades, but where there’s a will there’s a way and the fungus manages to escape and begins to once more do what it does best . . . invade its hosts and make them explode. I admit this all sounds kind of gross and scary, but David Koepp populates his story with endearing characters and gives it the surprise element of humor. Even the bad guys are sometimes comical. Narrator Rupert Friend gives engaging voices not only to our hero Roberto Diaz and his unlikely sidekicks but to the bad guys as well. We’re all still here, so obviously there is a HEA which is exactly what we wanted. While a HEA isn’t something you normally associate with a sci-fi story, you’ll be very pleased with this one.

Universe of Two by Stephen P. Kiernan has the overall tone of a much more innocent time which is in stark contrast to a story about the project that changed the course of history by ending a war while unleashing weapons that have put our universe continuously at risk for annihilation. In the background are a tender love story, an in-depth lesson in the anatomy of a musical instrument, and a man whose convictions may require him to choose one love over another. Have you ever wondered what life was like for those who found themselves working on a weapon so powerful that it could stop an entire nation in its tracks? What if the price of that weapon is the lives of hundreds of thousands of people and what if you are the one who designed the switch that sets the whole thing in motion? Is it possible to accept the collateral damage and live out one’s life with a clear conscience or does it change everything? There is always a price to be paid, but in this case, there will be a surprising HEA. I’ve heard many excellent performances by Cassandra Campbell . . . this is possibly the best one ever.

My feel-good book for the month of September is By Invitation Only. The late Dorothea Benton Frank had a way of transporting me back to the South Carolina Low Country where I was born and raised. In case I haven’t already said this, I love reading books where businesses and street names are familiar, not because they’re famous, but because they’re home. When two young people from very different parts of the country decide to get married, it’s game on. One family is composed of snooty, snobby social climbers and the other family lives on the farm that has been their heritage for generations. It’s “Keep It Simple” vs ”The Skies the Limit”. Throw in Snooty Mom spies Uncle Hotty, a record-breaking snowstorm, and a devastating scandal and you have the stuff that made this author one of my favorites. Narrators Susan Bennett, Courtney Patterson, and Sarah Naughton all give excellent performances. If you’ve never read any of Ms. Frank’s work, it’s ok to start here, but you should start with Sullivan’s Island and read them all . . . HEAs guaranteed!

Thank You For Following Us at Literati Literature Lovers and Happy Listening in October!

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