#legacy #noraroberts #januarylavoy #goldengirl #elinhilderbrand #erinbennett #unfaithful #nataliebarelli #emilyrankin #thechanelsisters #judithelittle #saskiamaarleveld
I have to confess that I am a student of writing styles. Anytime I read or listen to a book, in the back of my mind, I’m analyzing the author’s writing style. How does he or she present the story? If it’s a mystery, how is the reader drawn into gathering the clues and finding the solution? If it’s a romance, how does the reader fall in love with the characters as they fall in love with each other? If it’s a psychological thriller, how does the reader enter the mind of the psychotic individual as a sick plan is developed? July’s Best Listens will include a favorite author who is a master at drawing her readers into all these elements. Another favorite author has taken a slight departure from her typical Nantucket Island stories to give her latest a supernatural flair. A third book will appeal to the fashionistas among you and book number four will satisfy my followers who depend on me for their psycho-fix. So we have four different authors with four very different writing styles, but I believe each of these books will be well worth your listening time.
By Nora Roberts
Narrated by January Lavoy
I will start by saying I have followed Nora Roberts throughout her career. I’ve watched her grow into a master story-teller and Legacy is the master at her best. No book should start off as a 5, but should build as it develops and this one does exactly that. It begins like a romance novel even though we quickly develop “that thing” lurking in the back of our minds where we know it’s only a matter of time before Adrienne Rizzo gets what’s coming to her – or what’s coming to her in the mind of her nemesis. We’re never allowed to get too comfortable and feel too good about Adrienne’s life so it’s shocking, but not surprising, when the darkness comes to light and threatens everyone she holds dear. The real star of this story is narrator January Lavoy who turns in the best performance I’ve heard from her.
By Elin Hilderbrand
Narrated by Erin Bennett
There seems to be a trend going right now for authors to weave a bit of the supernatural into their storylines. Or maybe I’m just subconsciously choosing books like that. Golden Girl is Elin Hilderbrand’s latest offering and it fits right into the ghostly genre. Oh, I don’t mean there are ghosts floating around the earthly characters, but there is one loving mama who goes too soon and finds herself with a ringside seat and three “nudges” as she watches her family and friends try to live their lives without her. How she will use her “nudges” to affect their lives from the grave or from the stars or wherever she is makes for high entertainment from the author and the excellent Erin Bennett as narrator. It’s always refreshing when an author successfully steps outside his or her comfort zone.
By Judithe Little
Narrated by Saskia Maarleveld
The Chanel Sisters by Judithe Little is a fictionalized account of the story of Gabrielle “Coco” Chanel and her sister Antoinette. Told from Antoinette’s perspective, the storyline stays very close to the actual events in the lives of two young girls who rose from abject poverty to found a world-famous fashion house. I think anyone who loves a good rags-to-riches tale will enjoy listening to how Coco and Antoinette, raised by nuns to settle for a quiet existence as wives of simple men, refuse to let the circumstances of their birth keep them from aspiring to live their lives in the world of high society and fashion. The story is both heartwarming and heartbreaking as the sisters face off against the class system of their day. Superbly performed by Saskia Maarleveld, The Chanel Sisters will give you a glimpse of another world and time.
By Natalie Barelli
Narrated by Emily Rankin
Unfaithful by Natalie Barelli is a convuluted visit to psycho-world. About half way through it, I decided the title should have been “Guess Who’s Really Crazy!” This is one of those tales where everybody is guilty of something and your assignment is to decide which one (or ones) actually deserve to be caught. I really love how the author develops her storyline to lead listeners from not suspecting anybody of anything to suspecting every character of being “the one.” For that reason, I must say the ending is one of those that is surprising, but not really because you are already comfortable with accepting any of the characters as being capable of anything. Narrator Emily Rankin performs each one of the wide range of characters and ages perfectly.