No plot spoilers
As the author states in the afterward of the book-this book is part biography, part fiction and all true. It tells a sweeping story of living in poverty in the tenements of NYC through the eyes of young Elka. The book reminded me of A Tree Grows in Brooklyn at first. However, I can understand why it isn't on a youth reading list anywhere. This story is peppered with frank talk about sex, infidelity and off-color jokes. Much of this was unnecessary for the story. It is a shame that this content makes it inappropriate for young people because it is an engaging tale filled with growth, insight and change.
I agree with another reviewer that I would have liked a better time line. I found myself wondering what year it was when the action took place and hoping for an easier tracking of time progression. Instead there were vague mentions of "the war". Having firmer grounding in time would have made the story fit more easily into the world going on around it.
Lorna Raver, the narrator, did a great job. I really enjoyed her enthusiasm. It was a long book but the listening time flew by and my attention was held effortlessly. Parts of the book are difficult listening, as the poverty, chronic illness, filth and constant struggle are harsh realities. That said, it is a good story and I'm glad I listened.
This is a different sort of Lynn Austin book than the others I have read. It clearly fits into the "inspirational" category with many references to prayer, God, and faith. It is a very long story (over 15 hours) that plods forward as a shallow, over protected outsider makes a new life for herself during a visit to poverty stricken rural Kentucky. The story is not a neat and tidy one. There are many loose ends and miraculous twists and turns. I enjoyed the book very much over all. I thought Kate Forbes did a great job narrating the different voices. At times I thought the book rambled on a bit too long-- but at the same time I kept on listening with great interest. It was a positive story and worth a listen.
The writing of this book was almost spare but at the same time so lushly full it boggled the mind. Words are carefully chosen to precisely get the image across so that the reader understands the places and characters deeply without being told everything in endless detail. At times I would have loved to have a picture of Wildflower Hill Farm written out in wordy excess and exactness. Then I found that I could imagine the place for myself based on the bits and pieces the author revealed. In the end that was better. The story's main focus was about people -- their interactions, flaws, treatment of others. It amazed me how Freeman, using just the right word when describing a person cut right to the heart of the matter.
Part mystery, part love story, part historical fiction spanning four generations but focused on the choices of one woman, the book was totally engaging. The sense of place was strong. The narration was excellent. Caroline Lee's voice pulled me along through the ups and downs of the book and held me hanging on every word. By the end I was sure that there had been a mistake. It couldn't be over yet! I didn't want the story to end--a sure sign that it was an excellent listen. Definitely a book I loved and can recommend whole heartedly.