USA, listener since 2005
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.
I loved Jane Smiley's A Thousand Acres and had very high hopes that this family saga set in Iowa would be something along that line. Some Luck is a different book. It takes patience. The beauty of this first entry in a planned trilogy is slow to evolve. I was almost half way through the listen before the characters had captured me. Before I really cared about any of them. I almost gave up-- but I am really glad I kept listening.
The writing was spare and at first almost one dimensional. Smiley had the story drop in on the family and witness slices of life sequentially as the years progressed. To me these paper doll characters of the first chapters grew into whole, living, breathing and complex people gradually with each year and each new chapter.
This isn't a story that spoon feeds the listener. It is instead a book that the reader needs to work at and ponder. Subtle connections appear in a web like fashion and these webs connect the seemingly disconnected events into an amazing whole. Random flashes of insight flare like tiny sparks. Not the fireworks of A Thousand Acres--but beautiful all the same.
This book is a meditation on family, farming, hard work, individuality and traditions. Keep in mind that luck comes in many forms--good and bad. It also takes time to see which is which as life plays out. I loved the story and look forward to book two whenever it appears. Recommended if you are willing to take the time and let the story unfold. A wonderful listen.