I was riveted by the characters and plot in this book until about the last 1/8th of the book. The ending was contrived, predictable and downright corny. It's still a very good read, just not all that satisfying in hindsight.
I listen to audio books at the gym. I kept staying on the treadmill 10, 20 more minutes so I could listen to more of this truly touching and captivating book. I identified with each character in a different way.
One of the most beautiful books I've ever "read". Totally human and real, the author makes us see the strengths as well as the weaknesses of the human condition. The Narator has a beautiful voice and she was very easy to listen to. A wonderful way to spend quiet time. Get this book!
The characters in this book were so well developed that I felt like I was losing good friends when it ended. I loved this book so much that there were times I couldn't get out of the car - I didn't want to book to ever end. This was the best book I have ever listened to and I hope that there is a follow on. I have to know what happens to everyone!!!
The audio quality of this audiobook is unsatisfactory. It constantly changes from what seems to be different recording sessions. It is tinny, muted and all places in between. Some better, some very bad and sound like they were recorded in a metal box with varying numbers of socks over the microphone on any given day. Volume is too low and if you use iTunes to adjust the volume in the "Options" the sound gets distorted. In parts there is a second delayed track of the audio faintly heard in the background. One chapter has about 15 minutes of audio that fluctuates in volume every 5 seconds or so, up and down. Its horribly tedious to listen to.
The poor audio quality is even more disappointing because the narrator does an excellent job. I'd give her 5 stars. She has a warm voice with an Irish accent. This is perfect because the main characters are Irish and it is placed in Dublin. She has an enjoyable voice, she doesn't rush the story and allows for pauses in the appropriate points. Many narrators don't do this and it bothers me. I rarely needed to rewind. That is refreshing. She also does not try to do "voices" that sound ridiculous.
The book itself is excellent. I am a big Maeve Binchy fan and this story is superbly told. Ms. Binchy's ability to tell stories of human experience is fantastic. I have been through similar life experiences and Ms. Binchy gets so many of the nuances perfect.
I would listen to it again, partly to look for clues I might have overlooked the first time about secrets the characters were keeping from each other. The narrator's voice was easy to listen to.
The interesting characters, and the relationships between them.
The one thing that annoyed me about this story was how many times the characters referred to their homes by name "Tara Road," or "Tudor Drive." I don't know anyone who owns only one home and refers to it incessantly by the street name. It seemed rather affected.
Such a beautifully written, heartwarming, heartbreaking, captivating story. Narration was flawless. The story hit too close to home and that's why couldn't stop listening. Finished in 3 days. Simply beautiful.