Those of you who are expecting the usual David Baldacci novel are going to be very happily surprised or incredibly disappointed. This is such a huge departure from his regular fare that I almost thought I had downloaded the wrong book. Thank goodness I was wrong and kept listening.
While I very much enjoy Baldacci at his normal best, this novel was a whole new look at what a fine author can do with simple storytelling.
You are transported to the hills of Virginia and literally plopped into the lives of Lou and Oz, two displaced New York children who, along with their invalid mother, are suddenly made to exist in a world so different from what they know that you wonder if they have any hope of adjusting.
Entwined throughout the slowly developed plot are descriptions of Virginia mountain life that are so real you can feel the morning mist rolling down the mountainside. I found myself repeatedly stopping what I was doing and losing myself in the moment. It was almost a shock to my system to come back to reality and realize that I could live there (indeed it felt as if I had, so real are the pictures painted by the author).
The narrator has an almost hypnotic affect on you, something she probably found easy to do given the material she was reading - not to diminish her abilities as she has a very pleasant voice and is very articulate. She made the story seem almost Waltonesque.
All in all, it was a most pleasant experience and deserves high marks for both author and narrator. I had the pleasure of leaving reality for a while, enjoying an alternate existence and returning to my life a bit happier than when I left. Can you ask more of a story teller?
And lest you think the story is simplistic, rest assured, the ending is awesome, the buildup to it enthralling and the whole experience worth every minute.
Baldacci has outdone himself and deserves a five star rating.
Seems to me that far more attention is being paid to the length of this book than should be - it's the story and the telling thereof that makes or breaks a book, no matter the length. Suffice it to say, this book is worth every millisecond. You will want more. You will not want it to end.
I never expected to enjoy this book to the point of obsession. I made excuses to listen to it when I might better have done something else. Why? Because it is so thoroughly engrossing and was so totally unexpected that I could not get enough. There isn't a single car chase, not one computer, no guns or explosions; not one single thing to attract the modern reader - just phenomenal storytelling.
Your spirits will rise and fall with the telling of this beautifully detailed, well-told saga. And the narrator is one of the best I've heard. I didn't think I could be surprised by a Follett novel. I was wrong.
I'm going to buy Pillars of the Earth - does that prove how pleased I was?
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