I found these radio shows to be entertaining and amusing. They are about 40 minutes long each, so you can listen to one at a time (great for a commute), or just listen to them all at once.
I was engaged by the story of Honor Bright, a young Quaker woman from England in the 1850s who hastily decided to accompany her sister who was traveling to the US to be married. We learn that Honor's engagement had been broken in a difficult way (in her faith).
This is not the type of book I would usually read - historical with a promise of romance, but I was intrigued by Honor and the unexpected troubles and difficult decisions she made after her sister died before reaching her fiancé.
Themes of personal faith, community, slavery, individuality drew me in, and I cared for a few of the characters and how they would find their place and peace among it all.
It may be that some would see Honor as a simple (in spirit and life) woman, but I believed she was a strong woman who was guided by her moral and spiritual beliefs, even when it set her apart from "the plain folk". I admired her tremendously and believed her to be stronger than most in the community did.
It was a pleasant, easy read, and I did find it thought provoking as I considered what I would do in her situation.
I was very disappointed in the narration though. It was quite inconsistent with the narrator not always using the same "voice" for the same characters. She also had a distracting habit of pausing in a peculiar pattern. It took about 3 hours for me to finally decide I'd keep listening because I was enjoying the story, and therefore I needed to try to just accept the narration as was.
This book is told from the perspective of Greyson, a successful studio executive who struggles to deal with his bi-polar illness, and when he feels he can't, leaves his wife and child in the middle of the night and travels the world, making decisions based on his emotional swings.
It was a very difficult book to read. It is (what I imagine) a fairly realistic depiction of one person with mental health issues. Overall I am glad I read it, and it was very compelling.
One caveat, the book has 3 main timelines, and one of them I found almost unbearable. The language, sexual promiscuity, debauchery and descriptions were truly disturbing. It was true "madness". I had to stop reading because I felt physically sick. "Listening" to the audiobook may have made it worse because I couldn't just skin over those pages. If this particular plotline had gone on any longer, I would have stopped, but thankfully the book moved on to another timeline and I began to appreciate it again.
I'm not sure I can say I "enjoyed" the book, but I was drawn in by the secondary characters and the subject matter. The ending was realistic, and provided some meaningful dialogue (between Greyson and his psychiatrist) of what individuals with serious mental illness can expect as far as management of the disease. And without oversimplifying the reality, it finished with a glimpse of hope - which I don't think I've ever been so happy to read.
I thought the narrarator Anna Fields, brought just the right tone and nuace to the story. Her voice made it easy for me to feel as thought I were there, almost a part of the group.
The ending was surprising, and although I'm not entirely sure I liked it, I could see no other way to bring the story to some kind of resolution.
Everything. Tone, pausing, changes in inflections - soft/hard/kind/stern. It was as if she knew each character and could introduce them to us exactly as they should be.
It was interesting enough, but I can't listen for longer than a few hours before I start becoming distracted. I did however, immediately start listening to it the minute I was out for a walk, bike ride, etc.
Loved it which surprised me. Wasn't sure it would hold my attention, but it did. I really enjoyed the characters (although the adoration of one of the characters became a bit much as some points.)
I can't say if I like this book or not, because I was so thrown off by the narrator. She seems to only have a few "voices" which make characters fall into stock categories of "silly and to be thought of as a bit stupid", villainous or virtuous. I was very disappointed and it detracted from the book. For the first time I found myself wishing I had read the book instead of listening to it.
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