Toney, Alabama | Member Since 2009
This is book number four in the Cork O'Connor series, and so far they have all been excellent. My husband and I have listened to all four together, so they are definitely for both men and women. The twists and turns in this one are REALLY unpredictable . . . we were guessing until the very end . . . The story begins with the murder of a beautiful young high school girl . . . You will find yourself wanting to learn more and more about her and her family . . . and you will grab all that is close to you and treasure it, fear for it, and wonder, "what, who is out there that would hurt a kid?" Some of the reviewers are critical of this book, saying it is overly "religious" . . . I did not find that to be true at all. In fact, since the beginning of the series, ex-sheriff, Cork O'Connor has been pretty much open and honest about his "crisis of faith" since leaving the Catholic church, where he grew up, went to school, and even served as an altar boy. If readers were paying attention, this theme of "examining the heart" has been there all along. The story line has included the church, priests, and a very faithful and grounded sister-in-law, Rose, who lives in the house with Cork and Jo and helps to raise their three kids. The moral compass which has been Cork's guide from day one has been from God . . . a God that is plenty big enough to allow Cork to question His existence . . . I love the inclusion of the spiritual stories of the Indians, who know God on a very personal level . . . so whatever you call God . . . even when you deny His existence, He always brings you around . . . This book in no way "preaches" to anyone. It leaves readers to their own conclusions. It isn't "goody goody" or even full of theology. So if anyone is offended, maybe they should check to see who that voice is that is speaking to them . . . These books are mysteries/thrillers which include all areas of the lives of their characters. To exclude this one area would just be dicing up the story. Can't wait for book five!!!
Listening to this book, now, as I near 60 years old, is such a different experience than reading it in high school in the early 70s. When one is very young, one THINKS that one may be wise, when one is old, if one is blessed, one KNOWS better. The Good Earth is written very simply, but it's far from simple. My heart kept begging Wang Lung to be MORE than his wayward soul . . . to stay true to the good earth . . . to love what is pure . . . to be who he was as a young man. The age old proverbs of men and wealth seem to hold true in all societies. The Good Earth should still be on the reading lists for middle/high school students, along with discussion groups and essays. For there is still much to be gleened from it's pages.
This is an enjoyable listen . . . but doesn't come close to The Secret Keeper and The Forgotten Garden, in my opinion. I got tired listening, but did stick with it until the end. I enjoyed the historical aspect of the WWI era in England, but the book could have been much shorter and been better. The Shifting Fog lacked the magical qualities of Kate Morton's other books and I missed the unfolding mystery of the other two books that I've listened to. The ending didn't leave me nearly as satisfied either.
I wasn't expecting to like this book quite so much . . . and I'm puzzled at the reviews who protest so that they can't stand Olive . . . I have finally decided they must all be under the age of 50 and have not come face to face with the mistakes they have made themselves, when the girl inside comes barreling right into the grown woman and there's hell to pay. When we are young, we are always sure we are right, and being right takes a high toll . . . on ourselves, our kids, and most of all those we love . . . having to be right, well, that's just another ploy to cover up the fact that we're afraid . . . afraid we may NOT be right, afraid to let too much of ourselves go to those we love, afraid to be too needy . . . This is a very good audio book, but if you can't take the heat, stay out of the kitchen.
This is my fifth Bryce Courtenay book, and I haven't been disappointed yet. I've listened to The Power of One, The Potato Factory Trilogy (which I also highly recommend), and now Tandia. Humphrey Bower narrates them all . . . flawlessly. I have learned so much about the history of Africa in listening to The Power of One and Tandia. Sadly, evil is so prevalent in the political and the powerful. And it has been so since the beginning of time. The beautiful story of Peekay, as a child and now as an adult, who chooses to fight for right is a rare jewel. To reject corruption and embrace truth in the face of even death . . . awe, this is the magic of the tadpole angel.
I thoroughly enjoyed Some Sing, Some Cry, but agree with another reviewer that it was a bit too long, AND that the first half was by far the best. The human stories, of Ma Bett, her daughters and grandchildren were my favorite, and the love and wisdom that she passed down to her family blessed my soul. The history of the jazz movement, with the very personal stories were incredible. Though important for the people and our country, the political actions, did not interest me nearly as much. I love stories of the south, and this one is very good. It doesn't come close to The Help or The Kitchen House, however. But perhaps one shouldn't compare them, as they are different in that this one spans a much longer time period, and follows several generations.
First of all, I'm a coffee lover . . . and unlike many of the other reviewers, I LIKE series with a theme . . . quilting, knitting, cooking . . . I'm very family oriented. The ex-husband's involvement didn't bother me at all, as he was a part owner in the coffee house, and father to their sweet grown daughter, Joy. True, it's a light listen, but interesting and it kept me engaged until the very end.
The third book in the Big Stone Gap Trilogy finds Ava Maria and Jack Mac raising Etta and growing older. The love between them grows sweeter (and wiser), and the stories of the town's folk are some of the best parts of the book. Pearl has expanded the drug store to three now. Jack Mac's construction company, which he and two friends opened after the coal mines closed, is thriving. Etta's teenage antics throw Ava Maria for a loop . . . and Ava Maria finds herself being the OPP (overprotective parent), while Jack Mac is the laid back nice one . . . isn't that typical??? But as time goes on, Etta does survive being raised by imperfect parents . . . and both parents finally learn to value the qualities the other bring to the table. This series has a great southern, down home feel . . . you'll laugh, cry, and come to love all these people, just like they are your own neighbors.
This is the second of the Big Stone Gap stories. Ava Maria and Jack have been married about ten years and have the sweetest little girl, Etta. Their marriage is facing "growing pains" . . . they've lost their precious four year old son, Joe to leukemia three years earlier, and grief does horrible things to people. When the coal mines close, Jack loses his sense of identity and Ava Maria doesn't help things by having no clue as to how men tick. In my opinion, neither Jack nor Ava Maria help the situation much . . . both retreating to their own corners and flirting with disaster . . . as humans sometimes do . . . I could have done with a little more depth and wisdom at that point . . . but all and all, I love the characters in this series. The narration is perfect, and by the author. I'm listening to next book already, Milk Glass Moon.
There's nothing more country than mountain folk, and Big Stone Gap is all that and more. When thirty-five year old, Ava Maria, the town pharmacist, who's considered an old maid by mountain folk standards, loses her mother, her world goes into a tail spin. Everything she thought she knew changes. She's always known her mother was Italian, but when she finds a picture and letters in her mother's room, she's in shock. She doesn't even know herself anymore. I absolutely love this story . . . being a hillbilly myself and having married very young (still married 42 years later), I can easily relate to all the "goings on". The narration is spot on. I've already downloaded the next two books in the series.Can't wait to start the next one . . .
Of all the stories written about the ending of America as we know it, this one is my favorite. The financial downfall is not at all far fetched, as the economy has long been "propped up" falsely . . . and it's indeed a frightening thought what ordinary people might do when faced without food and necessities. What makes this book different than others is the human story of THE MAN and the boy, Joshua. It is captivating. I couldn't stop listening, as they encountered the worst and the best in others. And though in small pockets across America, there was GOOD . . . there was faith . . . and there was hope.
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