In the Shadow of the Banyan, by Vaddey Ratner, is the "sleeper" novel-memoir of the summer. This semi-autobiographical novel about the life of one child and her family, in Cambodia, during the regime of Pol Pot, is a must read that the listener will never forget! It is an exquisitely written and powerful account of life and death in the killing fields of Cambodia and the power of a father's love through his self-sacrifice in order that his family, most importantly his children, could endure and survive, both physically and spiritually, through the four years of mass genocide and torture of the Cambodian people under the regime of Pol Pot.
Vaddey Ratner's own story, written as a novel, is both extremely powerful and gut wrenching. The story spans the four years of the Pol Pot regime. Written in the first person voice of the young Raami, and narrated over the four years of her life, begins when Raami is 5, living a life of privilege as a princess in Phnom Penh, and then quickly moves through the 4 years of extreme deprivation, starvation and death of the Cambodian people in the killing fields of Cambodia, under the Pol Pot regime.
The author's story is one that you will never forget. It is among one the most beautifully written contemporary novels that I have listened to on Audible in the over 10 years that I have been a member! It is a novel that must not be missed, both for the story and an understanding, in the lyrical and poetic writing of the author, of the suffering of the Cambodian people during the holocaust that they endured. Like her father, who was famous poet in Cambodia, the author, Vaddey Ratner, has a true gift for writing that lives, in her, through her father.
In the Shadow of the Banyan is written tribute to the 1 to 2 million Cambodians who died in the killing fields during the regime of Pol Pot and the Khmer Rouge, and to her father, who gave her, through his own sacrifice, the gift to endure the unendurable and to hope when there was none!
Read & re-read all of the Outlander books in the series - multiple times. I was counting down the days, minutes, & hours, until the publication date of "WMHOB" & for me it couldn't arrive soon enough! I decided to listen to the book slowly in order to savor the story rather than how I usually listen non-stop to Diana's books & then being disappointed because the book is over so quickly. However, I found multiple parts of the storyline missing that left me at the end flat and disappointed. There were too many story lines running through the book which, made the storyline disjointed and meander, especially with the introduction of the new characters, some of whom I actually enjoyed and added to the book, while others I felt were totally unnecessary & confusing to the storyline. The storyline was disjointed, too many story lines ending with too many loose ends and too many characters. William and Jamie? Lord John, William & Jaime? Roger and Buck? Jillian Edgars? Fergus and Percy? I wish there had been more historic context about the Revolutionary War. I did not like how Jaime went from being a General for “five minutes” to resigning his commission. It is totally clear where Diana Gabaldon's next book is going and how it is going to be structured with flashbacks with the entire back story of Briana, Roger and the children and life on the Ridge. It is going to be hard to wait another 3 or 4 years. What I missed the most was the underlying love story between Claire and Jaime that is the glue that holds the entire series together! I can’t wait for Outlander on Starz & the next book in the series. I am going to listen to this book again and hope the second time that I listen to Written in My Heart’s Own Blood is the charm!
The Kingmaker's Daughter is a repeat of the exact same story as Phillipa Gregory's The White Queen except told from the perspective Anne Neville. If you have read the White Queen don't buy this book unless you have credits to spare and want to read the same story again. It wasnt that I didn't enjoy listening to the book, per se, but it was waste of a credit. I am going to be returning the book. I agree with other reviewer's that this is grade B historical fiction and formulaic. It was an easy way for Phillipa Gregory to publish another book to make more money but doesn't add anything additional to the Cousin's War Series.
I have attempted to listen to this book but have to stop each time. I've restarted and stopped at least 4 times. The issue with this book is not the story but the narration. The narrator speaks so quickly and since the dialogue, in the book, is written in "Olde English" it is extraordinary difficult to understand the narration.I believe that this is a book that has to be read. Also, the book is historically very inaccurate although it is a novel.
Finally, The Duke's Children, the last book in the Trollope's Palliser series, is on Audible! Unfortunately, Audible still does not have The Prime Minister, which precedes this final book in the Palliser series. Although it is not necessary to have read (or listened to The Prime Minister) to enjoy this story, for true fans of Trollope and the Palliser series, it would have been helped. Although I thoroughly enjoyed Trollope's story about the Duke of Omnium and his three children, "The Duke's Children" is not one of Trollope's "great" novels in the Palliser series, especially the ending, which I found flat and unsatisfying. However, what is so deliciously interesting about this novel, and makes it a must read, is Trollope's portrayal of the utter hypocrisy of the aristocracy in late Victorian England, through the character portrayal of the Duke of Omnium, the titular head of the Liberal Party. This juxtaposition and tension between the Duke's Liberal politics and conservative personal beliefs in the plot via the Duke's aspiration's for, and then treatment of his children, especially his daughter, Mary, are timeless themes and are as true today as it was over 100 years ago when Trollope wrote this novel!
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