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N. Rogers

San Antonio, TX, USA | Member Since 2008

ratings
155
REVIEWS
30
FOLLOWING
3
FOLLOWERS
3
HELPFUL VOTES
63

  • Pack of Two: The Intricate Bond Between People and Dogs

    • UNABRIDGED (7 hrs and 8 mins)
    • By Caroline Knapp
    • Narrated By Hilary Swank
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (72)
    Performance
    (62)
    Story
    (62)

    In Pack of Two, the author of the acclaimed best seller Drinking: A Love Story tackles a different sort of relationship. Two-time Academy Award-winning actress Hilary Swank (Boys Don’t Cry, Million Dollar Baby) guides us into the life of Caroline Knapp who, after losing both parents to cancer and breaking off a two-decade long relationship with alcohol in the span of one year, struggles - and succeeds - to redefine her world. The unlikely solution to Knapp’s task was found in the form of a dog named Lucille.

    Jami says: "Not what I expected, but really good!"
    "Wonderful but Somewhat Sad"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This was a fairly short book, and as a devoted dog parent, I found that it went quickly. This audiobook was narrated by Hilary Swank which added a lot to the listening experience. Pack of Two is a very personal account of the author's relationship with her dog, Lucille, and how it enriched and deepened her life. However, it provides both sides of the dog/human bond, including some of the very special benefits as well as darker aspects that, in some unfortunate cases, became pathological.

    There were times when I honestly felt sorry for Caroline Knapp because she seemed so needy and isolated. I really love our three dogs and spend a great deal of time working and playing with them, but this author was truly obsessed with Lucille, her only close connection in the world. I was glad she had this wonderful being in her life, a dog she had rescued from probable euthanasia in a shelter, but she seemed so concerned with the possible abnormality of their relationship that I pitied her a little. She gave examples of friends with similar issues, a few of whom were pretty scary. Her own background was quite tragic, involving a lonely childhood, struggles with anorexia, and alcoholism. Her relationship with her dog in her mid-thirties was the first in her life that felt authentic and satisfying.

    As a pretty fanatic animal lover myself, I identified with her devotion to her dog, and I enjoyed the book mostly. I only wish her life had been happier in other ways. She died several years after writing this book of lung cancer, and I can't help wondering what happened to Lucille when Caroline was no longer there to care for her. I can only hope a family member or friend has adopted the dog and continued to provide her with the love and devotion she had come to depend upon. We owe our animals that for the many gifts they give us.

    2 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • The Day of Battle: The War in Sicily and Italy, 1943-1944

    • UNABRIDGED (32 hrs and 48 mins)
    • By Rick Atkinson
    • Narrated By Jonathan Davis
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (158)
    Performance
    (136)
    Story
    (142)

    In An Army at Dawn - winner of the Pulitzer Prize - Rick Atkinson provided a dramatic and authoritative history of the Allied triumph in North Africa. Now, in The Day of Battle, he follows the American and British armies as they invade Sicily in July 1943, attack Italy two months later, and then fight their way, mile by bloody mile, north toward Rome. The Italian campaign's outcome was never certain; in fact, President Roosevelt, Prime Minister Churchill, and their military advisors bitterly debated whether an invasion of the so-called soft underbelly of Europe was even wise.

    Robert says: "The utter waste and horror of war..."
    "Hard to Listen to, but Very Worthwhile"
    Overall
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    I needed to read this book. None of the history classes I took in high school or college ever discussed World War II; I’ve had to learn everything about it on my own over the years. After retiring for good five years ago, I decided to focus heavily on this major 20th century event through biographies, histories, and well-researched historical fiction. I also watched a number of documentaries which included "The War," "Band of Brothers," "The World at War," and "The Pacific" as well as all of the Extras found on the DVD sets. However, nothing I had previously seen, listened to, or read adequately covered the Italian theater. It appeared to be a rather neglected aspect of World War II, or at least it seemed so to me.

    When Rick Atkinson completed his The Liberation Trilogy on the war in Europe, I knew I had to read them all in order to piece together the European aspect of World War II. I discovered from "An Army at Dawn: The War in North Africa, 1942-1943" just how totally unprepared the United States had been when we entered this ongoing conflict--how we sent untrained troops and officers into the fray, and how much we learned through fighting with the British, against the Germans. But what of Sicily and Italy? What of the Italian Campaign?

    In this second volume, "The Day of Battle: the War in Sicily and Italy, 1943-1945" I found out more than I had expected. The arrogance, huge tactical errors, and misjudgments of many of the generals caused unbelievable suffering and unnecessary death for our troops and those of our allies in this corner of the war. I knew it had been bad, but it’s hard to conceive just how horrendous it really was. No wonder this isn’t the part of WWII we hear much about! Of course we trumpet the successful landings at Normandy in 1944 rather than those that were so nearly repelled with terrible losses at Salerno in 1943. While the courage and perseverance of the men themselves was admirable, much that they were asked to do was stupid and hopeless to the point of being shameful. It was hard to listen to, really it was.

    The author provides intricate detail, often using just the precise word, to convey the taste, smell, and misery of this time and place. He portrays the major players as he sees them from from his thorough research of the archives, and sometimes it’s not flattering. He clearly admires Eisenhower, but is certainly less impressed with Clark and Montgomery. In the end this ultimate question looms large: Was the Italian Campaign necessary? Did it further the cause of victory in Europe by occupying a significant portion of Hitler’s resources? Or was it instead a colossal, pointless waste of men and material? Atkinson poses these questions at the end of this volume, leaving it to the reader for final judgement. I’m still pondering...these are not simple questions and perhaps they are unanswerable...

    ...but I needed to read this excellent and difficult book. It taught me much that is important for me to know. It also posed additional questions that will require more reading and rumination. I am certainly motivated to soon begin the last of this trilogy, "The Guns at Last Light, The War in Western Europe, 1944-1945." First, though, I think I’ll listen to some lighter, less intense fiction in order to clear my palate before taking another plunge into WWII.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Dynasty 2: The Dark Rose

    • UNABRIDGED (21 hrs and 5 mins)
    • By Cynthia Harrod-Eagles
    • Narrated By Nigel Graham
    Overall
    (28)
    Performance
    (28)
    Story
    (23)

    1501: the turbulence of Henry VIII's reign brings passion and pain to the Morlands as they achieve ever greater wealth and prestige.Paul, great-grandson of Elanor Morland, has inherited the Morland estates, and his own Amyas is set to be his heir. But Paul fathers a beloved illegitimate son, and bitter jealousy causes a destructive rift between the two half-brothers which will lead to death.

    N. Rogers says: "Enjoyable!"
    "Enjoyable!"
    Overall
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    I loved this second in a long series of historical novels placed in northern England near York! It continued the saga of the Morland family from 1501 into the reign of young King Edward after the death of his father, Henry VIII. I love this period of English history so following the Morlands through it was especially enjoyable. I hope the next in the series will continue with Elizabeth I since she is my very favorite of all the English monarchs.

    Others have summarized the plot of this novel so I will not repeat their efforts. This is a long book, a little over 21 hours on the audiobook, but I finished listening to it in less than 4 days. Although I do have a life, I found it difficult to take off my earphones and stop this story. I guess it’s a good thing that batteries do need to be recharged occasionally. I was even happy with the ending. I read the preceding book, but this one could stand on it’s own without losing much.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • On the Beach

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 26 mins)
    • By Nevil Shute
    • Narrated By Simon Prebble
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (137)
    Performance
    (124)
    Story
    (126)

    A war no one fully understands has devastated the planet with radioactive fallout from massive cobalt bombing. Melbourne, Australia, is the only area whose citizens have not yet succumbed to the contamination. But there isn’t much time left, a few months, maybe more—and the citizens of Melbourne must decide how they will live the remaining weeks of their lives, and how they will face a hopeless future.

    Julie says: "The most emotionally moving story I have ever read"
    "Personally a Tremendous Influence"
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    This book profoundly influenced much of my life. I first read it while in high school and then again some time later. Now, after a lifetime, I listened to the audiobook. What struck me most from this most recent experience with the novel is the complete decency and sense of duty its characters displayed as they waited for a deadly inevitable cloud of radiation from nuclear war in the Northern Hemisphere to reach them in southern Australia. They clung to, or discovered, what meant most to them in their lives and continued to carry on in the face of the certain destruction of the human species. Contemporary readers may find their behavior implausible, but having grown up in the post WW II era, I see this as congruent with the values and character of that period.

    I was in college at the time of the Cuban Missile Crisis and vividly remember the sense of urgency I felt after President Kennedy’s now-famous speech where everything--my future and that of the entire world--was on the line. Afterwards I soberly rode the elevator up to my room from the dorm lounge where so many girls had watched and listened to grave and frightening announcements. Many of my companions were openly crying and beginning to despair. One of them turned to me and asked with great urgency, “What are you going to do?” I answered that I was going to study for the Sociology exam I was scheduled to take in the morning. She looked at me incredulously and exclaimed, “But we may be at war tomorrow!! We may all be dead!” I thought about her question and replied, “But we may NOT be at war, and if we are not, I will certainly have to take that exam. I can’t change anything out there, but I CAN continue with what I am here to do. I can be prepared for that test.”

    In retrospect, we all know what happened: there was no war, I took that exam, and I did pretty well on it. I learned from On the Beach, and from that Missile Crisis experience, that I needed to do my job, whatever that might be, and to do it to the best of my ability for the rest of my life regardless of what whirlwinds of craziness were swirling about me. The characters in this book knew they were going to die, and they knew when--a truly terrifying concept. Yet, as the book points out, we all know that that our condition is terminal. Our time here is finite; we each need to make ours the best, most productive, life we can, for ourselves and for those around us. There is so much that we cannot control, but we can govern ourselves. We can be true to our values as so many of Shute’s people were in this novel.

    Because I had grown up with air raid drills, “duck and cover,” under a constant threat of nuclear annihilation, this book spoke directly to me. It frightened me tremendously, but it also taught me some very important lessons that have remained an integral part of everything I have done since. Each day of life dawned with a strong sense of urgency, causing me to grasp exciting experiences and opportunities as they offered themselves. I never felt the luxury of letting them pass by perhaps for another time.

    Over these many years, I have experienced much change, both loss and gain. Some events and situations I could influence, while others I was utterly impotent to affect. I learned from this book, and from life, to direct most of my energy and efforts into those spheres where I could actually have impact, and to let the rest go by. For me this is the major lesson of On the Beach.

    The novel certainly may have also influenced those with the power to change global politics, leading them to actions which effectively avoided nuclear war and total annihilation of life as we know it on earth. That is unknowable. I only understand that, unlike the characters in On the Beach, I was granted a full life--basically a wonderful and somewhat unexpected gift.

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
  • 14

    • UNABRIDGED (12 hrs and 38 mins)
    • By Peter Clines
    • Narrated By Ray Porter
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (10927)
    Performance
    (9916)
    Story
    (9938)

    There are some odd things about Nate’s new apartment. Of course, he has other things on his mind. He hates his job. He has no money in the bank. No girlfriend. No plans for the future. So while his new home isn’t perfect, it’s livable. The rent is low, the property managers are friendly, and the odd little mysteries don’t nag at him too much. At least, not until he meets Mandy, his neighbor across the hall, and notices something unusual about her apartment. And Xela’s apartment. And Tim’s. And Veek’s.

    Magpie says: "Super solid listen!!"
    "Too Weird"
    Overall
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    This is truly a very weird book!! I usually don’t read things like “14,” but it appealed to me after I had listened to more than 40 hours of “Far From the Tree” which was pretty serious and often sad. By contrast this book is a fantasy/science fiction type, something I occasionally enjoy as a change. It certainly WAS a break from my norm, and I’m now more than ready to return to reality again, even in my choice of fiction--at least until George R.R. Martin manages to finish his sixth book in the “Song of Ice and Fire” series.

    There are a number summaries and analyses of the plot of “14” so won’t add another. It’s enough to say that I rather enjoyed the first three-quarters of the novel, but I only endured the ending. It just got too strange for me, and I couldn’t relate to either the characters or the story by then. It is like the TV series “Lost” in some ways. I found both compelling long enough that I stuck with them all the way, including their rather disappointing endings.

    In order for me to give a book more than three stars, I have to feel that I learned something proportional to the time I invested in it. Unfortunately this was not the case with “14”. However, unless I really dislike a book or hate it enough to not finish it, I rarely give less than three stars. So three stars it is for a fairly entertaining first three-quarters but a rather numbing last section and ending.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Life of Elizabeth I

    • UNABRIDGED (23 hrs and 56 mins)
    • By Alison Weir
    • Narrated By Davina Porter
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (314)
    Performance
    (275)
    Story
    (272)

    The New York Times best-selling author of The Six Wives of Henry VIII and The War of the Roses, historian Alison Weir crafts fascinating portraits of England’s infamous House of Tudor line. Here Weir focuses on Elizabeth I, also known as the Virgin Queen, who ascended to the throne at age 25 and never married, yet ruled for 44 years and steered England into its Golden Age.

    Amazon Customer says: "Inside the politics of Elizabeth I"
    "An Excellent History of the Reign of Elizabeth I"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I’ve read quite extensively on the Tudors, especially Elizabeth I. She has always fascinated me. I found The Life of Elizabeth I by Alison Weir one of the best, perhaps my favorite so far. The book covers the period from Elizabeth’s ascension to the throne at the age of 25 until her death as an old woman at 69 with just a brief overview of her earlier life to provide context. The major events of the period were woven into background information on the culture and society of England during the later part of the 16th century. The book was an excellent narrative that never bogged down, at least not for me. The narrator, Davina Porter was perfect.

    Alison Weir is a highly respected historian of the Tudors as well as an accomplished writer. I enjoy her books and learn from them, but this one stood out for me. I recommend it highly as an introduction to Elizabeth I or as a pleasant way to revisit the life of this remarkable woman for those already acquainted with her from previous study.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • The Eighty-Dollar Champion: Snowman, the Horse That Inspired a Nation

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 38 mins)
    • By Elizabeth Letts
    • Narrated By Bronson Pinchot
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (445)
    Performance
    (398)
    Story
    (396)

    November 1958, New York. Into the rarefied atmosphere of wealth and tradition at the National Horse Show in Madison Square Garden comes the most unlikely of horses—a drab white former plow horse named Snowman—and his rider, Harry de Leyer. They were the longest of all longshots—and their win was the stuff of legend.

    eddie says: "When will this story become a movie"
    "Outstanding, Inspirational, and True Story!"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    The Eighty-Dollar Champion is a book for anyone who loves horses or enjoys a true story of improbable success in the face of tremendous odds. I spent my summers as a child on my grandparents’ pony farm and was simply wild about horses so I expected to enjoy this book. I wasn’t prepared to love it so much and recommend it to nearly everyone! (Except perhaps people who REALLY hate animals.) After completing the book I doubted its veracity and assumed that the author had selectively chosen and embellished her facts for effect. However, when I checked, I found that indeed most, if not all, of it actually happened as related. If this were a fiction book, it would be considered something of a fairy tale or fantasy, but as nonfiction, it appears to hold up.

    Harry do Leyer, who immigrated from Holland after World War II with is wife and a single suitcase of belongings, purchased a broken-down gray horse from a truck headed for the slaughter house. His children named the gelding Snowman and Harry cleaned him up, fed him well, and began using him to teach girls in a local private school to ride. Through a fluke observation, Harry discovered that Snowman could jump, and jump very well. He and the horse trained rigorously, and with the support of his family, they eventually achieved the highest honors of the Show Jumping World in 1958 and beyond.

    But that is not what makes this story such a memorable one. The greatness of Harry and Snowball is the unique bond that formed between this man and this horse: the nearly silent communication, complete trust, and intense loyalty that existed between them. In addition, I learned a great deal about horses, the sport of jumping, and the culture of the 1950s and ‘60s when this all happened. I was compelled to listen, even knowing the final outcome. I can only credit Elizabeth Letts and her excellent craftsmanship with bringing this story back to life in 2011. I’d give it 10 stars if I could. I understand that a documentary movie will be coming out in 2014. I can hardly wait!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Genius of Dogs: How Dogs Are Smarter than You Think

    • UNABRIDGED (7 hrs and 58 mins)
    • By Brian Hare, Vanessa Woods
    • Narrated By Fred Sanders
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (77)
    Performance
    (70)
    Story
    (70)

    Brian Hare, dog researcher, evolutionary anthropologist, and founder of the Duke Canine Cognition Center, and Vanessa Woods offer revolutionary new insights into dog intelligence and the interior lives of our smartest pets. In the past decade, we have learned more about how dogs think than in the last century. Breakthroughs in cognitive science, pioneered by Brian Hare, have proven dogs have a kind of genius for getting along with people that is unique in the animal kingdom.

    Just says: "Barking Up The Wrong Tree"
    "Wonderful Overview of the Latest Research on Dogs"
    Overall
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    I loved The Genius of Dogs. It provided a wonderful overview of the latest research on dogs--their evolution, intelligence, training, and status in human societies. I am interested in evolutionary biology so I enjoyed Brian Hare’s discussion of dogs and humans from his perspective as an evolutionary anthropologist. I was familiar with a lot of the material from other sources, but this book presented it in a unified format and created an updated image of dogs and our relationship with them.

    The author credits an observation of his his boyhood dog, Oreo, with deciding the course of his academic and professional career. Yet he avoids the pitfalls of anthropomorphism common with many authors of dog books. He adored Oreo and his other dogs, but he loved them as dogs, not as furry human beings. He discusses canine talents, but also explains some of the shortcomings of their unique cognitive abilities. For example, dogs are excellent at reading our intentions, and “a dog is the only thing on earth that loves you more than he loves himself.” But dogs are not capable of feeling guilt when they steal food or mess in the house. We humans often perceive their affect and behavior as guilt, but experiments have shown that is not the case; they are sensing our displeasure and reacting in a submissive way to it. It is important in living and working with dogs that we understand what they are and what they are not.This book is helpful in providing that insight.

    I listened to the audiobook, but I intend to take a very close look at the print version as well. There are studies cited that I want to read and points made that will require additional reflection than is possible with audio alone. Clearly I found this book very worthwhile. It presents recent scholarly information on domestic dogs clearly and in a manner easily accessible to the layperson. However, for readers seeking a feel-good, happy pet dog story, this is probably not the one to pick up. For all others, I highly recommend it!

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Suspect

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 30 mins)
    • By Robert Crais
    • Narrated By MacLeod Andrews
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (4133)
    Performance
    (3681)
    Story
    (3679)

    LAPD cop Scott James is not doing so well, not since a shocking nighttime assault by unidentified men killed his partner, Stephanie, nearly killed him, and left him enraged, ashamed, and ready to explode. He is unfit for duty - until he meets his new partner. Maggie is not doing so well, either. The German shepherd survived three tours in Iraq and Afghanistan sniffing explosives before she lost her handler to an IED and sniper attack, and her PTSD is as bad as Scott’s. They are each other’s last chance.

    Jacqueline says: "Gripping Page Turner!!"
    "More Significant Than a Typical Thriller"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I love dogs and also a good dog tale so I really enjoyed this book. It’s the story of Maggie, German shepherd and former Military Working Dog and her new handler, Scott James, an LAPD police officer who has recently transferred to the K9 division. Both dog and man have recently lost their partners in “battle” and are suffering from the physical and emotional results of these traumas along with multiple gun shot wounds. The two bond into a “pack” as they search for the people who killed Scott’s partner.

    What most impressed me about this book is the accuracy of Robert Crasis’ description of dogs, working dogs especially. He is clearly familiar not only with German Shepherds but also with Belgian Malinois, the other primary breed used for military and police work. He knew the similarities as well as the significant differences between the breeds. Maggie's physical, intellectual, and psychological gifts unfold with the plot, and training methods are correctly incorporated. I am somewhat familiar with these amazing animals since we have been fostering Military Working Dog puppies from the DoD Breeding Program at Lackland and presently live with two gorgeous adopted Mals. I know little about police procedures and cannot judge the validity of these in the book, but what pertained to dogs rang true.

    This was my first Robert Crasis book. I’m not a fan of police or crime novels, and purchased this one only because of the working dog/law enforcement connection--and the audiobook was on special sale. However, it was a good choice for me. I had difficulty putting it down and consider my time listening to this novel well-spent. For me Suspect turned out to be far more engaging than other books I have read in this genre. The relationship that developed between Maggie and Scott elevated this from a typical thriller to something significantly more.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Unstuff Your Life: Kick the Clutter Habit and Completely Organize Your Life for Good

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 21 mins)
    • By Andrew J. Mellen
    • Narrated By Andrew J. Mellen
    Overall
    (1074)
    Performance
    (888)
    Story
    (859)

    Arguably the most organized man in America, Andrew J. Mellen has created unique, lasting techniques for streamlined living, bringing order out of chaos for a client list that includes attorneys, filmmakers, and even psychologists. With Unstuff Your Life! he puts his powerful program in the hands of his widest audience yet.

    Angela says: "My lightbulb moment"
    "Common Sense, but I Needed It!"
    Overall
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    This was a useful book for me. I wouldn’t call it enjoyable, but it was useful. Andrew Mellen clearly presented an organized, elaborate set of steps for getting rid of excess “stuff” and organizing the rest so that it can be useful again, no longer lost in the jumble of daily living. This is not something I have ever been good at, and my husband is at least as bad, so having a blueprint of ideas to follow will be helpful to both of us. It took me longer to complete this audiobook than most of the same length because I stopped to actually work on some of the tasks recommended. I also downloaded lists of tasks from his website.

    Mellen makes an excellent case for unloading many of our belongings and then putting what remains in order; while I will not follow his plan to the letter, I do intend to incorporate a lot of it into my life. I will definitely listen to specific chapters again as I attack each room of the house, the car, the carport, etc. I may even buy the print version of this book as we progress, if that seems like a good idea.

    This book has caused me to change my behavior for the better already. This morning, for example, I found some Pre-Cambrian pizza in the freezer. I had been saving it for “some day” even though we didn’t like it when we choked down the first two in a package of three. Instead of putting it back in the freezer (as I had previously done a number of times), I decided to get it out of our lives forever. I cooked and cut it up to be used as dog training treats. As I put the containers into the refrigerator, I actually labeled each so they could be found and used before they spoil. I know it’s a small step, but I felt good about it, which means I will continue to work on the detritus in my life in small steps and larger ones. (And the dogs thoroughly approve!)

    Considering the positive influence Unstuff Your Life has already had on us, why did I give it 4 stars rather than 5? It’s because I nearly stopped listening to this audiobook during the first two chapters when Mellen insisted that I answer a huge list of probing questions clearly aimed at getting to the bottom of my slovenliness. It was truly tiresome, and I would never have continued past page 10 of the print book. I know what my problem is: I have too many interests that interfere with maintaining order, and once things get out of control, it is too enormous a job to undertake--considering how much I truly hate this kind of thing. Some of his lecturing was needed in order to get me going, to make it OK for me to throw out or repurpose broken or useless items (old pizza, for example). But for me, at least, all that introspection was overdone.

    Still, I highly recommend this book if you can’t always find your car keys or if there are times you spend way too much time looking through packed closets for something to wear that actually fits. It’s all common sense, and we’ve heard most of it before, but having a workable plan laid out just might make it easier to tackle “unstuffing” your life.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Fair and Tender Ladies

    • UNABRIDGED (13 hrs and 17 mins)
    • By Lee Smith
    • Narrated By Kate Forbes
    Overall
    (206)
    Performance
    (94)
    Story
    (93)

    Author of many novels and short stories, best-selling writer Lee Smith has received numerous awards for her works, including two O. Henry Awards. Fair and Tender Ladies is an epistolary novel that traces the life of Ivy Rowe, born in the isolated Virginia mountain community of Sugar Fork.

    Vivian says: "roots"
    "A Glimpse Into a Unique Time and Place"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Fair and Tender Ladies was pure pleasure to listen to as an audiobook. The mountain dialect and soft tones performed exquisitely by narrator, Kate Forbes, brought this gentle, captivating story to life, literally transporting me to a world that existed from early 20th century Appalachia through the 1970s. I vicariously experienced some of the immense changes in American society during this time period and was able to glimpse the profound impacts that two major wars and the growth of the coal industry had on these proud mountain people. Their life was hard, but for the first time I began to understand their fierce loyalty to this beautiful but inhospitable land. I watched as their unique culture was disrupted and ultimately destroyed by “progress.”

    This is a character-driven novel. It flows lazily through the long life of Ivy Rowe and is written entirely in her letters to various family members and friends. Her tone and language develop as she grows from a very young child into an old “mountain woman.” Yet throughout it all, Ivy retains her deep love of home and family. She never loses that basic core of who she is and what Sugar Fork and its people mean to her. I respected her tremendously, and listening to her story enriched me.

    Fair and Tender Ladies is not an adventure story, and it will be a disappointment to readers expecting fast-moving plot. I’m not sure how most men will relate to it since this story is told entirely through Ivy’s unabashed perspective, and she is most definitely a woman; there is no narrator to filter and objectify Ivy’s observations and remarks. But for me that was the charm of this book; Ivy is wonderful if the reader can accept her as she is. She is funny, foolish, courageous, and wise--a delightful combination of them all. I wish she were a real person so I could spend more time listening to her and learning from her. I am extremely happy that I purchased this audiobook and took the time to hear Ivy’s story. I am better for the experience and somehow feel uplifted.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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