While visiting her Midwestern hometown after many years, workaholic Karen Grace risks a few extra days away from the office, to get reacquainted with her extended family and childhood friends. She visits the crumbling homesteads of her prairie ancestors, and rediscovers their immigrant dreams and sacrifices. When her tyrannical boss fires her, she's 1,500 miles from home, just one more middle-aged worker out of a job in a tough economy. To make matters worse, her husband just left her for his pregnant girlfriend.
At a crossroads, Karen must find the courage to change. Needing time to think, she agrees to take an elderly neighbor on one last road trip, but on a deserted highway in Wyoming, Karen is forced to make a lethal and life-changing decision.
I wrote Dakota Blues because I'm fascinated by the idea that the second half of our lives could be more powerful than we've ever imagined, but there's a problem: Our culture teaches us that our youth is the good half, and once that's over, forget it. In Dakota Blues, I try to show a woman who breaks free at midlife and struggles to win her freedom.
©2012 Lynne M. Spreen (P)2014 Lynne M. Spreen
I review books and audiobooks, mostly mystery, police procedurals, That's about it!
This is the story of a middle aged woman who has been thrust headlong into the strange and unfamiliar world of the discarded. Karen has been rejected by both her husband and her employer and in consequence, her ego has suffered a massive blow. She had thought herself well loved by her husband and also had believed she was irreplaceable at work. She was neither.
The author, Lynne Spreens, had reached midlife before finding the freedom to pursue her own lifelong dream of being a writer, this book though, her debut novel, is not about a middle aged dream chaser but, as Lynne herself puts it:
"older people who think they have the world figured out, but then something happens and they're forced to refashion a life out of the rubble that remains"
Karen had taken a few days leave to attend the funeral of her mother, and it is here in her hometown that she learns she has lost her job. Already made vulnerable by the loss of her mother, Karen had been attempting to come to terms with the loss of her old life as she new it - her own home, a loving husband and an important and all consuming job.
Not as important in the eyes of others as she once thought herself to be, Karen has huge life adjustments before her. It seemed to me that maybe Karen had developed a somewhat condescending attitude to her Midwestern family and friends, that she had pegged them as simple folk lacking the will to "improve" themselves. Yet, in a twist of fate, circumstances had forced her to lay herself bare, no high powered job or city lifestyle to hide behind she became about as vulnerable as a woman could be. Here she was though, surrounded by those she had left far behind in more ways than one, gradually rediscovering how truly strong these women are, Karen rediscovers her own true strengths.
This book has some enjoyable characters, Freida, the old lady determined to get her own way, made the road trip a little more interesting. The story, however, had some issues for me, I don't know why it was necessary to include a certain episode of, let's say involving scary men, I'm not sure what the odd couple added, if anything, and I don't know why Friedas' daughter had to be such an unlikeable and unreasonable idiot. I think the story was good enough on its own, didn't need the dramatising.
I have read that there is to be a sequel and I look forward to it, Caroline Miller is easy to listen to, has a nice, easy pace and is able to change character easily and distinctly.
This audiobook was gifted to me in return for this, my honest opinion
Delight in the journey and the struggle on the road to your dreams
A tired trite story that tosses cliches around like confetti. The female relatives of the protagonists are uninteresting stereotypes instead of people. To add to this the narrator speaks in singsong cadences that sound as if her previous experiences as a narrator was as kindergarten teacher. Avoid this one.
This audiobook will surely touch women who have faced strife and have come out the other side changed and renewed, or those who are wanting to do so. The characters are real and flawed. The situations are current and believable. The author brought the listeners into a part of the world I didn't know and made me feel like I do know it. Dakota Blues is a lot like real life in that everything doesn't always get resolved in a neat package even if we want it to.
The way it was told.
The way it was written, told, an interesting main character.
Yes, by details.
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