Set in 1940s Appalachia, The Secret Sense of Wildflower tells the story of Louisa May "Wildflower" McAllister, whose life has been shaped around the recent death of her beloved father in a sawmill accident. While her mother hardens in her grief, Wildflower and her three sisters must cope with their loss themselves, as well as with the demands of daily survival. Despite these hardships, Wildflower has a resilience that is forged with humor, a love of the land, and an endless supply of questions to God. When Johnny Monroe, the town's teenage ne'er-do-well, sets his sights on Wildflower, she must draw on the strength of her relations, both living and dead, to deal with his threat.
With prose as lush and colorful as the American South, The Secret Sense of Wildflower is powerful and poignant, brimming with energy and angst, humor and hope. In its ability to create a truly original Southern voice, The Secret Sense of Wildflower establishes Gabriel as a thoughtful and powerful Southern writer.
©2012 Susan Gabriel (P)2012 Susan Gabriel
"A quietly powerful story, at times harrowing but ultimately a joy to read." (Kirkus Reviews, starred review and voted a Best Book of 2012)
"In this the story about a young girl who must grow up faster than her time and make peace with several factors there is also mystery and drama along with the palpable female protagonist and soulful narrative to keep the reader emotionally charged and invested. The Secret Sense of Wildflower is eloquent and moving tale chock-filled with themes of inner strength, family and love." (indiereader.com)
"The story is powerful, very powerful. Excellent visuals, good drama. I raced to get to the conclusion...but didn't really want to read the last few pages because then it would be over!" (author Nancy Purcell)
This is a character-driven coming of age story that I am told reads well. It's a real chore to listen to it.
Her voice is not well suited to the task at hand. She sometimes seems unfamiliar with the text (and she wrote it). The performance is monotonous and drains the story of color. A better recording might have screened out her audible respiration, sighs, stumbles, traffic noise, and the odd break when she says "beeeeeeep" and can be heard walking away. Why wasn't this edited out?
After reading the negative reviews about the narration, I was hesitant to invest in it, but I needed to read this for a book club. The book itself is well reviewed nationally, and my book club members who read the book (as opposed to listening to it) loved it. As an audiobook it is one of the most annoying things I've had to listen to. Another narrator would have rounded out the main character (as it is, she sounds like Eeyore) and made this a much better listen. Spoiler alert: readers should be aware the plot revolves around a brutal attack and sexual assault on a 13 year old girl in the mountains of Tennessee.
Perhaps if I had read this instead of listening to it, I would have liked it. Dull, monotone, drone expressionless narration.
Story is OK, but not gripping or especially literary.
boring. almost quit on her
I wanted to like this book when I started listening to the audible version, and it had a promising start. Unfortunately, the author's narration and the technical production were really poor. The author's voice does not match the main character (a 12-13 year old girl), and she read in nearly a monotone with very little expression. In at least 3 instances the narration was interrupted by some technical issue, including what might be most of one of the last 3 or 4 chapters.
I really like coming-of-age stories and southern literature. Even with the poor narration, the beginning of the novel, the character development, the building of tension and place were good enough to keep me reading. My biggest disappointment came in the tidy, abrupt ending, possibly because of the missing chapter. Perhaps some page limit had been reached?
I was also hoping that Wildflower's "secret sense" would have played a more important part in the novel.
A bookworm for over 50 years!
Spunky, smart southern girl overcomes adversity.
The final scene with her mother is very moving.
That would have to be Wildflower, of course. She's the main character and the story is written in first person.
I recommend this to those who are tired of listening to badly written novels and want a lyrical, suspenseful story that is hard to forget. Southern literary fiction at its best.
The narrator. It is never good when an author reads their own books and this monotone rendition is almost painful.
No. It was a very good book and was well written.
I liked that it was told in a first person voice of a 13 year old girl.
No! Even though she is the author, she is a poor narrator. Her voice is monotone and there is frequent stops in the book. You can hear her turn the pages. One time she stopped and did something... A sneeze? I couldn't make it out.
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