A Connecticut heiress learns she's adopted and travels to northern Florida "cracker" cattle ranch to find her birth parents. There she also finds unexpected romance with the ranch's owner.
©2007 Deborah Smith (P)2012 BelleBooks, Inc.
I have a real crazy in love relationship with books!!!
Probably around the middle. I mean it was a good book for sure, but I have read/listened to a lot and this one isn't my favorite.
Probably when everyone learned the truth about "Karen."
I have not but I like her perspective on things. I like that she made people with disabilities a big part of her story and showed how beautiful they are too. It was quite touching and very sweet.
"At the heart of it...."
I really enjoyed reading this book. I think the narration was great and the story was very tender. If you are looking for something a little different, then I would definitely recommend this.
The premise of a rancher who treats developmentally delayed people as valued, loved, normal. The book has everything money can't buy and everything i'd do if I hit the lottery!
Karen's bird, Mr. Darcy taking to the young man with Down Syndrome and the love and humor between everyone on the ranch. Loved Mac & Lilly and their obsessions with daisies! Loved Joey and his happy ending!
When Karen verbally sparred with the rich evil spoiled brat, Tammy Jackson.
A story of love and finding the way home...
Love Deborah Smith. This has been my favorite so far!
the reader didn't change the tone from female to male which made following who was talking difficult Should have used a male voice for the male parts and it would have been so much better..a good story and good book.
This is one of the good things about the $4.95 sales, I get to read authors that might not strike my fancy at a higher price. This was a "nice" story and it held my interest. The narrator wasn't very good because she maintained the same voice throughout the story for Karen and Ben; it was hard to tell who was talking sometimes.
This story could have been excellent, but the narration was not good. I had some trouble telling if the speaker was a male or female. I had to wait to get the context to figure out who was talking. Too bad, because the story was good and I would have enjoyed it a lot more with a different reader.
I read so I can write
The story is not very deep but is enjoyable. It is well written. The narrator is a little dramatic and her accents are more Georgia than Florida. All in all it makes for a pleasant listen. It's worth a credit.
I have read other Deborah Smith books and loved them... this book seemed a bit far fetched and predictable.
The audio was terrible. There so many voice-overs that it was distracting. The narrator's voice would have been better received had it not been for the poor audio quality.
well first, this is listed in romances... where's the romance? I'm over half way thru with listening to this book and I'm wondering where the attraction is. As another reviewer noted, there are to many stories as part of the book and the romance is overshadowed by everything else.
I thought the narrator was fine. She does a good job with the various voices. It's a little annoying to hear the handicapped boy voice at times, but one has to understand that is how those type of children talk in the first place.
I haven't finished it yet, so I'll say that I only paid 4.95 for it, so it's not that huge of a loss.
I purchased this book because the story line was intriguing. There are many good reviews for it as well so that really helped in my decision, but I am quite surprised, I am totally bored by it. If this had been a book I had to actually read, I would never have finished it.
Probably not. The story was very far fetched. The author covered too many themes at one time--destruction of the environment, special needs people, and veganism, to name a few. The plot was overshadowed.
I will probably choose a work by an author and narrator that have already proven their craft to me.
The quality of the recording was awful. The voiceovers were innumerable and very distracting. At times, she sounded as if she were at the bottom of a barrel. Also, her Spanish pronunciation was very inaccurate. I will definitely make sure she is NOT the narrator in any future audiobook I purchase.
I only paid $4.95 for it.
3.5 happy stars for this heartwarming and sometimes amusing piece. It's fairly predictable, but I chuckled several times. This author also wrote A Place to Call Home, which has been compared to The Sweet Gum Tree. I liked a Place to Call Home a little more than this book, in some ways.
Only 2 stars for the audio narration by Suzy Harbulak. The story is told in 1st person, shifting frequently, abruptly, and within chapters from Ben's POV to Kara's. In the narration, there is no pause and no clear change in inflection to indicate a perspective shift, but in the book, the POV shifts are formatted in bold font, labeled either Ben or Kara. After a while, I learned how to listen closely for the POV shifts, but the narrator made it very difficult. She talks fast and everything sounds much the same. I suggest re-narrating this book, with Julia Whelan.
This story is set in contemporary North-Central Florida, at The Thocco Ranch. At his ranch, Ben Thocco employs adults with Down's Syndrome, autism, etc.
If you like your romances to include only a few fade-out sex scenes, with a solid sense of place (descriptive setting) and a strong feeling of community spirit in the secondary characters, this might be for you. Much of the tension comes from a somewhat understandable deception underlying most of the book, and from Ben's fears for his dying brother, Joey. The lead characters should have talked openly about Joey's prognosis, but Ben, born to Seminole Indian traditions, felt speaking the words aloud would lend them power. I think he was in denial, too. So, okay.
Be warned, the writing feels a bit pretentious, like Smith was trying just a smidge too hard. There are metaphors and similes (some don't make sense to me), many Southern-isms, and brief discourses on the flora, fauna, and history of Florida: her discovery, her pirates, and her famous "cracker horses" (descended from a Spanish breed).
Because I read this book, I was moved to google images of "cracker horses" and "saw palmetto" (knee-high plant with deadly sharp blades and nasty thorns). So, I learned something.
Character List, No Spoilers
There are many characters. In audio version, the narrator does not give her characters distinct voices. She also speaks fast, so it's hard to keep track of people. From my own notes, below is my character list. No plot spoilers!
Kara Whittenbrooke, age 32, is a wealthy Connecticut heiress who gew up on a Brazilian land preserve and studied library science at Yale. Like her beloved parents (Elizabeth and Charles) she speaks many languages and cares deeply about the environment. A vegan, she's skilled at gourmet cooking and also plays the harp. She stuttered as a child and was called Porky. After her parents die, she discovers that she was adopted.
Sedge and Malcolm: Assisted by Sedge (an aristocratic old family retainer) and his legal assistant Malcolm, Kara goes incognito as Karen Johnson to find her biological parents, Mac Tolbert and his life-long friend and lover, Lily.
Uncle William, her father's brother, is Senator Whittenbrooke.
Ben Thocco, age 38, owns the Thocco Ranch in North-Central Florida. A former champion wrestler, he takes care of his younger brother Joey, dying of heart failure and unable to get a transplant cuz he has Down's Syndrome. At his ranch, Ben employs about seven people with special needs. He keeps a love shack hidden away on his spread, where four rotating lovers take turns adoring him. (yup. Every Saturday night).
Mac and Lily are Kara's biological parents. They work at Thocco Ranch and are mentally impaired due to Fetal Alcohol Syndrome and Shaken Baby Syndrome. Mac's family is wealthy, but he is left out in the cold, thanks to the despicable Glen Tolbert, Mac's brother. Lily is Ben's housekeeper. She does all the ranch laundry and loves daisies (I could see where the daisies were going). Mac stutters, is shy, and utterly devoted to Lily. He's a big strong ranch hand. His love for Lily made me smile. It feels good. Lily returned all his love, too.
Glen Tolbert is Mac's older brother. He plays the role of antagonist, abusing his role as Mac's legal guardian. A nasty piece of work, but rich and influential.
Lula & Miriam are sisters with some nursing training, hired to care for Joey. Older, 60ish. Lula sleeps w Cheech or BigFoot, alternatively, saying "their heads may not work right, but everythig else is just fine" ( ew!). The sisters were mermaids at Weeki Wachi Theme Park outside Tampa. (I've been there recently and seen the mermaid show. No alligator, unfortunately).
Cheech, a Cuban cowboy, always with camera. Only eats ranch chow. Makes optimum horse feed, according to the text, but we never see him do it, not even for the prized gray mare. I think he has Down's Syndrome, like Joey.
Big Foot won some prize in the Special Olympics. He's a gentle giant with Down's who works for Ben.
Possum is a small autistic man who hides from the terrors of society by retreating to small spaces (under the table, in a box, etc.). He is good at calming the animals, according to the text, but he never does any calming in the story that I know of, and certainly not with the main animal character, a horse.
Roy & Dale are married. We are told they have a special healing touch with young animals, but I never saw that happen in the story. They have Spinal Bifuda and dress like Roy Rogers & Dale Evans. Dale just loves her Jesus.
Joey's dog is Rhubarb. The cat's name escapes me. Something like Grub. There is also Gator.
The key animal character is a severely abused but still young gray mare, a cracker horse with a scarred face. She plays a big role in the story, and eventually goes by the name Estrela. Kara speaks Portuguese to calm the horse.
TJ (or was it JT?) Jackson is a rich developer, the typical fat-cat antagonist, rude, racist, entitled, just like his daughter Tammi-Jo. Tammi-Jo is just plain ugly, in the Southern dialect referring to her nature -- her language and behavior. She is a champion barrel-racer (but Karen is gonna give her a run for her money). The main antagonists in the plot are these two Jacksons and Glen Tolbert, Mac's brother.
Phil is Ben's friend. His past is murky. Formerly, an undercover op? Maybe a mercenary. He owns the Roadkill Bar and Grill.
Cap LaRoi (real name is Arn Leroy) likes playing pirate games with all his wealth. Some vivid scenes at his Texas Hold-Em Tournament, complete with naked dancing girls and a $50k prize. Funny, too.
There are no listener reviews for this title yet.
Report Inappropriate Content