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Rebecca

United States
  • 12
  • reviews
  • 13
  • helpful votes
  • 48
  • ratings
  • A Note Yet Unsung

  • Belmont Mansion, Book 3
  • By: Tamera Alexander
  • Narrated by: Linda Stephens
  • Length: 17 hrs and 11 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars 219
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 201
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars 200

A master violinist trained in Vienna, Rebekah Carrington manages to wheedle her way into an audition with the maestro at the newly formed Nashville Philharmonic. But women are "far too fragile and frail" for the rigors of an orchestra, and Rebekah's hopes are swiftly dashed. Because the conductor - determined to leave his mark on the world of classical music - bows to public opinion.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Wonderful!

  • By JayVee on 02-06-17

A New Favorite

Overall
5 out of 5 stars
Performance
5 out of 5 stars
Story
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 07-04-17

I enjoyed this more than I've enjoyed a book in a long time. It was well-researched and heartwarming. It may in part have to do with my background as a musician, but it brought me to tears in places. I loved the way Ms. Alexander made the music come alive so that I could not only picture the scene, but hear it in my head. This is my new Tamera Alexander favorite! Definitely worth a listen if you enjoy inspirational historical romance!

  • Like a Flower in Bloom

  • By: Siri Mitchell
  • Narrated by: Elizabeth Sastre
  • Length: 10 hrs and 28 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 36
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 33
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 33

Charlotte tries to make headway in her town's social life but reveals herself to be unaware of all the intricacies of polite society. Though Edward pitches in, tutoring her in society's expectations, she just seems to make things worse. And the more she comes to know of her father's assistant, the more trouble she has imagining life without him. Caught in a trap of her own making and seeing the hopelessness of her prospects, will Charlotte get to keep her work, or will she have to cede her heart?

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • A Laugh Out Loud Delight!

  • By Rebecca on 05-17-15

A Laugh Out Loud Delight!

Overall
5 out of 5 stars
Performance
5 out of 5 stars
Story
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 05-17-15

"Like a Flower in Bloom" was a very pleasant surprise. I've only read a few of Siri Mitchell's other books, and have done so with mixed results, but I've never been overly crazy about any of them. I enjoy this time period, however, and the plot sounded interesting, so I thought I would give it a try. I never expected to be so charmed by the characters or the story!

Charlotte Withersby is an intelligent and endearing character who tries to fit into others' notions of the way a lady ought to behave, when all she really wants to do is continue her work in botanical research. With very little training in, or understanding of, the customs and etiquette expected, Charlotte's forays into society often result in amusing situations that had me laughing out loud more than once. Elizabeth Sastre does a brilliant job of bringing the characters to life and really conveying the personality and quirks of each one. She has done several books that I have listened to recently, and she is quickly becoming one of my favorite narrators.

Siri Mitchell has clearly done her research, and she includes a lot of information in the book. One of the issues that I have had in the past with her writing is that it can get so bogged down in detail that it detracts from the story ("A Constant Heart" comes to mind). Here, though, Mitchell shares the results of her research in a way that engages and entertains all while adding to the plot.

Although I would consider the story to be clean and inspirational, it was not terribly religious. I realize people have different views on that (I personally prefer a bit more of a spiritual message, but I know others don't). God is mentioned and there are a few religious conversations, mainly because one of the characters is a rector, but I definitely never felt like I was being preached at. Ultimately, the main takeaway is that you should be true to yourself because, to borrow the wisdom of one Dr. Seuss, "Those who mind don't matter and those who matter don't mind."

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Mist of Midnight

  • By: Sandra Byrd
  • Narrated by: Elizabeth Sastre
  • Length: 10 hrs and 41 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 56
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 53
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 53

In the first of a brand-new series set in Victorian England, a young woman returns home from India after the death of her family to discover her identity and inheritance are challenged by the man who holds her future in his hands.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Inspirational, Romantic, and Mysterious

  • By Rebecca on 05-04-15

Inspirational, Romantic, and Mysterious

Overall
5 out of 5 stars
Performance
5 out of 5 stars
Story
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 05-04-15

Mist of Midnight was a pleasant surprise for me. I read and enjoyed Sandra Byrd's "French Twist" series (which sadly no longer seems to be available on Audible) awhile ago, but this was a very different genre, and so I wasn't quite sure what to expect. In my opinion, however, Byrd skillfully weaves an inspirational romance with a Gothic mystery in this story of Rebecca Ravenshaw, an English lady who has spent most of her life with her missionary parents in India. Despite the (understandable) questions after the murder of her parents in the Indian Mutiny, Rebecca, with the help of some of those around her, manages to stay strong in her faith. In so doing, she demonstrates Christian love and forgiveness in a way that teaches without being preachy. This, combined with a sweet romance, a slightly spooky mystery and Elizabeth Sastre's wonderful narration, made for an engaging story that has me eagerly awaiting the next book in the series.

I would recommend this to anyone who enjoys inspirational historical romance, but most especially those who are fans of Julie Klassen.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Renegade Husband

  • By: DiAnn Mills
  • Narrated by: uncredited
  • Length: 5 hrs and 18 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 38
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 34
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 35

One of your favorite inspirational romances, Renegade Husband, is now available as a complete and unabridged audiobook. When Audra moves to frontier Colorado to marry the local pastor, she is assured a life of adventure.

  • 2 out of 5 stars
  • Didn't live up to its potential

  • By Rebecca on 01-25-14

Didn't live up to its potential

Overall
2 out of 5 stars
Performance
2 out of 5 stars
Story
2 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 01-25-14

I wanted to like this book. Although I thought the title was a little cheesy, it sounded like an interesting premise, and so I decided to give it a try. Unfortunately, however, it wasn't very well-executed, either in writing or narration.

"Renegade Husband" is a story about Audra, a Nebraska girl looking for an adventure. When her pastor suggests she move out to the Colorado territory to marry one of his sons, also a pastor, she is eager for the opportunity to experience something new and exciting. She winds up in the midst of more adventure than she bargained for when her stage is held up on the way to her new home. It turns out that not everything is as it seems as she finds herself caught between twin brothers, one who, to quote Jane Austen, "has got all the goodness, and the other all the appearance of it."

My problem with this story was that everything about it felt rushed. Without more of a chance to get to know the characters, it was difficult to find their actions and choices believable. The romance aspect was very fast-paced, and it seemed as though Audra went from a strong dislike of the hero one minute to fervent devotion the next. The several points in the story that could have been suspenseful weren't because they ended so quickly with little, if any, description of the action, and the resolution was so brief that I probably would have been checking the battery on my ipod had it not been for the "Audible hopes you have enjoyed this program."

I'm not sure who was reading (it doesn't say in the site's book info or in the book itself), but she is definitely not my favorite narrator. Although she's clear enough, I wasn't a huge fan of her voices, and she has a habit of plowing through spots where there should be slightly longer pauses, either because of a change of thought (like a new paragraph) or change of time. It left me feeling like I was left behind and had to hurry to catch up. You can get some idea of what I'm talking about by listening to preview, but I found it got worse later in the book. This may not be a big deal to some, but I found it irritating and distracting.

The one thing I did appreciate about this story was the message of forgiveness and also of following God's plan rather than making plans and expecting Him to bless them. I've read similar messages in better-written books, though, so unless you enjoy this fast-paced kind of story, I'd recommend looking elsewhere.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Where the Heart Leads

  • By: Kim Vogel Sawyer
  • Narrated by: Rachel Botchan
  • Length: 11 hrs and 57 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 111
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 94
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 90

With a college diploma safely in hand, 20-year-old Thomas Ollenburger is torn between his Mennonite roots on the Kansas prairie and his affluent life in Boston society - and by romantic entanglements in each world. And now even Heaven seems deaf to questions about his choices of vocation, wife, and home.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Not as good as "Waiting for Summer's Return"

  • By Shirley on 01-30-12

An engaging coming-of-age tale

Overall
5 out of 5 stars
Performance
4 out of 5 stars
Story
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 01-11-14

"Where the Heart Leads" is the second book in Kim Vogel Sawyer's "Heart of the Prairie" series. While you could read this as a stand-alone book, if you haven't read the first book, "Waiting for Summer's Return," I would suggest you start there.

In "Where the Heart Leads," we see Thomas Ollenburger all grown up and facing the decisions that accompany becoming a man. Now that he has experienced city life and started establishing ties in Boston, he needs to decide whether he wants to stay there or return to Kansas, where his family still lives.

It was nice to see the Ollenburgers established as a family after what felt like a bit of a hasty ending in "Waiting for Summer's Return." They are the kind of characters you grow to love, and I was glad we got to spend quite a bit of time, not only with Thomas, but also with Peter and Summer.

My favorite part of the book, however, was watching Thomas grow in his faith. The struggles he faced are ones that are still extremely relevant today. Where should he live? What should he choose as his career? Which girl should he marry? How does God fit into it all? There were times when I wished I could reach in and shake some sense into him, but don't we all go through periods where we don't make the best choices? Seeing Thomas handle the consequences of his actions really made me think and was part of what made this such a satisfying story. As an added bonus, there were several plot twists that I hadn't expected. Some might argue it made everything a little too neat and tidy at the end, but honestly, I like my stories to have happy endings.

To respond to another reviewer who was criticizing the narrator, I'm glad I didn't let that opinion affect my decision to buy this book. While I agree that Barbara Caruso is wonderful, I thought Rachel Botchan was good, too. She did a nice job with the voices, and I thought she especially captured the character of Daphne perfectly.

Overall, if you enjoyed getting to know the Ollenburgers in "Waiting for Summer's Return," I think you will also enjoy continuing their story in "Where the Heart Leads."

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Waiting for Summer's Return

  • By: Kim Vogel Sawyer
  • Narrated by: Barbara Caruso
  • Length: 11 hrs and 43 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 365
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 252
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 251

Suddenly all alone in 1894 Kansas, Summer Steadman can't find the employment she needs to settle near the fresh graves of her husband and four children. Bitter against the Lord and refusing to eat, she collapses in despair. Remembering his own painful loss, godly widower Peter Ollenbuger offers her food and shelter for tutoring his 10-year-old son.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Wonderful

  • By California Rose on 04-04-07

Gentle story of love and second chances

Overall
4 out of 5 stars
Performance
5 out of 5 stars
Story
4 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 01-11-14

This was my first experience with Kim Vogel Sawyer, and I am looking forward to reading more of her writing. "Waiting for Summer's Return" is the story of a woman who feels God has abandoned her after the deaths of her husband and children on their way out west. When she is taken in by the Ollenburgers, she begins to see how life can go on after such loss, and even how God can bring good out of the bad.

I enjoy Barbara Caruso as a narrator, and I think she did a wonderful job here. For the most part, I also enjoyed Sawyer's writing. I thought her message of healing and hope was a powerful one. My one complaint is that she had a tendency to gloss over fairly large periods of time in which the characters grow and develop or in which significant events take place. I would have liked to experience more of those times as they happened rather than learning about them afterwards, as I feel that makes for a more satisfying story. As a result, I thought the ending felt a little forced. Overall, however, the story was a sweet one and I look forward to continuing the series. Perhaps this technique will grow on me.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Lost in Lone Creek

  • Lone Creek Ranch, Book 1
  • By: Mary Manners
  • Narrated by: Rick Pasqualone
  • Length: 1 hr and 50 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    3.5 out of 5 stars 6
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 4
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars 5

Carson Merrill loves only one thing more than Lone Creek Ranch - high school sweetheart Jessica Tate. He has plans to marry her, until one fateful night a devastating accident nearly kills her brother, James, and claims the use of his legs. Jessica flees to Nashville, blaming Carson for her brother’s paralysis. She avoids him - and James - for more than a year. Jessica returns to Lone Creek as one of the top producing land developers in the area, and she has one goal.

  • 2 out of 5 stars
  • Too short to achieve much

  • By Rebecca on 06-21-13

Too short to achieve much

Overall
2 out of 5 stars
Performance
4 out of 5 stars
Story
2 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 06-21-13

Despite the fact that it's less than 2 hours long, it took me 3 days to finish this story. Normally, I look for something to do (usually housework) so that I have an excuse to listen to a book, but not this time. I think the idea behind the story was decent and could have been pulled off well had the author given herself time to flesh out the characters. Instead we got little snapshots here and there that gave me no chance to become emotionally invested in their lives.

I found Jessica to be annoying from the very beginning. I didn't see why Carson would be in love with her in the first place and why he would still be pining for her after more than a year apart. That was addressed somewhat in the backstory, but I find it hard to believe that someone would change so drastically with the single event described (as her brother said, if anyone had a right to be mad at the world, it was him, not her). Maybe if we had been able to experience those circumstances with Jessica in something like a prologue, I would have felt differently, but the way the information was meted out over the course of the story didn't make me feel any sympathy for her at all. Instead, I thought it just made her come off as shallow, immature and self-centered.

I probably would have been able to overlook that issue had the story of Jessica's transformation been more exciting, or inspirational, or at the very least interesting, but it really wasn't. Instead, it fell flat in every potential area.

Most obviously this was supposed to be a story of a couple rediscovering their love for each other (it is a romance, after all), but the scenes between Jessica and Carson are stilted and unbelievable. There was very little chemistry between the two of them, and their ultimate reconciliation left me rolling my eyes rather than sharing in their excitement.

Then too, this was supposed to be a story of an estranged brother and sister rebuilding their relationship. They had several years' worth of hurt between them, but they dealt with it over the course of one conversation and that was it. We didn't get to see much happening between Jessica and James after that.

Finally, this was supposed to be a story of faith, but the only character that we see actively living out his faith is James. Even then, there are only a handful of places where that comes into play, and it seemed to be done more as an afterthought rather than being woven into the fabric of the story.

Ultimately, I think it all boiled down to the fact that we didn't get to see very much of the action ourselves. The majority of the scenes in the story were conversations between characters describing something that had happened (whether in the distant or recent past). I think this could have been a much more effective story of healing and forgiveness if the author had done more showing and less telling. Instead we are left with what feels like an outline of a story waiting for someone to come along and fill in the blanks.

The foundation was clearly laid for more books in the series (Carson has 3 younger brothers, after all). They sound good in theory, but if they're anything like the first one, I'm going to be skipping them. I'll be looking for something more engrossing to get my cleaning done in the future.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

Let Them Eat Cake audiobook cover art
  • Let Them Eat Cake

  • French Twist, Book 1
  • By: Sandra Byrd
  • Narrated by: Carine Montbertrand
  • Length: 9 hrs and 18 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    3.5 out of 5 stars 44
  • Performance
    3.5 out of 5 stars 30
  • Story
    3.5 out of 5 stars 30

In Sandra Byrd's Christy Award finalist Let Them Eat Cake, recent college graduate Lexi Stuart can't seem to earn a living wage or find Mr. Right. Forced to move back home, Lexi works at a bakery - hoping for a promotion and perhaps more from its handsome proprietor. But when she learns her parents are selling their house and her boss isn't what he seems to be, she doesn't know where to turn.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • A "Sweet" journey of faith and self-discovery

  • By Rebecca on 01-09-13

A "Sweet" journey of faith and self-discovery

Overall
4 out of 5 stars
Performance
4 out of 5 stars
Story
4 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 01-09-13

Alexandra "Lexi" Stuart is 24 and has just moved back in with her parents because she is unable to keep a job. She feels like a complete failure in her professional, personal, and spiritual life, especially when compared to her soon-to-be-wed older brother (a lawyer). Things start to change, however, when she lands a job at L'esperance bakery and starts attending church again. Through a series of ups and downs, Lexi learns to love her neighbor, to live at peace with others, and she starts to realize what can happen when she lets go and trusts God to know what's best for her.

The main reason that I got this book was that the second one caught my eye, but I figured I should start at the beginning. I'm glad I gave this one a listen. Although I didn't feel that I had a lot in common with Lexi, I found myself cheering for her as she matured into someone that cared less about herself and more about others. I thought there were some very good lessons for women of any age in this story, and a few good recipes to boot!

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • A Matter of Character

  • The Sisters of Bethlehem Springs
  • By: Robin Lee Hatcher
  • Narrated by: Kathy Garver
  • Length: 7 hrs and 42 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 26
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 20
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 20

In A Matter of Character, by award-winning author Robin Lee Hatcher, the year is 1918 and writing gritty dime novels simply isn't done by a woman. So Daphne McKinley - smart, pretty, talented - publishes her rough-and-tumble books under a male pseudonym. But when a newspaperman enlists her aid in restoring his grandfather's good name, Daphne finds herself re-examining the power of her words and reconsidering the direction of her life.

  • 3 out of 5 stars
  • Interesting story - terrible narrator

  • By Mlady on 07-31-10

My favorite of the series

Overall
4 out of 5 stars
Performance
3 out of 5 stars
Story
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 01-05-13

I really enjoyed the opportunity to get to know Daphne in this final book of the "Sisters of Bethlehem Springs" series. There was a lot more to her than we saw in the previous two books, and while I liked Gwen and Cleo, Daphne ended up being my favorite of the three heroines, and Daphne and Joshua my favorite of the three couples. I loved how neither of them was perfect, but they were able to help each other grow and develop, especially in their faith. I was drawn in immediately by the conflict between Daphne and Joshua and enjoyed seeing how everything ended up being resolved, with laugh-out-loud moments along the way. My one complaint about the story (and about Robin Lee Hatcher in general) was that it was too short. I would have liked for Robin to flesh out some of the details in the days or weeks she just glossed over, as I think it would have made the ending even more satisfying.

Kathy Garver is still not my favorite narrator, but after three books with her, I've found it easier to ignore her somewhat creepy male voices and sometimes random accents and just enjoy the story. They've become more like a humorous quirk and less like an annoying distraction, to the point where I might even try another book of hers if the story sounds compelling enough.

Overall, I really enjoyed this book and would recommend the series to fans of Christian historical fiction. One thing that I do really like about Robin Lee Hatcher is the way that she portrays the faith of her characters in believable and relatable ways, and I thought this book (and series in general) was a great example of that.

  • Fit to Be Tied

  • The Sisters of Bethlehem Springs
  • By: Robin Lee Hatcher
  • Narrated by: Kathy Garver
  • Length: 7 hrs and 33 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 55
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 34
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 34

It’s 1916, and Idaho rancher Cleo Arlington knows everything about horses but nothing about men. So when charged with transforming English aristocrat Sherwood Statham from playboy into cowboy, she’s totally disconcerted. So is Statham, who’s never encountered a woman succeeding in a “man’s world.” Their bumpy trot into romance is frustrating, exhilarating, and ultimately heartwarming.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • perky

  • By Susan on 11-22-10

Not bad, but liked the first one better

Overall
3 out of 5 stars
Performance
3 out of 5 stars
Story
3 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 01-05-13

I started "Fit to Be Tied" almost as soon as I finished "A Vote of Confidence," but I found I didn't enjoy this one as much as I did the first book in the series. It's a cute story, but the character development made it feel a little implausible to me.

While I liked Cleo, I had a harder time identifying with her than I did with Gwen. I think it was what seemed to me to be her conflicting character traits. On one hand, she's a tomboy most at home wrangling horses and herding cattle who can't stand being in a dress. At the same time, however, she really wants to find a husband and have children. While I don't believe that it's impossible for those two desires to exist in the same person, I didn't feel that Robin Lee Hatcher did a great job of reconciling the two.

I think the thing that keeps Robin Lee Hatcher from being one of my favorite authors is the way that she glosses over what seem to me to be major parts of the story. This was especially true in Sherwood's case. Without giving too much away, supposedly he underwent a major transformation in the book, but we never really saw that happen. We just saw him one way, and then suddenly he was different. I felt the same way about the relationship between Cleo and Sherwood. Because of that, I still have a hard time really picturing them as a couple.

One advantage that "Fit to Be Tied" had over "A Vote of Confidence," however, was the narration. I think Kathy Garver had an easier time distinguishing between the male and female voices in this book without going too overboard. Some of the characters still had the creepy, vocal fry type voice from the first book, but at least she didn't have to do that with Sherwood, since she could set him apart with an English accent.

Overall, I thought "Fit to Be Tied" was a pleasant read to continue the series, but only because I was already acquainted with the characters and the town. If this had been the first book in the trilogy, I'm not sure that I would have continued with the rest of them.