Buckle up your Birkenstocks and travel back to 1975. Discover (or relive) the pre-digital age in Arcata, a remote Bohemian college town on the northern edge of California. Meet Kit, a hard-working, bookish senior, on track for graduation - that is, until she falls for Jonathan, one-time bestselling author, now her stand-in professor. Jonathan, a master in the art of deception, isn't who he appears to be. As their bond grows, Kit's desire blinds her to the truth - a shocking discovery shatters her faith and ultimately tests her integrity. From the first blush of fall quarter to the final breath of spring, hard lessons will be learned. To "graduate" into an uncertain future, Jonathan and Kit must first embrace the present - including the injustices, ambiguities, and absolute beauty of their lives. Beneath the ever-changing Humboldt skies they forge ahead; they stumble and sometimes fall. Heliotrope, a coming-of age story for the ages.
What did you love best about Heliotrope?
I loved the incredibly descriptive storytelling. I saw, heard, smelled and enjoyed everything about it.
What did you like best about this story?
I didn't want it to end...
Which scene was your favorite?
I can't decide on a favorite scene, but I can say that I loved the development of various relationships...especially that of Kit and Milo.
Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?
Any additional comments?
I would love more audibles from JC Miller
1 of 1 people found this review helpful
What disappointed you about Heliotrope?
The weak writing.
What do you think your next listen will be?
Probably a classic.
Would you listen to another book narrated by Ann Simmons?
What character would you cut from Heliotrope?
All of them.
Any additional comments?
It takes skill to write about mundane things and have them be interesting to the reader and this author was not up to it.
What made the experience of listening to Heliotrope the most enjoyable?
I enjoyed listening to the narrator's interpretation of the characters voices and her chosen intonations. Having read the book before hearing it on Audible, it was fun to compare how I had heard things in my head with the way the narrator presented. I enjoy the way JC Miller weaves the lives and experiences of many characters into one blossoming story. Each character comes across with strength and their own particular quirkiness.
What was one of the most memorable moments of Heliotrope?
I was struck by the different kind of life lived in the 1970s, without digital technology. It was refreshing to see the characters communicating without the constant contact that the internet, texting and other digital technology provide.This is a very enjoyable read and I'd highly recommend it!
Have you listened to any of Ann Simmons’s other performances before? How does this one compare?
This is the first Ann Simmons performance I have listened to.
Any additional comments?
I liked hearing the author's comments at the end of the story!
The audiobook of J C Miller’s marvellous novel, "The To-Do List", had me chomping at the bits to know more of her work, particularly under the deft hand of narrator Sara K Sheckells.
"Heliotrope" is an earlier work and set in an earlier period that’s harder to relate to in today’s more enlightened age but, after a relatively slow start, the novel kicks off to become almost as engrossing.
It’s the 1970s, an age when morals were more rigid, homosexuality was still taboo and dyslexia was just starting to be recognised. Father and estranged husband, Jonathan, is a best-selling author, college lecturer and closet homosexual. His star student, Kit, forms a romantic attachment to him which sets in motion a chain of events that threatens to expose his secret and set Kit on a path of redemption and self-discovery.
J C Miller once again excels in developing detailed and believable characters who are driven by their own foibles but striving to be better. While the plot of "Heliotrope" is slow to start, the intricate relationships between Jonathan, Kit and several other main players soon pushes the storyline into a dramatic conundrum where there’s much to lose if the characters don’t choose the right path.
Ann Simmons does a fine job as the narrator, with enough variation to make the characters distinct and their motivations believable. There’s nothing to dislike about her narration but nothing exceptional to latch onto either. She does a good job and she does the book justice but, unlike many other narrators who embody the moment or the characters, her work is not memorable. I recall, for example, the first time I heard Steven Pacey and Rupert Degas narrate audiobooks. I was so blown away by their talent that I actively sought out any other books they’d narrated. Ann Simmons does the job and she does it very well but, by the end of your next audiobook, you won’t remember her name. It’s the difference between being good and being notable. “Good” is more than acceptable but it’s not exceptional.
I would recommend JC Miller’s “The To-Do List” well above this novel. I LOVED “The To-Do List” but only liked “Heliotrope”. You can read my review of “The To-Do List” on my audiobook website at SaidNotRead dot wordpress dot com, where you’ll find lots of other reviews and articles too. After listening to the audiobook of "Heliotrope" I remain a big fan of J C Miller's writing and hope to hear more of her books in the future.
I received this audiobook for free in exchange for an honest review. I really enjoyed the story, the characters, and the color/description. The narrator was extremely monotone and did not add anything to the entertainment value. However, her voice was pleasant enough that it wasn't too distracting.