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Publisher's Summary

Diane McKinney-Whetstone's nationally best-selling novel, Tumbling, immersed us into Philadelphia's black community during the civil rights era, and she returns to the city in this new historical novel about a cast of 19th-century characters whose colorful lives intersect at the legendary Lazaretto - America's first quarantine hospital.

Isolated on an island where two rivers meet, the Lazaretto quarantine hospital is the first stop for immigrants who wish to begin new lives in Philadelphia. The Lazaretto's black live-in staff forge a strong social community, and when one of them receives permission to get married on the island the mood is one of celebration, particularly since the white staff - save the opium-addicted doctor - are given leave for the weekend. On the eve of the ceremony, a gunshot rings out across the river. A white man has fired at a boat carrying the couple's friends and family to the island, and the captain is injured. His life lies in the hands of Sylvia, the Lazaretto's head nurse, who is shocked to realize she knows the patient.

Intertwined with the drama unfolding at the Lazaretto are the fates of orphan brothers. When one brother commits a crime to protect the other, he imperils both of their lives - and the consequences ultimately deliver both of them to the Lazaretto.

In this masterful work of historical fiction, Diane McKinney-Whetstone seamlessly transports us to Philadelphia in the aftermath of the Civil War and Lincoln's assassination, beautifully evoking powerful stories of love, friendship, and humanity amid the vibrant black community that flourished amid the troubled times.

©2016 Diane McKinney-Whetstone (P)2016 HarperCollins Publishers

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

Overall

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  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

Interesting characters; Interesting plot

What did you love best about Lazaretto?

I feel like I got in-depth knowledge about the characters of the story. I could picture them in my head because they were written so descriptively.

Who was your favorite character and why?

Meda was my favorite character. Even thought she'd been through some heavy things, it did not diminish her heart. I also really liked Buddy.

What does Adenrele Ojo bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

I appreciated the way that Ms. Ojo would change the intonation of her voice for different characters.

If you could take any character from Lazaretto out to dinner, who would it be and why?

I would take Nevada because she seems like she was the super fun person. If she couldn't make it, I would take Buddy with me!

Any additional comments?

This book was very good and I would recommend it to others.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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WORTH THE WAIT!!! Fans will love it!!!

Where does Lazaretto rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

I listen to lots of audiobooks and this is easier in my top 5! How can a duo of one of my favorite authors and narrators be bad?!?! The prose where so poetically spun and had a way of taking me right into the feeling of the moment. McKinney Whetstone has a way of using similes like no other. I did not want it to end!

Who was your favorite character and why?

Although a lesser character in this story, Buddy was my favorite. I enjoyed his tough exterior that did not contrast but compliment his soft, loving and loyal interior. I enjoyed his confident intuition of people and ability to see and act on truth. His sister a close second for some of the same reasons--she too utilized her intuition and acted from a strong sense of truth. I loved that she was a lady, pure and simple.

What about Adenrele Ojo’s performance did you like?

I have always love Adenrele! Her performance enhanced the story. She embodied the characters in voice and sentiment!

Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

When Sylvia recounted the story during Carl's procedure. WOW! Confirmed some suspicions and provided context for other things.

Any additional comments?

Author had a firm grasp on the time period with use of language, what Black people were feeling and doing related to what was happening in the US. I can't wait for the next book!

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Mediocre

Story was unbalanced. Narrator 's hard consonants were annoying for me.....made it difficult to listen and compromised the story.


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Great Historical Novel

Any additional comments?

Wonderful informative story adds additional understanding to the black American plight early on.

  • Overall

All things are not what they seem

The book was gripping and awesome. Details draw you in and keep you wanting to know what's coming. Just when you think you know what's happening something changes and leaves you spellbound and concerned for the lives of the boys and Meta. There are so many clever actions of the people to just barely keep them from destruction and danger. As the story continues the misses and near misses of people whose lives intertwine keeps you reading. The coincidences and finally all of the connections coming full circle from childhood of the boys to manhood are a finely woven tapestry to make you say wow how awesome! Wonderfully written and narrated!

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a must read for any Philly and south Jersey reader

thought I knew my history til now. lazaretto? no one I know or grew up with in south Jersey knew about this place. this is a must read even if i it might be your last of summer reads.

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Outstanding Writing, sometimes long winded.

Diane McKinney-Whetstone is a writer's writer. She is a true wordsmith with the ability to craft sentences that are beautiful and thought provoking. I figured out the ending in the beginning, but watching the story unfold was well worth the 12 hour journey. Characters developed well and the plot had just the right amount of twists and turns. The ending was more long winded than necessary, as were several points in the story, but her writing made those moments tolerable.

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A very interesting story

I really enjoyed this production. I thought that the author did a good job of weaving the story in such away that kept my attention to the very end.

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The Characters come ALIVE!!!

What did you love best about Lazaretto?

The story is very compelling and the characters come to life and I could picture every single one of them.

What other book might you compare Lazaretto to and why?

I loved Tumbling also from this fabulous author with the brilliant talent for making the characters live in our memory long after the books are read.

Which scene was your favorite?

The scenes in the first and last chapters were my favorite.

If you could rename Lazaretto, what would you call it?

A Triumph of Love

Any additional comments?

Spoiler alert!I loved and hated the ending of this novel. I would have loved to have read Linc's reaction reuniting with Bram. However, I enjoyed imagining this miraculous reunion.<br/>I found the narrator's voice very annoying. It took a lot out of the pleasure from this book.

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DON'T DO IT!!!

What would have made Lazaretto better?

I am a HUGE fan of this author & I couldn't wait until a new novel was published. Sad to say I am deeply disappointed. I'll be getting a credit refund Can't even finish it

Would you ever listen to anything by Diane McKinney-Whetstone again?

I listen to her earlier works repeatedly, but I'd never read/listen to this one again.

What didn’t you like about Adenrele Ojo’s performance?

Perhaps it was the book altogether, but after awhile, her voice began to bother me. Nothing like the past narrators in her previous novels.

You didn’t love this book... but did it have any redeeming qualities?

I've been listening to this book since it was released....as of today, I can no longer do it. It didn't hold my attention, I didn't look forward to the characters or the storyline like I normally do. It was just hard to listen to.

1 of 2 people found this review helpful