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Forgotten Places  By  cover art

Forgotten Places

By: Johanna Craven
Narrated by: Rebecca McKernan
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Publisher's summary

Van Diemen's Land, Australia, 1833

English settler Grace Ashwell flees an abusive lover in Hobart Town, with six-year-old Violet in tow. In her head, escape is easy: find work in the northern settlements and earn enough for passage home to London. But the terrain beyond the settled districts is wilder than Grace could ever have imagined. She and Violet find themselves lost in a beautiful but deadly land where rain thunders down mountains, the earth drops away without warning and night brings impenetrable darkness.

Deep in the wilderness, they find a crude hut inhabited by Alexander Dalton, an escaped convict long presumed dead. Hiding from civilization in an attempt to forget his horrifying past, Alexander struggles to let Grace into his world.

When Violet disappears, Grace's fragile trust in Alexander is put to the test. And while she searches for answers, he will do anything to keep his secrets inside.

Based around the true story of the Macquarie Harbor bolters; one of the most horrifying events from Colonial Australia's bloody history.

©2017 Johanna Craven (P)2017 Johanna Craven

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Unforgettable Characters in an Unforgiving Land

I was excited to get this in exchange for a review from audiobookboom.

I had listened to the sample and thought the narrator was a good fit. I read the description and was more intrigued. I browsed reviews on goodreads and couldn’t wait to start listening!

Lately, when I start off with eagerness or high hopes, I end up devastated and/or disappointed. But I keep my fingers crossed.

I’ll be the first to admit. The beginning of the book - was it during the entire Part 1?- I struggled. Time moved back and forth as we learn about the ‘back story’. I don’t think it really flowed for me. Then again, I prefer a beginning, middle, end.

Although told in third person, when the POV changed between Grace and Dalton, it also took me a while to readjust. Then, Grace calls him Alexander (his first name) and the narrator calls him Dalton (last name). Or so I thought. Maybe she was referring to Alexander Pearce. Or maybe I’m confused. Still.

Despite that, it’s a solid 4.75 and maybe I’ll listen again and pay closer attention. Because, damn it’s hit.

So I did like Grace. A lot. Oh, how I’ve missed the strong, opinionated, speak what’s on your mind female leads. I’m so sick of snarky sarcastic teen mentality in an adult body.

But she was strong, less so when dealing with her internal struggles when she wakes up and finds out Violet is missing, which made her more real.

A lot of my friends live, have moved, or traveled abroad to both the UK and Down Under. The dialogue in this book is genuine. I love it. I can’t vouch for historical accuracy, but it sounds like when I’m on the phone with Corey or Gwen. I’m referring to vocabulary, slang. The narrator does have a natural accent, and it also added to the authenticity.

I did have an eye roll moment as our two tortured, lost souls find a common ground to cohabit. But WOW, I LOVED how this was handled.

This book about love, hope, brief violence, uncovered past abuse, betrayal, grief, waiting, desperation, living off grid in the dangerous desolate outback is a new depth of heartbreak, mending, and learning how to cope. It traverses through such raw emotions and bewilderment to a very unexpected, satisfying, heartwarming natural conclusion.

I sincerely hope Rebecca McKernan and Johanna Craven continue to team up for more dynamic audiobooks!


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Excellent

Had me from page one. Couldn't put it down once I started it. The performance was exceptional. Great story.