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Peculiar Savage Beauty

Narrated by: Rebecca Roberts
Length: 10 hrs and 18 mins
Categories: Fiction, Historical
5 out of 5 stars (19 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

The black blizzard is a formidable enemy. The furious storm blots out the sun and chokes the life from both man and beast. When RJ Evans finds herself engulfed in inky blackness and holed up beneath her Model AA Ford on an isolated plains road - dirt caked beneath her fingernails, skin flecked with blood drawn by the biting dust - she has no idea this trial won’t be her toughest.

What awaits her in the small farming town of Vanham, when she begins her job as a geologist for the US Soil Conservation Service, is even more daunting. Drought and overplowing by men determined to conquer the land have turned the once-lush plains into a brutal twin of the Sahara. Headstrong and intent on healing the earth through conservation farming, RJ must somehow find her place in a tight-knit community that welcomes neither women in authority nor changes to their way of life.

She befriends Woody, an autistic savant born in an era long before any medical diagnosis would explain his peculiar ways and unique talents. The locals label the young man an idiot and RJ an armchair farmer. Yet in each other, they see so much more.

Beating back the dust is a daily battle in a war for the land. It is a clash that creates unlikely alliances. As RJ learns she must rely on her adversaries if she is to survive the dangers of the Dust Bowl, she also grows to realize that she - like the land itself - is in desperate need of love and healing.

©2018 Jessica McCann (P)2019 Jessica McCann

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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The Dust Bowl and an Inspiring Female Protagonist

This was a very enjoyable listen and was very hard to press pause on.

I feel the Dust Bowl is a period in our history that we talk little about. On top of the historical information that is both horrific and fascinating, the main character RJ is working as a soil scientist. It was not common for women to work and on top of that she was working in two fields that have not always been friendly to women science and agriculture. RJ's story and overcoming spirit are so inspirational. There are many things that even as a women today trying to work in a cross of agriculture and science that are relatable and still difficult to conquer.

Rebecca Roberts did an amazing job with very distinct voices and was very easy to listen to. I liked the wind noise used for transitions in the middle of chapters. It was much easier to follow then a long pause that most books seem to do.

I received a copy of this audiobook at my request, and I have voluntarily left this review.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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The Strength of the Human Spirit and Survival

RJ is a scientist in a time when women were homemakers. Rosa Jean is a little girl sent away by her dying parents finally returning home to a dying world. This is a story of the human spirit and how much it can endure. The dust bowl was a dark time. Families lost their farms. Children died of dust pneumonia. Women killed themselves because they couldn't take one more day of dust and dust and dust. It was a terrible time. This book tells that story with empathy and understanding.

The characters were real people. Even those who seem like they might be the villains of a more juvenile piece are shown to be frightened people trying to save the only life they know. I loved this book. I love history and my own grandparents told stories of the dust bowl.

The narrator was amazing and did a great job on the regional accents.

There were a few spots where there seemed to be some recording glitches and lines were repeated. Other than that this book was golden.


I was given this book for free at my request in exchange for a fair review.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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Different

I received this ARC via audiobook boom and this is my voluntary review. This story was different. It was entertaining and thought-provoking. It also showed how a resilient spirit and determination can get a lone woman through many circumstances. I loved the dog rescue. Sometimes in the story, I wondered who was rescuing whom. overall it was a good story.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • Dee
  • LA
  • 04-21-19

An absolutely excellent listen!!!

I had some idea of the Dust Bowl era but I loved how the author characterized more of the human toll.

The story was absolutely brilliant!!! Rosie Jean/RJ was a geologist when that was unheard of for women. She suffered and succeeded and suffered. She loved and lost. She was reviled and revered; misunderstood and celebrated.

The narration was excellent!! RJ was a character with many layers and the narration stayed true to that.

The ending epitomized the pendulum swing that was this story - it was sad and celebratory.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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Very insightful

This book brings to light the struggles of women in America during the early part of the 20th century. It is an excellent insight into the life of a young woman who struggles to make a place for herself in the dust bowl as an agricultural agent and the reception she receives. It also details the everyday struggles of people who are trying to wrest a living from the earth.

The narration helps to bring the story to life and makes it enjoyable.

This book was provided free of charge and this review was voluntarily given.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Great historical fiction

This is the first book I’ve read/listened to by this author and I would hop at the chance to listen to another.
This is a wonderful story that really brings to light the plight of people during this era. Not only the farmers dealing with the lack of water for their crops, but everyone. The hardships they endured are phenomenal.
I love the historical information she managed to weave seamlessly into this story- ncluding insight into the accepted status of women and people with different mental capabilities.

This is the first book I’ve listened to by this narrator ( Rebecca Roberts ). She did a great job voice acting. The characters all had distinct voices. She used cadence and accents to impart their personalities and really drew me into the story.
My only negative was the wind sounds at the beginning of each chapter. Personally, I feel effects are unnecessary- especially when there is a great narrator like this one- it is distracting and would pull me out of the book.

There are no explicit sex scenes, excessive violence or swearing.

I was given this free review copy audiobook at my request and voluntarily left this unbiased review.
Please feel free to comment on whether you found my review helpful.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Incredible

Peculiar Savage Beauty by Jessica McCann
Narrated by Rebecca Roberts
July 9, 2019
5 stars

This was an incredible audiobook about the Dust Bowl era. As a gardener, I can appreciate the in depth storyline of how this scientist seeked to restore her beloved home. I loved the romance in the story, but this historical goes beyond the romance and into the depth of the heartache and despair of this terrible time. I haven’t read or listened to any other books about this sad period of devastation, but this seemed genuine and historically accurate. I loved the inclusion of the remarkable character Woody and how Jessica portrays his Autism in a positive light despite showing how the common public saw him as slow or dimwitted.

The narration was beautiful! I was really pulled in by Rebecca’s cadence and variety of character voices. There were a few spots where two people were talking back and forth and she was out of character just a bit, but she did an incredible job!

It’s a very long book and it’s definitely worth your attention and time to read or listen! If you love learning as well as being entertained I hope you’ll get your hands on this book!

While I do feel this book is clean, there is one section where, after they are engaged, they get a bit too involved. Their clothes are on, but this whole scene could have been sweeter in my opinion instead of so lustful

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Brilliant Educational story!

Wow!

This story was absolutely brilliant. I have gone and purchased Jessica’s other novel.

I was totally hooked from the very first chapter or so. RJ and Stormy had me not wanting to put the book down.

The story was also very educational. I learned a lot about what people were going through during the depression and with all the dust storms etc.
It was also very inspirational. I can’t imagine people living through everything, those people in the novel went through and still some of them fought on.

RJ had spirit and pluck, but also was moved to great compassion. I totally loved her character and was totally invested in wanting to know what was going to happen to her.

I also loved Woody of course. I totally agree with RJ. He was Brilliant and funny in a wonderful kind of way. I have many dear friends and family on the autism spectrum and i thought he was very well portrayed.

The story was also very sad, and moving in places, with a few lovely surprises i didn’t see coming.

I would highly recommend this book.

I was given this free review copy audiobook at my request and have voluntarily left this review.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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This book deserves a whole sky of stars!

Did you know there is such a thing as dust pneumonia? Did you know that a cow left out during a severe dust storm can die because it's insides are full of mud?
This audio book was incredible! The historical fiction takes you back to the time of the Dust Bowl in the 1930's. Peculiar Savage Beauty is not only entertaining, it is educational, emotional and transports you back in time to feel as though you are witnessing the hardships of these resilient people first hand. These people suffered through so much anguish and despair, to say nothing of the actual physical horrific conditions...and we whine when the cable goes out for a couple of hours!
McCann not only takes the reader back to experience the Dust Bowl, but she has produced beautifully developed characters that help to tell a story that won't soon be forgotten. The writing by McCann and the performance of the book by Rebecca Roberts were both exceptional! Bravo!!!

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Peculiar Savage Beauty

A fantastic historical novel set in the Dust Bowl era. The characters were so well developed and the descriptions were so realistic, I almost forgot I was listening to a book.

The writing by Jessica McCann and narration by Rebecca Roberts were so well done. I really enjoyed this book.

I was given this free review copy audiobook at my request and I have voluntarily left this review.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful