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Publisher's Summary

A deeply emotional tale about Sophie Duncan, a successful columnist whose world falls apart after her daughter's unexpected illness and her husband's shocking affair. When it seems nothing else could possibly go wrong, her car skids off an icy road and plunges into a frozen lake. There, in the cold, dark depths of the water a profound and extraordinary experience unlocks the surprising secrets from Sophie's past, and teaches her what it means to truly live...and love.

Full of surprising twists and turns and a near-death experience that will leave you breathless, this story is not to be missed.

©2011 Julianne MacLean (P)2013 Julianne MacLean

Critic Reviews

"A gripping, emotional tale you'll want to read in one sitting." ( New York Times best-selling author, Julia London)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

Overall

  • 4.0 out of 5.0
  • 5 Stars
    349
  • 4 Stars
    211
  • 3 Stars
    135
  • 2 Stars
    43
  • 1 Stars
    33

Performance

  • 4.1 out of 5.0
  • 5 Stars
    344
  • 4 Stars
    185
  • 3 Stars
    90
  • 2 Stars
    41
  • 1 Stars
    28

Story

  • 4.1 out of 5.0
  • 5 Stars
    337
  • 4 Stars
    175
  • 3 Stars
    108
  • 2 Stars
    35
  • 1 Stars
    31
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  • Cindy
  • Dalton, GA, United States
  • 01-25-14

Probably one of the best books I've read

Where does The Color of Heaven rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

One of the best. Not my normal cup of tea and I did get a little frustrated at first with the storytelling monologue type of reading. But the story did pull me in and I couldn't put it down. Even though I couldn't stop crying and wanted to stop listening I had to know how it ended.

What did you like best about this story?

The ending. It did have a happy ending.

What about Jennifer O'Donnell’s performance did you like?

She did a great job. The book was mainly from the writers point of view so other voices were limited. But when there were dialogs with other characters she did good with the voices.

Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

I cried through about 70% of this one. It absolutely broke my heart. Just the tragedy that everyone in the story goes through makes you wonder how that much could happen to so many intertwined lives.

Any additional comments?

This book was so sad. I felt so sorry for the main character. The amount of hardship she had to face and then when it switched over to her mothers story and the tragedy she went though as well.....

14 of 14 people found this review helpful

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  • julie
  • Corvallis, OR, United States
  • 01-26-14

Listened to in one day

Would you listen to The Color of Heaven again? Why?

Yes, I was so surprised by this novel. Loved the story, loved the main character. I was worried it would be too sad, but it was quite lovely.

What other book might you compare The Color of Heaven to and why?

?? Maybe the Knitting Circle.

What about Jennifer O'Donnell’s performance did you like?

She seemed to tell the story as though it happened to her.

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

I almost did....all in one day....Saturday Chores.

Any additional comments?

I was out of audible credits and found this on sale. So pleased.

8 of 8 people found this review helpful

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  • Performance
  • Story

From tedious to simply stupid ... on a whisper

I don't know where to start to explain why this is so bad. Maybe a list...

1. OMG, the narration! Ms. O'Donnell made me shout at my IPod. Seriously! She breaks into whispering at key scenes. It's maddening. I listen when I'm doing other things - driving, cooking, gardening, etc. - and her voice would get softer and softer and softer until the words would begin to run together like a low frequency vibration, rather than actual speech. So I'd stop what I was doing, wipe my hands if working, turn up the volume and go back to work. Then someone "else" would speak in a normal tone and I'm frantically reaching for the volume to back it down to avoid permanent hearing loss. It was maddening. (I've since apologized to my IPod.)

I suppose that might have been OK if she'd at least had a nice variety of voices. She didn't. Sara sounded like Cora who sounded like Jen who sounded like Sara. Michael sounded like Matt who sounded like Peter who sounded like ... well you get the idea. She could begin with slight differences, but the voices all quickly returned to her "baseline" man and her "baseline" woman.

2. The story started strong and the scenes during Megan's illness (when I could hear the whispering!) were very moving. Sara's year following Megan's death seemed correctly imagined. But when the whole frozen lake thing began, I felt thoroughly manipulated. This plot device was simply cheap. Instead of working through the challenges and mysteries her main character faced in the real world, the author did the "Poof! Magic will fix it!" miracle solution.

3. Even if you accept the "miracle" part, her story line was full of the unbelievable and I started to get a hint of what was coming when Sara's perfect, amazing, 10-year fairy-tale, he's-my-best-friend, flawless marriage to perfect Michael went completely to hell and it was ALL HIS FAULT!

4. The Cora/Peter/Matt subplot was much too long and much too contrived to be believable ... in a novel that had enough "unbelievable" to qualify as science fiction.

There's more, but this awful novel doesn't deserve any more of my time - and NONE of yours.

18 of 21 people found this review helpful

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  • Story
  • Shannon
  • Dayton, TX, United States
  • 03-31-14

Great story!

Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

Yes. It was a good heartwarming story that makes you feel all kinds of emotions.

What was one of the most memorable moments of The Color of Heaven?

When Matt comes back.

Would you be willing to try another one of Jennifer O'Donnell’s performances?

Her voice was hard from me to get used to. It almost seemed over performed and I also had to turn it up extra loud for some parts because she spoke too softly. It would all depend on how badly I wanted to hear the book.

Any additional comments?

Just a sweet, sad, happy and well rounded story.<br/>

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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Sappy but good...

I don't regret reading this book, but it was a bit sappy. I am glad that iTunes allows you to skip to the next chapter. I did that a lot during the Cora/Peter/Matt stories. It was an easy listen, the story was interesting, but it didn't keep me engaged all the time. It's one of those books that I don't regret reading, but others are better.

The narrator was not very good, however. There were times when she spoke in such a soft voice, I had to turn up the volume. (Wouldn't you think that those producing the recording would fix this?) This is probably a better read in print format.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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  • Story

Yawn

Would you try another book from Julianne MacLean and/or Jennifer O'Donnell?

don't think so

Would you ever listen to anything by Julianne MacLean again?

probably not

How could the performance have been better?

Ms. O'Donnell's voice hit a raw nerve with me. Her cadence made what "might have been" a book worth listening to a "NOT" -- ouch!

5 of 6 people found this review helpful

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  • Performance
  • Story

A Story Well Told

What did you like best about this story?

The unveiling of the events was strategic and clever. At the end all of the pieces fell into place and left me feeling warm and optimistic.

What about Jennifer O'Donnell’s performance did you like?

At first the pace seems to be too slow. As the story continues you realize that if the reading was faster if would change the tone and mood of the novel.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • James
  • Brooklyn, NY
  • 01-16-14

Heartbreaking and Hopeful

What made the experience of listening to The Color of Heaven the most enjoyable?

Jennifer O'Donnell's narration with her subtle inflections and emotive exposition. The dialog was nuanced and she knew how to get out of the way of the story.

What was one of the most memorable moments of The Color of Heaven?

The plunge into the frozen lake scene. I found myself holding my breath I was so immersed in the story and what the protagonist was going through.

What about Jennifer O'Donnell’s performance did you like?

Her characters are well voiced and she really captured the emotional tone. I found myself near tears several times.

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

Yes!

Any additional comments?

More please!

7 of 9 people found this review helpful

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  • Performance
  • Story

Good story, horrible narrator

Is there anything you would change about this book?

The narrator spoke in a breathy whisper that was difficult to listen to. In addition, when she read male characters, she spoke in a normal tone of voice, thus causing the volume to shoot up. Since I listen to books in my car over bluetooth, I leaned forward straining to hear things then had to rear back in my seat to keep from being deafened.

Who was your favorite character and why?

My favorite character was Matt. I felt that he was authentic.

How did the narrator detract from the book?

See above. She was difficult to comprehend most of the time.

If this book were a movie would you go see it?

No. The story is interesting, but I can't really see it as a movie.

11 of 15 people found this review helpful

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  • Story

Storyline was contrived and dialogue trite

This book wasn’t for you, but who do you think might enjoy it more?

Perhaps a light beach read for those who aren't looking for sophisticated writing or compelling storyline.

What was most disappointing about Julianne MacLean’s story?

The characters were not terribly compelling and the story narrators (the characters, not the audiobook narrators) seemed forced to try to round out the story with extraneous observations that did nothing to further the storyline or build the characters.

How did the narrator detract from the book?

The narrator's depiction of male speakers was so forced as to be distracting and didn't help the character development.

2 of 3 people found this review helpful

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  • Overall
  • Angelina Birch
  • 03-13-17

Enchanting

I really enjoyed this book it kept me hooked till the last minute. Going to look at this authors other work