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Publisher's Summary

Named a Best Book of 2012 by Kirkus Reviews!

Set in 1940s Appalachia, The Secret Sense of Wildflower tells the story of Louisa May "Wildflower" McAllister whose life has been shaped around the recent death of her beloved father in a sawmill accident.

While her mother hardens in her grief, Wildflower and her three sisters must cope with their loss themselves, as well as with the demands of daily survival. Despite these hardships, Wildflower has a resilience that is forged with humor, a love of the land, and an endless supply of questions to God.

When Johnny Monroe, the town's teenage ne'er-do-well, sets his sights on Wildflower, she must draw on the strength of her relations, both living and dead, to deal with his threat.

With prose as lush and colorful as the American South, The Secret Sense of Wildflower is powerful and poignant, brimming with energy and angst, humor and hope.

Enjoy southern fiction at its best today!

©2012 Susan Gabriel (P)2018 Susan Gabriel

What listeners say about The Secret Sense of Wildflower

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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Paints Quite a Picture !

This was a fantastic read. The imagery was so detailed - sometimes beautiful, sometimes horrible, but always vivid. Wildflower's love for her Daddy was heart wrenchingly real. The bully Johnny Monroe stirred hatred and fear. His lasting impact on Louisa May's life is bitter sweet. I am delighted to see there is a next in this series, and it is already on my wish list. My only comment for improvement regards the narration - it was painfully slow. I had to listen at 1.25% speed to have it sound "normal" for me. Thanks, Susan Gabriel, for a great read that sketches an inviting picture of family life in early 20th century Appalachia.

3 people found this helpful

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Hard Knock Life in Appalachian Tennessee 1940s

This strikingly told tale of the McAllister family in 1940s Appalachia is one I won’t soon forget. Wildflower (Louisa May) McAllister was the apple of her daddy’s eye, and a young girl when they pulled her severely wounded daddy up on a wagon from the saw mill where he had been in an accident that would soon claim his life. The aftermath for the family of four girls and their mama was a cruel existence, but particularly for Wildflower, who had depended upon her father to understand her dreaming and fanciful nature . . . which was so like his own. Hardened by his death, their mama was in full survival mode, trying to make ends meet, and working the hard scrabble farm land. Visiting her daddy’s grave on the anniversary of his death, Wildflower encounters the worst of her nightmares, Johnny Monroe . . . and barely survives the attack. The story of the rape and what happens afterward is told in a way that is heartbreakingly real, but not graphic. Grown up decisions forced upon a young teenage girl are wisely and beautifully detailed interweaving family relationships in a way that very few authors can manage. Wonderful book.

2 people found this helpful

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I loved this book!

I just finished listening to The Secret Sense of Wildflower on Audible. I am a 58-year-old grandmother, and this story drew me in - to the point that I was a pregnant 13-year-old in a 1940's Appalachian mountain county. I laughed and cried with Wildflower. I held my breath in fear of what was coming, and I am sitting here wanting to know the rest of her story. Looking forward to getting the next book in the series!

2 people found this helpful

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Audio a Must For This Susan Gabriel Story

First, the narrator makes this story work. Can’t imagine how it would come across by reading the story. With Gabriel’s knack for writing and Holly Adam’s magic in narrating, it was almost a movie. Susan Gabriel is so good at tugging on your emotions I found myself part of the McAllister family, watching from the background, reacting with tears, anger or pity. Holly Adams has an authentic voice for each character giving the listener the added touch of easily recognizing who’s talking and how they are feeling when they say something. Set in the mountains of Appalachia, in 1941, Wildflower, the subject of this book, is the youngest daughter of four, and is wise beyond her years. This young girl has had to endure a life time of living in her 13 short years. Gabriel captures the time, the place, and emotions of life in poverty and the people caught up in it. Another fine novel from Susan Gabriel.

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Meh

The story has the potential to be more than what it was. The book dwelt way too long and too much about the Wildflower's attachment and death of her father. It got really redundant at times...slow moving.

2 people found this helpful

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A bit boring.

This was too simple of a plotted novel. Was way too long and boring most of the time.The title and story do not jive!

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Vivid scenery of the beautiful hills and hollers of the Appalachian Mountains.

I recommend this to anyone who enjoys historical fiction .... the old mountain family structure is plain and simple but the characters are deep thinkers.

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enjoyed the listen

really enjoyed narration a very sad situation turned around by LOVE and SUPPORT of family.