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Publisher's Summary

"The dead can't hurt you. Only the living can." Effie Jones, a former slave who escaped to the Union side as a child, knows the truth of her words. Taken in by an army surgeon and his wife during the War, she learned to read and write, to tolerate the sight of blood and broken bodies - and to forget what is too painful to bear. Now a young freedwoman, she has returned south to New Orleans and earns her living as an embalmer, her steady hand and skillful incisions compensating for her white employer's shortcomings.

Tall and serious, Effie keeps her distance from the other girls in her boarding house, holding tight to the satisfaction she finds in her work. But despite her reticence, two encounters - with a charismatic state legislator named Samson Greene, and a beautiful young Creole, Adeline - introduce her to new worlds of protests and activism, of soirees and social ambition. Effie decides to seek out the past she has blocked from her memory and try to trace her kin. As her hopes are tested by betrayal, and New Orleans grapples with violence and growing racial turmoil, Effie faces loss and heartache, but also a chance to finally find her place....

©2019 Amanda Skenandore (P)2019 HighBridge, a division of Recorded Books

What listeners say about The Undertaker’s Assistant

Average Customer Ratings
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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

A riveting story that will keep your interest.

The entire book was a history lesson in post Civil War South. Since it was also something that we studied in school I was interested to see how it would be portrayed in this fiction book. The sociological areas were treated factually as I understood in history. I enjoyed the book but couldn’t understand why the heroine was portrayed as a White or even a light skinned African American on the cover when she was definitely a darker skinned free woman of color. Good book. Hard to quit listening to.

5 people found this helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars

Read like a Senior Writing Project - Grade: c-plus

Perhaps because I am an English Teacher, I am overly critical sometimes, but not this time. I had such high hopes. Such a great story idea. Finally, after not being able to connect to the main character or the mediocre writing, I bailed. The Narrator was fine, nothing great but was struggling with the material. a perfect Meh.

3 people found this helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars

Embalming Lesson?

Really? The profession of the protagonist appeared to have no connection to the plot other than as a device to ramble on unnecessarily about embalming a corpse. Even the one circumstance where there was a weak connection (embalming a victim of a beating), the circumstance was so forced and unrealistic as to be silly. The repeated references to funeral “work product” added nothing to the plot.

The characters had limited motivation and were not drawn successfully as to seem the least bit realistic. The “love story” made no sense with such a weak and uninteresting main character.

I finished it on a plane when I could not download another book from my library. Other than that, I would not have bothered.

2 people found this helpful

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Horrible reader, even worse main character.

Effie is an idiot savant. Complete genius at human anatomy, but needs someone to hold her hand through every other thing that crosses her path. She doesn't know what a baseball bat is called, or that the sport is played by teams. She speaks out of a thesaurus, but can't form a complete sentence when her crush looks her way. Finally bangs the guy, and fantasizes about all the gory details of losing her virginity while embalming a corpse.

The author is great at research, and the side characters were interesting.

The reader's voice is awful. For some of the book, she uses poor accents for certain characters. Other times, she doesn't bother. When she does do a "man" voice, it sounds like a child's interpretation of their chain-smoking grandpa. TERRIBLE

I couldn't finish this, and the paperback is in my kitchen trash.

1 person found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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Worthy of love

Effie was "programmed" as an experiment by her white caretakers to be distant and not show her emotions. She is person who only wants to help others. It is unfair that she does not find love like she deserves. The story ended to soon.

1 person found this helpful

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most excellent

l loved this boom. It is well written and well read. Defiantly recommend this book.

2 people found this helpful

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good story

I enjoyed this book, but not my favorite by this author. she offered some thoughtful perspective from a freed slave and a female doing a traditionally male role. I felt the book wrapped up a little too quickly in the end.

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VERY DISAPPOINTED

This is my second Skenadore book. I tried to be nice in my first review. But this is TWO bad endings. It’s a shame: both stories were great. Interesting and heart breaking. You anxiously await for GOOD to overcome all the tragedies. You get to the end and it’s MORE BAD HAPPENINGS to the character you’ve come to “know”. I hate bad endings.

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I enjoyed this book and it's presentation

The Undertaker's Assistant was a good read. Just enough romance, just enough intrigue and just enough history.

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the app said this headline was optional but I gues

Moved my spirit into one with Effie's. I discovered a new part of myself in her story.