THE WITCH ELM by Bestselling Author TANA FRENCH Audiobook Review

Title: THE WITCH ELM

Author: TANA FRENCH

Narrator: PAUL NUGENT

Genre: FICTION, MYSTERIES AND THRILLERS

Length: 22 HOURS, 8 MINUTES

Publisher: PENGUIN AUDIO

Type of Book: AUDIOBOOK

Purchased from: Audible.com

Release Date: OCTOBER 9, 2018

Rating: 5 OUT OF 5 STARS ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

DESCRIPTION:

Toby is a happy-go-lucky charmer who’s dodged a scrape at work and is celebrating with friends when the night takes a turn that will change his life – he surprises two burglars who beat him and leave him for dead. Struggling to recover from his injuries, beginning to understand that he might never be the same man again, he takes refuge at his family’s ancestral home to care for his dying uncle Hugo. Then a skull is found in the trunk of an elm tree in the garden – and as detectives close in, Toby is forced to face the possibility that his past may not be what he has always believed.

A spellbinding standalone from one of the best suspense writers working today, The Witch Elm asks what we become, and what we’re capable of, when we no longer know who we are.
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MY REVIEW:

Phenomenal. Intriguing. Unconventional. Thrilling. Astonishing.

All these words and more apply to Tana French’s novel, THE WITCH ELM.

At it’s core, this book is a modern day whodunit, a thriller of epic proportions, but it is also so much more.

This book is a character study, a tale of teen angst, the story of a family rallying together in the midst of a horrific medical diagnosis. It is the story of a romance. This is a book about siblings, cousins, friends and how relationships can change over time and how they stay the same. It is also a mystery wrapped in an enigma.

This is truly a book that has everything. I enjoyed listening to it immensely. The story takes place in Ireland and having a narrator with an Irish accent gave this book a sense of place and added authenticity to the audiobook.

The story has plenty twists and turns, some which were expected and many that were not.

Tana French has created characters so realistic that you almost expect to run into one of them on the street.

At just over 22 hours of listening time, this is not a short audiobook and you would think that 22 hours would be too long, however, you would be wrong. In fact, I didn’t want this story to end. I had become invested in the character’s futures.

The Publisher has created a reader’s guide for this book which can be found and downloaded HERE.

My favorite character was Uncle Hugo. On the surface he seems like a giant bore. But as you learn more about him, you start to realize that he is like an onion with many layers, some quite shocking. He has a passion for genealogy research and was able to parlay that into a career as a Genealogist. The author is somehow able to make this career choice seem interesting to listeners and Hugo’s research into his client’s history is an interesting side storyline.

I rate THE WITCH ELM as 5 out of 5 Stars ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

I also give a 5 STAR rating to the narrator whose Irish accent offers listeners authenticity as well as a sense of place. His pacing is sheer perfection. Listeners are able to easily distinguish between character voices which is a huge plus in my opinion.

All in all, I highly recommend this audiobook to readers and listeners from the ages of 16 and up.

Tana French was new to me before experiencing “The Witch Elm” audiobook, but I will be on the lookout for more books from this author in the future.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Tana French is the author of The Witch Elm, In the Woods, The Likeness, Faithful Place, Broken Harbor, The Secret Place and The Trespasser.

Her books have won awards including the Edgar, Anthony, Macavity and Barry Awards, the Los Angeles Times Award for Best Mystery/Thriller, and the Irish Book Award for Crime Fiction.

She lives in Dublin with her family.

AUTHOR NOTE:

“There’s one thing that no one I know, including me, ever has enough of: time. Everyone has at least three things they should be doing with every minute, and everyone could do with about six more hours in the day. So I’m very aware that when you take a chance on one of my books, it’s not just your money that you’re putting on the line; it’s your time, which is probably even more precious. I want to thank you, so much, for taking that chance; for your wonderful support, which never stops taking my breath away. Here’s to all of you. I’ll do my absolute best not to waste your time.”

Tana French in The New Yorker

‘The Trespasser’ begs us to take crime fiction seriously

The Millions Interviews Tana French

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To learn more about this author, visit the following links:

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CHAPTERS
“A spellbinding standalone from one of the best suspense writers working today, The Witch Elm asks what we become, and what we’re capable of, when we no longer know who we are.

  • Quotes:

    The thing is, I suppose,” he said, “that one gets into the habit of being oneself. It takes some great upheaval to crack that shell and force us to discover what else might be underneath. What if I never got another day in my life when I was normal again?

    Once the fear took hold, I was fucked. I’d never known anything like it could exist: all-consuming, ravenous, a whirling black vortex that sucked me under so completely and mercilessly that it truly felt like I was being devoured alive, bones splintered, marrow sucked. After an eternity (lying in bed with my heart jackhammering, adrenaline firing me like a strobe light, feeling the last few threads that held my mind together stretch to a snapping point) something would happen to break the vortex’s hold—a nurse coming in so that I had to make mechanical cheerful chitchat, an uncontrollable rush of sleep—and I would clamber up out of it, shaky and weak as a half-drowned animal. But even when the fear receded for a while, it was always there: dark, misshapen, taloned, hanging somewhere above and behind me, waiting for its next moment to drop onto my back and dig in deep.

    ABOUT THE NARRATOR:

    https://vimeo.com/178172746

    To learn more about this Narrator, visit the following links:

    OFFICIAL WEBSITE

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    THE GLOVEMAKER by Historical Fiction Author Ann Weisgarber is coming soon – Mark your calendars

    Title: THE GLOVEMAKER

    Author: ANN WEISGARBER

    Genre: FICTION, HISTORICAL FICTION

    Length: 336 PAGES

    Publisher: SKYHORSE PUBLISHING

    Received From: NETGALLEY

    Release Date: FEBRUARY 19, 2019

    ISBN: 9781510737839

    Price: $24.99 USD (Hardcover)

    Rating: 4 OUT OF 5 STARS ⭐⭐⭐⭐

    DESCRIPTION:

    In the inhospitable lands of the Utah Territory, during the winter of 1888, thirty-seven-year-old Deborah Tyler waits for her husband, Samuel, to return home from his travels as a wheelwright. It is now the depths of winter, Samuel is weeks overdue, and Deborah is getting worried.

    Deborah lives in Junction, a tiny town of seven Mormon families scattered along the floor of a canyon, and she earns her living by tending orchards and making work gloves. Isolated by the red-rock cliffs that surround the town, she and her neighbors live apart from the outside world, even regarded with suspicion by the Mormon faithful who question the depth of their belief.

    When a desperate stranger who is pursued by a Federal Marshal shows up on her doorstep seeking refuge, it sets in motion a chain of events that will turn her life upside down. The man, a devout Mormon, is on the run from the US government, which has ruled the practice of polygamy to be a felony. Although Deborah is not devout and doesn’t subscribe to polygamy, she is distrustful of non-Mormons with their long tradition of persecuting believers of her wider faith.

    But all is not what it seems, and when the Marshal is critically injured, Deborah and her husband’s best friend, Nels Anderson, are faced with life and death decisions that question their faith, humanity, and both of their futures.

    MY REVIEW:

    THE GLOVEMAKER is a story that takes place in the winter of 1888 deep in a remote valley in Utah. This valley is home to a tiny town known as “Junction.” It’s residents are all Saints (as in the Latter Day variety).

    This town is home to only seven families, all of them having drifted away from the strict rules of the church, and most of them did not agree with the practice of polygamy.

    This book is based on a real life village and real life families, so it is history mixed with a giant dose of fiction and imagined characters. It is human nature to wonder about the lives of those who came before us. In THE GLOVEMAKER, author Ann Weisgarber has richly imagined an entire town, with backstories for all the characters readers encounter as the story moves along.

    I read this book in a single day and found myself wrapped up in the life of the main character; thirty-seven-year-old Deborah Tyler. She is my type of woman. She is a tough as nails (but with a squishy heart) take-no-prisoners kind of woman.

    In 1888 a woman living alone for months on end while her husband travelled the territory fixing and making wagon wheels had to be tough. She had to be resilient and she had to be hard working.

    I found the fact that the villagers were all Latter Day Saints to be an interesting twist. And including some actual history of how the government saw the people who practiced that religion might be eye-opening for many readers.

    I enjoyed the story and I give Ann Weisgarber kudos for the historical research that went into the writing of this book. I rate THE GLOVEMAKER as 4 out of 5 Stars. ⭐⭐⭐⭐

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    **** Thank you to NetGalley for providing me with a free copy of this book.****

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    ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

    Ann Weisgarber was born and raised in Kettering, Ohio. She has lived in Boston, Massachusetts, and Des Moines, Iowa, but now splits her time between Sugar Land, Texas, and Galveston, Texas.

    Her first novel The Personal History of Rachel DuPree was longlisted for the Orange Prize and shortlisted for the Orange Prize for New Writers.

    To learn more about this author, visit the following links:

    OFFICIAL WEBSITE
    http://annweisgarber.com

    GOODREADS

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    PUBLISHER’S WEBSITE

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    ABOUT THE PUBLISHER:

    To find out more about Skyhorse Publishing, click on the following links:

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    #TheGlovemaker #NetGalley #HistoricalFiction #Fiction #2019Books #2019 #ComingSoon #bookish #2k19books #AvonBooks #AmiesBookReviews #book review #bookreviewer #tbr #tbrlist #amreading

    THE SATURDAY NIGHT GHOST CLUB by Canadian Author CRAIG DAVIDSON. This book is so good that it deserves more than 5 Stars. Don’t miss this one.

    Title: THE SATURDAY NIGHT GHOST CLUB

    Author: CRAIG DAVIDSON

    Genre: FICTION, LITERARY FICTION, CANLIT, CANADIAN FICTION

    Length: 246 PAGES

    Publisher: ALFRED A. KNOPF CANADA – A Division of PENGUIN RANDOM HOUSE

    Received From: THE PUBLISHER

    Release Date: AUGUST 15, 2018

    ISBN: 978-0-7352-7482-2 (Hardcover)

    Price: $27.00 CDN

    Rating: 5+ OUT OF 5 STARS ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

    DESCRIPTION:

    When neurosurgeon Jake Breaker operates, he knows he’s handling more than a patient’s delicate brain tissue – he’s altering their seat of consciousness, their golden vault of memory. And memory, Jake knows, can be a tricky thing.

    When growing up in 1980s Niagara Falls (a.k.a. Cataract City) one of Jake’s closest confidantes was his uncle Calvin, a sweet but eccentric misfit enamored of occult artefacts and outlandish conspiracy theories.

    The summer Jake turned twelve, Calvin invited him to join the “Saturday Night Ghost Club” – a seemingly light-hearted project to investigate some of Cataract City’s more macabre urban myths.

    Over the course of that life-altering summer, Jake slowly and painfully came to realize that his uncle’s preoccupation with chilling legends sprang from something buried so deep in his past that Calvin himself was unaware of it.

    MY REVIEW:

    The Saturday Night Ghost Club is on the Rogers Writers’ Trust Fiction Prize shortlist. The Rogers Writers’ Trust Fiction Prize recognizes Canadian writers of exceptional talent for the year’s best novel or short story collection. The winner receives $50,000 and all finalists receive $5000.
    https://www.writerstrust.com/awards/rogers-writers-trust-fiction-prize

    Everything about this book is sheer perfection. From the Hardy Boys inspired cover, to the uneven edging of the pages, to the scenes of Canadiana – such as when twelve year old Jake “… was sitting on the sofa watching The Beachcombers…”

    Reading this book is like taking a walk through my own Ontario childhood when children actually played outside, when kids could disappear for hours and explore places that today’s helicopter parents would never dream of allowing their bubble-wrapped kids to go. It was a time when “bullying” was just a part of growing up. You had to either submit to it or learn to fight back.

    “Suck it up, Buttercup,” was more likely the parental response to any type of bullying during my childhood and that of Jake Breaker as opposed to what happens now – complaining to the teachers, the Principal, the School Board, and anyone who will listen and likely even posting about it on social media.

    It was a time when you would have been mortified if your parents got involved. Kids learned to solve their own problems, or they didn’t and if not, they ended up as perennial victims.

    Craig Davidson takes the reader back to a time when imagination was King. A time before internet. You couldn’t just Google information about anything you wanted to know. You asked your parents or if you were as lucky as the protagonist, you asked your “Strange Duck” Uncle.

    The way the author describes Uncle Calvin is so vivid and so very detailed that readers are able to picture him vividly, from his height. “He was incredibly tall, or so he seemed back then. (I realize now that, at six foot three, he was not quite the fairytale giant who exists in my memory.) To the way he moved – “He moved awkwardly, as though threads were attached to his limbs, trailing up to a novice puppeteer. He claimed this was the result of his nerves failing to stretch down to his toes and fingertips…” To his teeth, hair and even the clothes he wears. Uncle C becomes as vital and real to the reader as he is to his nephew, Jake.

    The tale is told through the memories of a now grown up Jake. He has become a neurosurgeon and tells us the story of one summer when he was a pre-teen. It was a summer in which he still believed in ghosts, ghouls and things that go bump in the night.

    I was so wrapped up in this story that the world around me fell away and through the amazing talent of author Craig Davidson, I was transported into the story.

    It takes a rare and exceptional talent to make me excited enough about a book that I feel compelled to tell everyone I meet about it. THE SATURDAY NIGHT GHOST CLUB is the best book I have read this year, and I have read many.

    The descriptive power of words is on full display in this work of Literary Fiction. For example, read this:

    “The girl was eight years old … An MRI revealed a mass lodged near her pineal gland … an aggressive form of cancer manifesting in children. She was booked into surgery immediately. My sucker wand transited the lobes of her brain, moving through sticky webs of glia – brain glue, as it is known in our racket – to arrive at the tumor, which lay anchored in her ocular nerve. The delicate procedure was like vacuuming caramelized sugar off a strand of spaghetti. The slightest misstep would snap the nerve and rob the girl of sight in that eye. I removed as much as felt safe before retreating.”

    Comparing author Craig Davidson to other authors would just not be fair. It would be like comparing a CB Radio to a Smart Phone. He is in a class by himself and is sure to win award after award for his writing.

    I received a copy of this book from the Publisher and I am thankful to them for introducing me to this author. I need to get my hands on anything and everything else he has written. If those books are even half as good as this one, they are books I absolutely must read.

    The rating system for books only goes to 5 Stars, but I believe this book warrants a higher rating, one that distinguishes it from all others, therefore, I rate The Saturday Night Ghost Club as 5+ out of 5 Stars. ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

    **This book is also available as an audiobook at http://www.audible.ca Click HERE to purchase it online.

    *** Thank you to the Publisher for providing me with a free copy of this book.***

    ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

    CRAIG DAVIDSON was born and grew up in St. Catharines, Ontario, near Niagara Falls.

    He has published four previous books of literary fiction: Rust and Bone, which was made into an Oscar-nominated feature film of the same name, The Fighter, Sarah Court, and the Scotiabank Giller Prize-nominated Cataract City.

    Davidson is a graduate of the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, and his articles and journalism have been published in the National Post, Esquire, GQ, The Walrus, and The Washington Post, among other places.

    He lives in Toronto, Canada, with his partner and their child.

    To learn more about this author, visit the following links:

    OFFICIAL WEBSITE

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    AMAZON

    WRITER’S TRUST AUTHOR PAGE

    CHAPTERS

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    WHEN WINTER COMES is a new take on the famous Pioneer story of the Donner party. This Historical Fiction tale will get under your skin – Coming Soon to a Bookstore Near You

    Title: WHEN WINTER COMES

    Author: V.A. SHANNON

    Genre: HISTORICAL FICTION

    Length: 304 PAGES

    Publisher: KENSINGTON BOOKS

    Received From: NETGALLEY

    Release Date: OCTOBER 30, 2018

    ISBN: 9781496716507

    Price: $15.95 USD / $17.95 CDN

    Rating: 4 OUT OF 5 STARS ⭐⭐⭐⭐

    DESCRIPTION:

    Mrs. Jacob Klein has a husband, children, and a warm and comfortable home in California. No one—not even her family—knows how she came to be out West thirteen years ago. Jacob, a kind and patient man, has promised not to ask. But if she were to tell her story, she would recount a tale of tragedy, mishaps, and unthinkable choices—yet also sacrifice, courage, and a powerful, unexpected love . . .

    1846: On the outskirts of Cincinnati, wagons gather by the hundreds, readying to head west to California. Among the throng is a fifteen-year-old girl eager to escape her abusive family. With just a few stolen dollars to her name, she enlists as helpmate to a married couple with a young daughter. Their group stays optimistic in the face of the journey’s hazards and delays. Then comes a decision that she is powerless to prevent: Instead of following the wagon train’s established route, the Donner Party will take a shortcut over the Sierras, aiming to clear the mountains before the first snows descend.

    In the years since that infamous winter, other survivors have sold their accounts for notoriety and money, lurid tales often filled with half-truths or blatant, gory lies. Now, Mrs. Klein must decide whether to keep those bitter memories secret, or risk destroying the life she has endured so much to build . . .

    MY REVIEW:

    “Hunger is an evil thing, and brings with it the worst of human nature; it is an agony of the flesh, but it is an agony of the spirit as well.”

    Most people who have even a passing interest in Pioneer times have heard one or more versions of the story of the Donner party’s trek from Ohio to California which ended in murder and cannibalism. WHEN WINTER COMES is a new fictional version of this true tale.

    Told thirteen years after the survivors arrival in California, this tale is written in story form, but as if it were being written in a journal rather than spoken out loud.

    Mrs. Jacob Klein was but a young teenager when she set out in 1846 with nothing more than the clothes on her back to join a wagon train heading from her birthplace in Cincinnati to the wonder of a new life in California.

    Her husband Jacob has no idea what befell her on her journey and does not try to force her to relive those memories. However, his gift of a beautiful, blank journal prompts her to fill it with the recollections of the very worst time of her life.

    “My eyes blur with weariness, and my hand cramps. But my mind will not be still. It pours out memory like a never-ending stream of water that cannot be contained.”

    Author V.A. SHANNON writes about the camraderie the members of the wagon train experienced at the start of their journey. As time and hardship start to wear on the pioneers, that early easy camraderie starts to erode.

    What happens next is NOT the same as what has been reported and believed for the last 150 years.

    Author V.A. Shannon seamlessly leads the reader between the narrator’s journal entries and her present reality.

    Not only is this a historic tale of survival, it is also a coming of age story. In fact, it is also a study of humanity and of what people are willing to do, and what lines they will cross, in order to survive.

    How far would you go to ensure your survival?

    What would you be willing to do to ensure the survival of your spouse? What about for the survival of your children?

    Would you allow social conventions and the fear of what others would think of you to dictate your actions? Would you stand your ground when making decisions? Would you defer to others? Would you become a leader or a follower?

    Now, imagine that the year is 1846. Modern technology does not exist. There are no official roads. Would you resort to eating human flesh if the choice was between that and death?

    With those questions in mind, you now need to pick up a copy of WHEN WINTER COMES. When you finish reading it, come back to my blog amiesbookreviews dot WordPress dot com and let me know what you thought and if after reading it, you have altered your answers to the questions above.

    I love it when a book makes me think and when it is written well enough that not only do I feel sympathy towards the characters, but empathy as well. It is for this reason, as well as the simple fact that I enjoyed the story, that I rate WHEN WINTER COMES as 4 out of 5 Stars ⭐⭐⭐⭐

    Thank you to NetGalley for providing me with a free copy of this book.

    QUOTES:

    “I have come to think that there are no shortcuts in life. It is too easy to choose to do the selfish thing, and to head off in pursuit of your own happiness and your own ambition, and lose sight of what really matters in this world.”

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    “…to take a risk with the happiness of those who love you and depend upon you cannot be heroic.”

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    “To my mind, the man who fears the path of love as being one of dull duty, but sets along it nevertheless, is the real hero at the end.”

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    “We are practical folks, we Pioneers, and rightly proud of ourselves…”

    ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

    V.A. Shannon trained originally as an artist, in the United States, and then requalified as a lawyer in the UK, but her first love has always been writing.

    In 2011, she was lucky enough to be accepted on the prestigious Faber Academy novel writing course where she embarked on the first draft of the novel that was ultimately to become When Winter Comes.

    She subsequently left the security of full time paid employment to concentrate on her writing, supporting herself by taking on a variety of temporary and part time roles, including working in the cloakroom at the Victoria and Albert Museum in London, selling Titanic memorabilia, and cleaning houses!

    She has two beautiful daughters and a gorgeous granddaughter, and lives in Welwyn Garden City, just north of London.

    To learn more about this author, visit the following links:

    OFFICIAL WEBSITE

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    FACEBOOK

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    MOURNING DOVE AUDIOBOOK BLOG TOUR, REVIEW, GIVEAWAY and MORE

    Title: MOURNING DOVE

    Author: Claire Fullerton

    Narrator: Claire Fullerton

    Length: 9 hours and 13 minutes

    Publisher: Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas

    Released: June 25, 2018

    Genre: Southern Fiction

    “An accurate and heart-wrenching picture of the sensibilities of the American South.” (Kirkus Book Reviews)

    The heart has a home when it has an ally. If Millie Crossan doesn’t know anything else, she knows this one truth simply because her brother Finley grew up beside her. Charismatic Finley, 18 months her senior, becomes Millie’s guide when their mother Posey leaves their father and moves her children from Minnesota to Memphis shortly after Millie’s 10th birthday.

    Memphis is a world foreign to Millie and Finley. This is the 1970s Memphis, the genteel world of their mother’s upbringing and vastly different from anything they’ve ever known. Here they are the outsiders. Here, they only have each other. And here, as the years fold over themselves, they mature in a manicured Southern culture where they learn firsthand that much of what glitters isn’t gold.

    Nuance, tradition, and Southern eccentrics flavor Millie and Finley’s world, as they find their way to belonging. But what hidden variables take their shared history to leave both brother and sister at such disparate ends?

    Claire Fullerton grew up in Memphis, TN and now lives in Malibu, CA.

    She is the author of contemporary fiction, “Dancing to an Irish Reel,” set in Connemara, Ireland, where she once lived.

    Dancing to an Irish Reel is a finalist in the 2016 Kindle Book Review Awards, and a 2016 Readers’ Favorite.

    Claire is the author of “A Portal in Time,” a paranormal mystery that unfolds in two time periods, set on California’s hauntingly beautiful Monterey Peninsula, in a village called Carmel-by-the-Sea.

    Both of Claire’s novels are published by Vinspire Publishing.

    Her third novel, Mourning Dove, is a Southern family saga, published in June, 2018 by Firefly Southern Fiction.

    She is one of four contributors to the book, Southern Seasons, with her novella, Through an Autumn Window, to be published in November 2018 by Firefly Southern Fiction.

    Claire is represented by Julie Gwinn, of The Seymour Literary Agency.

    To learn more about this author, visit the following links:

    WebsiteTwitterFacebookInstagram | Goodreads | Pinterest | Audible | WordPress | LinkedIn

    Readers’ Favorite awarded Mourning Dove the 2018 bronze medal in the Southern Fiction category.

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    MOURNING DOVE is a work of Historical Fiction set in the American South. The version I read was an Audiobook narrated by the author.

    Mourning Dove by Claire Fullerton is a family saga. The book starts in the 1960s and follows the lives of Posey and her two children, Millie and Finley.

    Posey grew up in Memphis, but left the South and lived in Minnesota. Returning to her childhood home is easy for Posey. She grew up immersed in the strange (at least it is strange if you did not grow up there) customs and lingo of Memphis. For her, it is like putting on a favorite dress that is pure comfort.

    However, Millie and Finley do not fit in immediately. They find all the obscure social customs and rules bewildering at first. The children learn by watching their mother, but never really feel at home.

    MOURNING DOVE draws the reader (or listener in my case) into a world of old, moneyed families during a time in American history when those things were considered of upmost importance to the elite of Memphis society.

    The descriptions are exceedingly well written and readers are able to picture the time and place easily in their minds.

    The author shows that no matter how much money or social status a family has, it will not insulate them completely from tragedy and misfortune.

    I particularly liked the fact that the author did not shy away from the truth of the racism that was so abundant during the timeframe of this story.

    This book is a coming-of-age story not only for the characters, but also for the nation. Anyone interested in Historic and/or Southern Fiction will enjoy this audiobook.

    The narrator has the perfect accent for this audiobook and I give her full credit for increasing my enjoyment of this novel.

    I rate MOURNING DOVE as 4 out of 5 Stars. ⭐⭐⭐⭐

    I received this audiobook as part of my participation in a blog tour with Audiobookworm Promotions. The tour is being sponsored by Claire Fullerton. The gifting of this audiobook did not affect my opinion of it.

    Q&A with Author & Narrator:

    Claire Fullerton

    • Tell us about the process of turning your book into an audiobook.
      • I am the author and narrator of coming of age, Southern family saga, Mourning Dove. As I wrote Mourning Dove, I could literally hear the narration in my mind’s ears! I am attuned to sound, in that I enjoyed a nine year career in music radio. And growing up in Memphis will make anyone an aficionado of music. After I gained permission from my publisher to narrate Mourning Dove, I spent four weeks narrating in a recording studio, acting out the characters in the book. The Southern accent wasn’t as important as the inflections. Southerns have a specific way of turning a phrase, especially those in the Delta, so I aimed for accuracy. Mourning Dove’s audiobook is nine hours, and I loved every minute of the recording process.
    • Was a possible audiobook recording something you were conscious of while writing?
      • No. As I wrote the book, I paid attention to the arc of the story. I had faith that if I wrote the book as best I could then an audiobook would be an off-shoot.
    • How did you wind up narrating this audiobook?
      • In the case of how I came to narrate the coming of age, Southern family saga, Mourning Dove, I had to audition with my publisher, who was not in the practice of having their authors narrate their own books. But Mourning Dove is written in the first person, and it takes place in the South, so I wanted to give it the authentic, Memphis accent.
    • Were there any real life inspirations behind your writing?
      • Yes, but the characters in Mourning Dove came from impressions I had of Southerners as a whole, while growing up in Memphis. Some mannerisms I included were specific to certain people I knew in my youth. This isn’t to say I put people I knew in the books as characters, but I did steal from some engaging mannerisms.
    • How did you decide how each character should sound in this title?
      • After I knew the frame of mind of the characters, as well as their personalities, I let the characteristics be my guide. I asked myself if they were each confident or self-conscious, if they were fearful, anxious, or easy going. I let the scene’s urgency or lack thereof dictate the voice.
    • How do you manage to avoid burn-out? What do you do to maintain your enthusiasm for writing?
      • I discovered long ago to let the story breathe. I write in scenes, and when I get to the end of a scene, sometimes it takes a day to arrive at where the story goes next. All along, I know the point I want to make in writing a novel. The task is to illuminate the path to my point, in scenes that illustrate the way to the point, if you will, and for this to happen, sometimes it’s good to pause while the next scene comes into focus.
    • If you had the power to time travel, would you use it? If yes, when and where would you go?
      • I would head straight to 1797 and visit George Washington. I worked for several years as a historical interpreter on his estate and would love to pop in and see it in its prime. Not to mention catch some time alone with the General to talk to him.
    • Is there a particular part of this story that you feel is more resonating in the audiobook performance than in the book format?
      • I think the gift in Mourning Dove’s audiobook is that the listener will literally hear how the characters sound to me, as the author. Again, the nuances are all in the Southern inflections.
    • What’s next for you?
      • I have a novella coming out titled Through an Autumn Window, to be published as one of four novellas in a book called A Southern Season, by Firefly Southern Fiction. I also have a full manuscript in the hands of my literary agent, Julie Gwinn of the Seymour Literary Agency.

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