This might have been a good read, however the author/narrator's vocal performance was monotonous and without any inflection or emotion. The result was that I couldn't get past the first disk.
A couple of Kaye Gibbons' books are truly wonderful: Ellen Foster, and Charms for the Easy Life are well worth reading. Others she has written are not as successful, and this one is the weakest. The characters are flat and stereotypical -- Troop is a horrifying bully with no redeeming value, Maureen is an angelic saint, and the two black servants are long-suffering, downtrodden victims. Mary, the young narrator, comes from an entertainingly eccentric family, but that's just a background detail. Gibbons' talents are real and nobody should skip her other books just because this one's a dud.
The author is the reader of this book. Unfortunately, her style is a monotone. The book is needlessly sappy and the character development is not convincing. There are, however, some interesting narrative constructions which save the book from being a total wash. The background of the Spanish influenza and the World War also add some redeeming qualities. Use this selection as a "filler" while waiting for a better one.....
Although the book itself was interesting the reader/author was unbelievably bad! Her near-monotone voice made it next to impossible to identify changes of character until you were well into whatever it was they were saying. PLEASE! Don't allow authors to read their own works unless they have demonstrated reading skills on a level with professional readers.
A wonderful book, inspiring! Kaye Gibbons is a great narator!
Kaye Gibbons is the author of four previous novels: "Ellen Foster, A Virtuous Woman, A Cure for Dreams, " and "Charms for the Easy Life." She lives in Raleigh, North Carolina, with her husband and five children.