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Hard to believe it’s already the end of September! Time marches on and I’m just beginning to realize I’m actually retired. The first half of the month I was on a trip, so it still felt like summer. Now that I’m home and NOT going to work, it’s a whole new ball game! During the last month or so, I’ve listened to quite a few audiobooks. Most I liked, couple I didn’t, but two rise above the others, falling into that category of “audiobooks you’ll love listening to!”
So, if you’re on the hunt for a great audiobook, read on because these are two I’d highly recommend.
Who is Maud Dixon by Alexandra Andrews (debut)
Narrator: Therese Plummer
Publisher: Little Brown & Company
Release Date: March 2, 2021
Length: 324 pages (9 hrs. 11 min.)
My Thoughts: Why did it take me so long to get to 𝗪𝐇𝐎 𝐈𝐒 𝐌𝐀𝐔𝐃 𝐃𝐈𝐗𝐎𝐍? by Alexandra Andrews? Maybe it was because I’m so finicky about mystery/thriller type books, or maybe I was just living under a rock, but finally I rectified the problem.
I loved the story of Florence Darrow, a young writer wannabe, who falls into the job of a lifetime: personal assistant to “Maud Dixon”, a celebrated novelist writing under a pseudonym. Florence becomes one of only a few people who know Maud’s true identity. The author, Helen, exposes Florence not only to the world of a writer, but also to one of good wine, good food, travel, and adventure. Florence’s life is transformed, and then completely upended after she’s in a car accident on the coast of Morocco and Helen is Missing. What follows is a fun romp for Florence, as she tries to turn lemons into lemonade, reinventing herself into the person she most wants to be.
I absolutely loved this book and suspect I enjoyed it even more because I listened. The narration by Therese Plummer was stellar, making this one of those audiobooks I couldn’t stop listening to. Whichever format you choose, 𝘞𝘩𝘰 𝘐𝘴 𝘔𝘢𝘶𝘥 𝘋𝘪𝘹𝘰𝘯? Would be a fun way to start off your fall! Grade: B+
The Nine Lives of Rose Napolitano by Donna Freitas
Narrator: Kristen Sieh
Publisher: Pamela Dorman Books (Penguin Audio)
Release Date: April 6, 2021
Length: 384 pages (9 hrs. 7 min.)
My Thoughts: Don’t you just love it when a book takes you completely by surprise? 𝐓𝐇𝐄 𝐍𝐈𝐍𝐄 𝐋𝐈𝐕𝐄𝐒 𝐎𝐅 𝐑𝐎𝐒𝐄 𝐍𝐀𝐏𝐎𝐋𝐈𝐓𝐀𝐍𝐎 by Donna Freitas did exactly that for me. It was a book I’d seen around, but was never truly grabbed by the premise. To be honest, I think the “nine lives” part put me off on it. Then, I heard Caitlin Wahrer recommend the book on the Sarah’s Bookshelves Live podcast and was a little intrigued. I had a long drive coming up, so it was the perfect time to listen.
From the very beginning, I knew I was going to love this book. It features Rose, a Phd. in sociology, who has ALWAYS known that she doesn’t want children. Her husband, Luke, is in complete agreement….until he changes his mind. In nine different iterations of Rose’s life Freitas beautifully explores motherhood: what it means to be a mother, what it means to have a mother, what it means to choose motherhood, and what it means to choose not join the ranks of motherhood. This last, especially, is a topic not covered much in writing. I so appreciated the deft hand Freitas used to really shine a light on this choice that is so often misunderstood and questioned by society at large. To me 𝘛𝘩𝘦 𝘕𝘪𝘯𝘦 𝘓𝘪𝘷𝘦𝘴 𝘰𝘧 𝘙𝘰𝘴𝘦 𝘕𝘢𝘱𝘰𝘭𝘪𝘵𝘢𝘯𝘰 is not only a great story, it’s also an important book and one I highly recommend. I thoroughly enjoyed the audio version, narrated by Kristen Sieh, but think Rose’s nine lives might have been slightly easier to follow in print. (Though not enough to knock it down at all!) Grade: A-
What audiobooks have you loved listening to lately?
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I like the sound of both of these and actually have (1) on audio so I’m happy you enjoyed them. I just finished Bewilderment; Powers on audio and thought it was well done.
I’m in the middle of Bewilderment right now and am really liking it!
booker talk says
Am I understanding correctly that The Nine Lives of Rose Napolitano is based on the idea of 9 alternative ways in which she could have lived her life? A kind of “sliding doors” in book form?
In essence, yes, but the versions of her life have a lot of overlap and no one life is perfect. It’s a really interesting look at motherhood in all its iterations.
Yes I really liked Maud Dixon too! The plot & audio were diabolical fun! And Andrews is an author to watch!
I really liked Maud Dixon. However, Rose Napolitano made be very angry. How could any author, but especially a woman author, write about ignoring, no, denigrating, a woman’s firm decision not to have children? And have EVERYONE in the book tell her she’s wrong. She never chose motherhood, it was foisted upon her. And when she does have a child, well, there are no downsides. No sleepless nights, no issues about childcare, no needing a larger apartment, no damage to her career. Just poof, a perfect 4 year old. I only finished it because it might, finally, say something about society not allowing women to have the choices they’ve made. But it didn’t. It worries me that any woman could tolerate some of the scenes from this book.
Obviously, I saw Rose Napolitano much differently than you did. I thought the author explored the different iterations of a choice, and yes everyone did put pressure on Rose, but isn’t that the reality of what happens to many women who don’t want kids? One of my close friends never wanted children and in the end her marriage ended because of it and her relationship with her mother also fell apart. Not every book needs to be a social commentary. I loved the story and I assure you that you don’t need to worry about me because of it.