Ten-year-old Helen and her summer guardian, Flora, are isolated together in Helen's decaying family house while her father is doing secret war work in Oak Ridge during the final months of World War II. At three Helen lost her mother and the beloved grandmother who raised her has just died. A fiercely imaginative child, Helen is desperate to keep her house intact with all its ghosts and stories.
Flora, her late mother's twenty-two-year old first cousin, who cries at the drop of a hat, is ardently determined to do her best for Helen. Their relationship and its fallout, played against a backdrop of a lost America will haunt Helen for the rest of her life.
This darkly beautiful audiobook about a child and a caretaker in isolation evokes shades of The Turn of the Screw and also harks back to Godwin's memorable novel of growing up, The Finishing School. With its house on top of a mountain and a child who may be a bomb that will one day go off, Flora tells a story of love, regret, and the things we can't undo.
©2013 Gail Godwin (P)2013 Audible, Inc.
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"One of the few books about "real people."
This story is set at the end of WWII, but the timing could have been many times. The people in the story are real with all of their wonder and flaws. I laughed, was angry, and cried. The book talks about true remorse and this hit me the most in a time of self love and telling ourselves that we have no fault in anything. This is not done in a preachy way and I cared about all the people. I look forward to reading more. of this author. The audible was marvelous and I got completely lost in the story. A great read in a genre that is almost extinct.
It was a good read. But at times it kinda drag on and on. It's not one I would read again.
"A Summer in the life of a ten year old girl"
Self-centered, often unkind Helen we learn has inherited some of her least nice traits. Her summer caretaker, cousin Flora, contrasts those traits. The story flows so believably and easily through the eyes of the child and enhanced by the reminiscence of the adult remembering the child of that summer. Suzanne Toren has so well captured the petulance of Helen as well as the gentleness of Flora.
"Good story, wrong narrator"
I really enjoyed the story and would recommend on that basis. However, Suzanne Toran's narration struck the wrong note for me. For a story told from the perspective of a "10 going on 11" year old girl, the narrator sounded much too old. Also, her reading voice was a bit lethargic and distrusted the momentum of the story.
"Languid, intimate and evocative listen."
How surprising a book can be. Bit by bit, piece by piece, a story unfolds while, even a close reader, can perhaps not consciously feel how strongly the events are becoming entwined with their own memories, by their own life.
The power wrought by this author transcended many Continents, a different strata of life, an almost different language and shook this listener to the core.
How similar we all are even if we are very different.
"Slow but worth the listen"
I really loved this book. It was slow but absorbing. Just what I needed after the suspenseful one I just finished. I thought the narrator was perfect. Someone else thought it evoked similarities to To Kill A Mockingbird, and I have to agree.
"Coming of age during final days of WWII"
Yes, it is a rare audio book that I would listen to again. It has flavors of "To Kill a Mockingbird."
I enjoyed the summer routines.
Flora was a simple but decent character and I would rate her as my favorite.
Frankie narrates the book and it is easy to relate to her situation during the war times.
This was a good wholesome novel. No sex, minimal profanity and overall a good story.
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