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Publisher's Summary

Nineteen-year-old Aldine McKenna is stuck at home with her sister and aunt in a Scottish village in 1929 when two Mormon missionaries ring the doorbell. Aldine's sister converts and moves to America to marry, and Aldine follows, hoping to find the life she's meant to lead and the person she's meant to love.
In New York, Aldine answers an ad soliciting a teacher for a one-room schoolhouse in a place she can't possibly imagine: drought-stricken Kansas. She arrives as farms on the Great Plains have begun to fail and schools are going bankrupt, unable to pay or house new teachers. With no money and too much pride to turn back, she lives uneasily with the family of Ansel Price - the charming, optimistic man who placed the ad - and his family responds to her with kind curiosity, suspicion, and, most dangerously, love. Just as she's settling into her strange new life, a storm forces unspoken thoughts to the surface that will forever alter the course of their lives.
Laura McNeal's novel is a sweeping and timeless love story about leaving - and finding - home.
©2017 Laura McNeal (P)2016 Brilliance Audio, all rights reserved.
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
4 out of 5 stars
By NMwritergal on 05-06-17

Well, written, interesting, different family saga

I wasn’t sold till Scotland and NY was behind Aldine—those parts felt almost superfluous to the story. But I kept listening because Angela Dawe is my favorite female audio narrator. As soon as Aldine gets to Kansas, the story picks up.

I could have listened to an entire book about Aldine, but the book takes a turn and we end up with the POVs of all the Price family members. I was especially impressed how McNeal took unlikeable characters seen from Aldine’s POV, who became much more sympathetic when we were in their heads. Nevertheless, it did not make Aldine an unreliable narrator, the reader just understands the character’s motivation better.

I don’t want to give any spoilers, but the book went in many directions that I didn’t expect, all of which were interesting and satisfying. Also loved the historical details of time, place, and events.

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10 of 10 people found this review helpful

1 out of 5 stars
By Mistyrose on 07-17-17

depressing and boring

What disappointed you about The Practice House?

The story was not interesting. I kept waiting for it to get that way and it never did. None of the characters was I ever invested in their welfare, most I found terribly annoying making one bad decision after another or just having an endless string of bad luck. The writing style to make each character a point of view character was unnecessary. Knowing the boring lives of all the characters did not make it more interesting and sometimes just made it difficult to follow.

Has The Practice House turned you off from other books in this genre?

Yes. I used to read this type of book more so perhaps i'm just finished with this type... Sad, uneventful stories about everyday life and mistakes. I read to escape normal life, however, my life is a party compared to these characters.

Have you listened to any of Angela Dawe’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

No. her performance is well done. Her voice is sad as suits the characters. Only her reading of the youngest child was a bit grating and loud.

What reaction did this book spark in you? Anger, sadness, disappointment?

Disappointment and annoyance. I can't really even say sadness because the characters were not compelling enough to cause me to feel their pain.

Any additional comments?

I really feel bad giving such a harsh review but I take other's reviews seriously. I'm sure the author worked hard on this book and others may really enjoy it. Sadly, for me it was an experience of waiting too long for it to get interesting and then just wanting it to be over but not feeling I could just stop because by then I had too much time invested to not finish it.

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5 of 6 people found this review helpful

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
5 out of 5 stars
By Linda on 08-18-17

A Haunting Quality

Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

Yes, I loved the story. It was very well written and the author somehow captured the kind of haunting quality I associate with the finest Scottish authors.

What did you like best about this story?

I liked all the characters and could feel empathy for their situations.

What about Angela Dawe’s performance did you like?

Sometimes her Scottish accent was a bit off the mark but I loved her voice and felt she covered the range of characters from children to men very well indeed.

Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

I felt the tears pricking at my eyes at the very end when Clare realizes who the mystery visitor is.

Any additional comments?

I would recommend this audiobook. It was so well written and narrated that it filled me with a nostalgia for a place and time I have never experienced in real life. To me that is a remarkable achievement for any author.

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