The Secret Sense of Wildflower

  • by Susan Gabriel
  • Narrated by Susan Gabriel
  • 6 hrs and 2 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

Set in 1940s Appalachia, The Secret Sense of Wildflower tells the story of Louisa May "Wildflower" McAllister, whose life has been shaped around the recent death of her beloved father in a sawmill accident. While her mother hardens in her grief, Wildflower and her three sisters must cope with their loss themselves, as well as with the demands of daily survival. Despite these hardships, Wildflower has a resilience that is forged with humor, a love of the land, and an endless supply of questions to God. When Johnny Monroe, the town's teenage ne'er-do-well, sets his sights on Wildflower, she must draw on the strength of her relations, both living and dead, to deal with his threat.
With prose as lush and colorful as the American South, The Secret Sense of Wildflower is powerful and poignant, brimming with energy and angst, humor and hope. In its ability to create a truly original Southern voice, The Secret Sense of Wildflower establishes Gabriel as a thoughtful and powerful Southern writer.


What the Critics Say

Best Books of 2012 (Kirkus Reviews)
"A quietly powerful story, at times harrowing but ultimately a joy to read." (Kirkus Reviews, starred review and voted a Best Book of 2012)
"In this the story about a young girl who must grow up faster than her time and make peace with several factors there is also mystery and drama along with the palpable female protagonist and soulful narrative to keep the reader emotionally charged and invested. The Secret Sense of Wildflower is eloquent and moving tale chock-filled with themes of inner strength, family and love." (
"The story is powerful, very powerful. Excellent visuals, good drama. I raced to get to the conclusion...but didn't really want to read the last few pages because then it would be over!" (author Nancy Purcell)


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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

Poor Narration

What did you like best about The Secret Sense of Wildflower? What did you like least?

Perhaps if I had read this instead of listening to it, I would have liked it. Dull, monotone, drone expressionless narration.
Story is OK, but not gripping or especially literary.

How did the narrator detract from the book?

boring. almost quit on her

Could you see The Secret Sense of Wildflower being made into a movie or a TV series? Who should the stars be?


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- Robert "Robert"

Poor narration and technical production

I wanted to like this book when I started listening to the audible version, and it had a promising start. Unfortunately, the author's narration and the technical production were really poor. The author's voice does not match the main character (a 12-13 year old girl), and she read in nearly a monotone with very little expression. In at least 3 instances the narration was interrupted by some technical issue, including what might be most of one of the last 3 or 4 chapters.

I really like coming-of-age stories and southern literature. Even with the poor narration, the beginning of the novel, the character development, the building of tension and place were good enough to keep me reading. My biggest disappointment came in the tidy, abrupt ending, possibly because of the missing chapter. Perhaps some page limit had been reached?

I was also hoping that Wildflower's "secret sense" would have played a more important part in the novel.
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- Julie

Book Details

  • Release Date: 06-13-2013
  • Publisher: Wild Lily Arts