The New York Times best-selling author of A Long Time Gone now explores a Southern family's buried history, which will change the life of the woman who unearths it secret by shattering secret. It has been two years since the death of Merritt Heyward's husband, Cal, when she receives unexpected news - Cal's family home in Beaufort, South Carolina, bequeathed by Cal's reclusive grandmother, now belongs to Merritt. Charting the course of an uncertain life - and feeling guilt from her husband's tragic death - Merritt travels from her home in Maine to Beaufort, where the secrets of Cal's unspoken-of past reside among the pluff mud and jasmine of the ancestral Heyward home on the Bluff. This unknown legacy, now Merritt's, will change and define her as she navigates her new life - a new life complicated by the arrival of her too-young stepmother and 10-year-old half brother. Soon, in this house of strangers, Merritt is forced into unraveling the Heyward family past as she faces her own fears and finds the healing she needs in the salt air of the Low Country.
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My Review It actually took a few chapters before the book hooked me, as to be honest, I did find the early part of the story a little confusing and I had to re listen so as to sort out who was who. That done, I didn't look back and was soon immersed in this intriguing tale of Merritt and the family who were strangers to her. She was barely in the door of her new home when who should arrive on her doorstep but her stepmother Loralee with her ten year old son Owen, Merritts half brother. Loralee, the young, beautiful ex flight attendant with the big hair, who never faced the world without her lipstick and a big smile. This was the woman whose marraige to Merritts' father had been the cause of the deep rift between them, the woman Merritt dismissed as trailer trash, an airhead out for what she could get. Loralee and Owen had come to stay awhile. Much as she craved solitude, Merritt felt she could hardly refuse so grudgingly permitted them to stay, making it clear that it was only to be for a short while.
Merrit had also been unaware of the existence of a brother in law, Gibbes, he hadn't lived in the old house for years and wanted to retrieve a few of his boyhood possessions. Gibbes proved to be a far different man than Cal, his brother and Merritts late husband. This is how the relationships between the four of them began, of Merritts growing love for her nerdy little brother and her realisation that, after all, they are both grieving for the same daddy. Of her unquestioning acceptance of his attempts to become "cool" when he announces that he now wants to be known as Rocky, not Owen. Of how Gibbes proves himself to be so different to his abusive troubled brother, and of how Merritt grudgingly comes to accept Loralee as she truly is. Then, of course, there is the mystery and suspense! Exactly what secrets does that old attic hold? Well, you must read the book to discover how the mysteries are unravelled and of how the relationships develop.
I just love a good story, one where part of me wants to rush on to find out what comes next, but yet another part of me doesn't want it to end because I'm enjoying it too much and author Karen White knows exactly how to write such a story. Mystery, intrigue, pathos, romance, it's all here, just a warning though, this book does speak of spousal abuse, something which the publishers summary omits to mention, so should you find the subject to be distressing, be warned. In summary, this is beautifully and sensitively written and is a thoroughly enjoyable read.
Narrators Narrated by Susan Bennett and Therese Pummer who both did a wonderful job, so easy to listen to with their lovely voices. Both masters of pace and timing, I'm not American, so am not qualified to judge American accents, but they sounded really good to me. I thought both age and gender changes were totally believable, I had no trouble in differentiating the characters. I'm not sure why two narrators were thought to be necessary though, as both seemed more than capable of telling the whole story as a solo performance, nevertheless, this audiobook is a quality production.
I purchased this audiobook from Audible.com, this review is my honest opinion.
- bec "I review books and audiobooks, mostly mystery, police procedurals, That's about it!"
Good but a little cheesy
This story, set present time, briefly flashes back to the 1950's and forward. It touches lightly on physical abusive but not in any detail. It's a story about young women trying to start over. She has shut everyone out of her life. Parts of the book are pretty predicable. I can not relate to the main character at all. Most 20 something women do not act that way she did. The narration got annoying towards the end. I guess it was the "southern accent" twang of a couple of the characters. The first half of the book was better than the last half. I almost didn't finish it. It became a little cheesy.