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Lilac Lane is the second book in the Stutter Creek series, but the third I have read, as I ended up reading these in the wrong order. But that didn't really matter, as each book works fine as a standalone and focuses on one couple in particular. Characters from the other books in the series make appearances, which is quite nice because after a couple of Stutter Creek books it feels like you are returning to a place you know which is inhabited by very likable characters. This one has been my favorite of the three I've now read/listened to.
It concentrates on Ella and her son, Nick, who are hoping for a fresh start in Stutter Creek after escaping the abusive behavior of husband and stepdad, Anson. The relationship between Ella and her son was touching and a very enjoyable element of the story. The romantic relationship between Ella and the local wildlife biologist, Chet, was believable and nicely done. The romantic elements remained very 'mild'. Lilac Lane was heavier on the suspense than on the romance. But there wasn't any overly bloody or gory violence either. Ann Swann did a good job of creating a creepy atmosphere and building up the suspense.
The narration by Mindy Grall was excellent. She had a very pleasant voice, nice intonation, and good tempo to make this into an enjoyable listening experience. All her characters sounded credible, including the 10-year-old child and the male characters. This was the first time I listened to Mindy Grall. I would definitely listen to more books narrated by her, and I'm pleased there was a change of narrator from book 1 to book 2. There were no issues with the quality of the production.
Overall, an easy and enjoyable listen which should particularly appeal to listeners who like fairly clean, almost 'cozy', romantic suspense stories.
Audiobook was provided for review by the author.
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6 of 9 people found this review helpful
This story just tore me up from the abuse to the emotions the author brings to the table as well as the romance of a new love and learning to trust all over again. There are many ways to abuse someone and this family has them all. I wanted so much to reach in and pull mother and child out of this book just to give them a breather from the hateful man they called husband and father. There is so much chilling suspense my heart stopped a few times. There is also lots of humor, smiles and laughs but don’t let that fool you danger is all around with bumps in the nights and no explanation to be found. Could it be animals building a nest or is there much more that could lead to death, deduction and fear. A compelling listen that leaves you holding on to the edge.
Ms. Grall is a very talented narrator grabbing your attention and keeping it as she uses her voice to tell a story of death, confusion and danger. She kept me spellbound from the first page giving an audio that sucked me. You can hear the sorrow, fear, humor, excitement and danger in her voice as she uses tones to really give you the layout of everything that is going on around you. She truly made me feel like I was there as each scene unfolds keeping me on the edge waiting to see what was in store for me. Her characters voices are outstanding her performance even better. You have no trouble knowing who is talking or just what they are feeling. Her female and male voices are wonderful from sexy, loving, sad, fear, excited to downright evil tones that you have no trouble feeling. I had no trouble picturing the scenes in my mind and feeling the fear of the unknown as the narrator takes me on a ride that holds my attention. There were no background noises or any place where the volume was higher or lower , there are no repeating of words just a wonderful clear audio I got lost in. Each chapter was full of danger, thrills and even a few chills that the narrator pulled off with no problem along with humor, love, caring as this family starts over. I could not tell if any breaks were taken it was just one highly entertaining audio that I truly got lost in. This is one narrator that knows how to pull you in letting your mind take over feeling all the emotions the author wants you to feel. I just loved this audio and plan to listen to it again.
The author really knows how to pull the reader in giving an exciting, thrilling, dangerous read that holds your attention. She sucked me in from the first page until the last. Her writing style is different as she lays out the hurt and pain along with a new budding romance with just the right amount of uncertainly that really hits you right in the heart. There were times my heart broke, others when I smiled and even chuckled as well as times I held my breath and started talking to the characters. There is a little mystery as well as things that are overlooked by the characters which really add to the story. I had no trouble feeling the characters doubts, uneasiness, fears and joys. Ella and Chet each carries baggy that gets in the way of a budding would be romance. Both are caught in the past for good reason and both will have to deal with these issues and learn to trust again.
The hanging on the edge suspense is outstanding as well as the chilling plot of a mad man that feels he was wrong. There is mystery of a past no one would ever have dreamed of as well as a wonderful buildup of fear that you the read will feel. Heart stopping thrilling that sucks you in as well as humor, laughs and wonderful surprises that keep you smiling. This is an author that has no trouble taking you away making the scenes play over and over in your head making you jump at every noise you might hear. I was hooked from the first page until the end. I can’t wait until the next one in this series comes out. What a wonderful suspenseful thrilling ride I could not put down. You are so going to love this.