Today, I am reviewing two very different audiobooks. Mrs. Wiggins takes place in the South during the Depression and Bones of a Saint is set in the 70s in small town California. Both audiobooks were very well narrated, although I do believe Bones of a Saint was a mismatch. I received a copy of these audiobooks from the publisher, Recorded Books, through Netgalley. The ratings and opinions shared are my own.
Mrs. Wiggins by Mary Monroe, Shari Peele (Narrator)
Published March 30, 2021 by Recorded Books
Mrs. Wiggins was a story that was totally unexpected. I enjoyed getting to know Maggie (Franklin) Wiggins. I am not going to say anything else about the story beyond what is revealed in the synopsis as I do not want to ruin this story for anyone. Mrs. Wiggins was a character driven story that included rich and vibrant characters, There was a lot of racism in the way Maggie and Hubert were treated, even some sexual harassment, as Maggie was the daughter of a prostitute. The secrets that Maggie and Hubert are keeping have the possibility to destroy many lives, but they keep them through the whole story. I will say that there were times that I found this story very slow. Maggie is the narrator and it told from her point of view. It is interesting to see what she thinks others are thinking and feeling. I had no idea where this story was going, so was in for a surprise.
More than anything else, this is a story of secrets, taking control of your life, and determining how far you will go for your children and your image of a perfect life. The book touches on many themes such as: sexual abuse and preferences, domestic violence, racism, the effects of The Depression, and social tensions. I listened to the audiobook narrated by Shari Peele. She has the perfect voice for Maggie Wiggins. I thought we were sitting together and she was sharing her story with me. Using expression, tone, inflection and pacing, she performs this story flawlessly giving distinct voices for each character. An enjoyable listen. The publisher generously provided me with a copy of this book upon request. The rating and opinions shared are my own.
Bones of a Saint by Grant Farley, Christopher Carley (Narrator)
Published March 16th 2021 by RB Media
3 Stars: ⭐⭐⭐
Growing up in the 70s, this book appealed to me. Described as a coming of age story, I wondered if life in small, dead-end town of Arcangel, CA would be anything like I remembered the 70s growing up. Well, I didn’t recognize anything, but it was an interesting read. This is a gritty, dark story about fifteen-year-old R.J. on his journey into adulthood and trying to save his community. The area is ruled by a gang, “The Blackjacks” who have been around for as long as anyone can remember. R.J. does not want to be part of the group and he has to make some decisions.
R.J. Armante, is a mouthy kid who is constantly getting himself in trouble. He is basically raising himself and protecting his brother Charley. He has an odd love/hate relationship with Roxanne, a neighbor girl. They have known each other forever but deal their mothers hating one another. When an old man moves to town, the Blackjacks want him gone. He has moved into a house on their “mountain” and no one is supposed to be there. They want R.J. to get rid of him, but R.J. develops a friendship of sorts with him. This novel was not fast-paced, which I thought it would have been. Near the beginning I wasn’t sure if I was going to finish this book, but I persevered. This reminded me a bit of a memoir, a boy sharing his struggles, his dreams and his journey to adulthood. Along the way he learns some things that impact his life and decisions. The writing is good, short snappy sentences and dialogue. I won’t say that I enjoyed this story, but it was interesting. Perhaps I was just not the audience for this one. Christopher Carley narrated this audiobook. I liked his narration and expression, but I felt the voice was too old for R.J. It seemed like a mismatch to me.