Learning to Speak Southern by Lindsey Rogers Cook, Tiffany Morgan (Narrator)
Published June 1st 2021 by Tantor Audio, Sourcebooks Landmark
3 Stars: ⭐⭐⭐
Lex left her home and Memphis behind years ago, never planning to return. She worked at odd jobs, specifically teaching English around the world. She is broke and when her godmother gives her some news that has her coming home. She accepts her offer to stay and find out about the mother she never understood. Her childhood was happy when she was with her godmother, but she and her mother had a love/hate relationship. When her mother dies just before her college graduation, she never thought she would have a second chance at figuring her out. Lex was not a genteel southern woman of her mother and godmother, but a partier. She learns about the Memphis her mother grew up in, as well as more about her past. What she learns about her mother surprises her and brings her closer to understanding her.
This is a character driven story. Lex was an interesting character, stubborn, angry and to me selfish. Cami was loving, smart and stubborn and she really wanted Lex to learn about her mother and was smart enough to realize how to get her to do that. I found it interesting to learn how her mother’s story mirrored her own in several ways. I really wanted to love this story, but I only liked it. It was very slow and just didn’t grab me like I thought it would. Learning to Speak Southern is a family drama that examines mother/daughter bonds, friendship, the influence of Southern culture, and the resounding effects of family secrets. Wonderful themes that I enjoy reading about. If you like southern fiction and stories about families, then I suggest you pick this up. You might just love it more than I did. The publisher generously provided me with a copy of this book upon request. The rating and opinions shared are my own. Tiffany Morgan narrated this story and she does a good job with the southern accents giving me that slow, drawl that I have come to identify with this type of story.
Always the Last to Know by Kristan Higgins, Narrated by Laural Merlington, Amy Rubinate, Xe Sands, and Graham Winton
Published June 9th 2020 by Recorded Books, Berkley Books
This is another great story from Kristan Higgins about family, love and finding what is really important in your life. Barb and John Frost are a couple who have been married for a long time, but their marriage is stale, they are living separate lives and their is no more happiness. Barb is contemplating telling John she wants a divorce, but before she can she gets a call from the hospital. 70 year old John had a stroke while out bike riding. He hit his head when he fell and laid there for quite awhile. There is no idea how much damage has resulted from this incident, but it means, the divorce request is on the back burner, maybe forever. Their daughters, Juliet and Sadie each have a favourite parent. Juliet is the oldest and is an architect on the partner track in her firm. She has two daughters and a loving husband, she is mom’s girl. Sadie lives in New York. She is a struggling artist, who teaches to make ends meet. She left the small town of Stonington, Connecticut and her boyfriend behind when she went to New York. She comes home to help her mom take care of her daddy, she is daddy’s girl. At this point, they all have secrets and are at a crossroads in their lives.
This story is told from multiple POVs. Each of the family shares what is happening, including John. I felt for John as he struggled to make himself heard after his stroke when he couldn’t communicate, it was so sad. I felt for each of the characters and they tried to deal with what life had dealt them. Some of their stories were told as flashbacks and that is where we get to see how Barb became the person she was in the present. This really made me think about the pressure put on women to succeed as well as be the perfect wife and mother. Sadie was the one I really wanted to smack. She had so much in her life, but wanted more. She had a dream, and that is a good thing, but she was remaking herself to achieve that goal. As she once again falls for her high school boyfriend, but doesn’t want to come back home for good. Each POV had me reevaluating what was important in my life and for me that means it was an excellent book. It has a bit of everything, family, secrets, romance, happiness, growth and finally acceptance of all that is wonderful about life. This is not a fast moving story, but a character based, slow building drama as the characters made decisions about their lives. I definitely recommend this story. I did a read/listen with this book, but more listening as the wonderful cast of Laural Merlington, Amy Rubinate, Xe Sands, and Graham Winton performed this story. Each narrator performed one of the characters and I enjoyed identifying the voices. An audiobook, I definitely recommend.