This week, I drove down to Florida. It was the perfect time to listen to some audiobooks that I wanted to get to. On the drive, in the hotel and while unpacking, I listened to four audiobooks and enjoyed them all. Here are my thoughts on the final two.

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The Women of Pearl Island by Polly Crosby, Katherine Press (Narrator)

Published December 7th 2021 by Park Row, Harlequin Audio

4 Stars: ⭐⭐⭐⭐

The Women of Pearl Island is the story of three women who couldn’t be more different from each other. Marianne is a recluse, in a wheel chair, and is very set in her ways. Nan is a young woman from her past, that is definitely affecting her present. Tartelin is hired to hunt for butterflies for her research and assist her with personal needs. She is drawn to the island and the water. The story is set on Dohhalund, a remote island off the British Coast and has been owned by Marianne’s family for generations. She lived on the island for years and only recently returned after the British Government decommissioned it after commandeering it during WWII. Marianne has secrets and memories that keep her going, but what is she doing with the butterflies Tartelin catches and why?

The Women of Pearl Island

This is a beautifully written, lyrical story. Tartelin’s discovery of the island was interesting and intriguing. There were a few other people on the island that helped with that discover, as well as adding to the gothic atmosphere. The older woman who lived in a small hut was very interesting and had my curiosity going, the young man, Jacob, adds companionship as well as teaching her about the island, especially some of the dangers. The relationship between Tartelin and Marianne is complicated. They are employee and employer, but there is also a closeness that develops living in the same house, working together and being alone. Gradually Marianne opens up and begins to share some of her memories and secrets. The story is told in two timelines, with the past being told by Marianne. We learn about silkworms and silk, the herring industry and pearls all wrapped up in a wonderful story. There is a lot happening in this story, but Polly Crosby does a wonderful job of weaving all the pieces together. As the secrets are revealed, I found myself smiling and weepy at the same time. This is a story to experience and I recommend it to those who enjoy a beautifully written book with family, secrets, self-discovery and forgiveness. I did a read/listen with this one. I listened in the car while driving, but in the evening, I read the book to immerse myself in the words. The audiobook was wonderfully narrated by Katherine Press. She is a new narrator to me, but I will definitely look for more books she has performed. Her voice was expressive and lyrical adding to the atmosphere and my enjoyment of this story. The publisher generously provided me with a copy of this book upon request. The rating and opinions shared are my own.

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The Man Who Died Twice (Thursday Murder Club #2) by Richard Osman, Lesley Manville (Narrator)

Published September 28th 2021 by Penguin Audio, Pamela Dorman Books

5 Stars: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

The second book in the Thursday Murder Club was wonderful and although I enjoyed the first book, this one was even better. Elizabeth, Joyce, Ron, and Ibrahim – the Thursday Murder Club are still meeting and hoping for some peace and quiet after solving their first murder case, but that doesn’t happen. The book opens with a brutal mugging of Ibrahim that lands him in the hospital. Then Elizabeth meets an old friend (ex-husband) who asks for her help. He is in danger, being accused of stealing diamonds from some very bad men. As bodies pile up, can our four septuagenarians find the killer and the missing diamonds?

This was a fun mystery that was not quite as cozy as the last. There are some serious bad guys in this one, drug dealers, smugglers, mafia, and local thugs all involved in some way. This book starts at a quick pace and never lets up. I loved Elizabeth’s role in this story and learning more about her past as she solves the clues and puzzles. I enjoyed the introduction of Bogdan, another resident of Cooper’s Chase. While Ibrahim is laid up, Bogdan, steps in to help with driving and using his considerable body, talents and contacts to take care of problem people. I was impressed with his contributions and hope to see more of him in future books. This is a mystery, a bit of a thriller with lots of twists and story about four mature characters that aren’t content just living their lives in a quiet retirement village. I definitely recommend this book and series, but suggest you read them in order to meet the characters and get all the background. The narrator, Lesley Manville, does a wonderful job with the story. Using his expression and intonation, he brought this story to life for me.