Friday, December 19, 2014

Review: The Oleander Sisters by Elaine Hussey (audio)

Title: The Oleander Sisters    
Author: Elaine Hussey   
Narrator: Janet Metzger   
Published: July 2014, Brilliance Audio  
Length: 10 Hours 22 minutes   
Source: Publisher 

An emotionally riveting tale of the bonds of family and the power of hope in the sultry Deep South

In 1969, the first footsteps on the moon brighten America with possibilities. But along the Mississippi Gulf Coast, a category five storm is brewing, and the Blake sisters of Biloxi are restless for change. Beth "Sis" Blake has always been the caretaker, the dutiful one, with the weight of her family's happiness—and their secrets—on her shoulders. She dreams of taking off to pursue her own destiny, but not before doing whatever it takes to rescue her sister.

Emily Blake, an unwed mother trying to live down her past, wants the security of marriage for the sake of her five-year-old son, Andy. But secure is the last thing she feels with her new husband. Now she must put aside pride, and trust family to help her find the courage to escape.

With Hurricane Camille stirring up havoc, two sisters—each desperate to break free—begin a remarkable journey where they'll discover that in the wake of destruction lies new life, unshakable strength and the chance to begin again. Dreams are reborn and the unforgettable force of friendship is revealed in The Oleander Sisters, an extraordinary story of courage, love and sacrifice.

My thoughts: This is the type of book that captivates you right from the beginning. It's a heartwarming tale filled with memorable characters, poignant moments, Southern charm and scrumptious recipes! Working off the theme of finding hope amidst heartbreak, Hussey pits personal family issues against a public force of nature - Hurricane Camille.

I just loved each and every character. Beth, know to all as Sis, is the caretaker of the family. She's strong and fierce and no one messes with her family or those she loves. Emily, Beth's sister, is the sweetheart of the family, but is dealing with her own demons. Sweet Mama is starting to show signs of dementia, but trying to hide it from her granddaughters and has Beulah, her friend and confidant, to help her when she gets stuck. These four women have strong personalities and really make the book come to life. I found myself going through a range of emotions as we follow their story, wanting everything to work out for them.

Between secrets coming to light and the arrival of the hurricane, this story is action-packed! Yet, I never felt that it was too much. It was quite easy to follow all the threads going on, even with the flash-backs that we occasionally got. This is definitely a story that has stayed with me and one that I think I will be revisiting, as the characters were so memorable that I feel I need to connect with them again!

Audio Thoughts: Janet Metzger did a great job with this production. She was able to give each of the characters a unique voice, oozing that Southern charm just as I would expect the characters to have. Even now, as I think back to the story, I can still hear her voices in my head - they are that memorable. This is definitely an audio I'm hanging on to, so I can re-listen to it. 

Do you have audios that you keep so you can re-listen to, because either you love the story so much or you just love the audio production?



  1. I always wonder if the audio will translate the emotions of the book as well as if you were just reading it. I am so glad to hear that it did! I don't typically listen to books, so this is a great review, because I have been contemplating trying it out.

    I also loved this charming little novel! So much happens, but the charm of the women and their journey is what is most magical. Glad you enjoyed it, too!

  2. I'm yet to listen to an audio book. I can't imagine finding it fulfilling, plus I'm a fast reader so am sure it'd take much longer!

  3. I have also not listened to an audio book at all. Was wondering how the nuances of a story are picked out by a reader. The story sounds good especially the receipes bit!

  4. What a wonderful and enthusiastic review, Kristin! When you enjoy the characters, it makes a huge difference. The audio version seems like the way to go with this story. I need to read more Southern fiction (do they call it So-fi?).


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