Sunday, May 06, 2018

Review: The Way of Beauty by Camille Di Maio (audio)

Title: The Way of Beauty
Author: Camille Di Maio
Narrator: Meredith Starkman
Published: May 2018, Brilliance Audio / Lake Union Publishing
Length: 11 hours 41 minutes / 384 pages
Source: Audio - Brilliance Audio / Print - Lake Union Publishing via Get Red PR

Hearts and dreams evolve in the shadow of the once-magnificent Penn Station.

Vera Keller, the daughter of German immigrants in turn-of-the-century New York City, finds her life upended when the man she loves becomes engaged to another woman. But Angelo Bellavia has also inadvertently opened up Vera’s life to unexpected possibilities. Angelo’s new wife, Pearl, the wealthy daughter of a clothing manufacturer, has defied her family’s expectations by devoting herself to the suffrage movement. In Pearl, Vera finds an unexpected dear friend…and a stirring new cause of her own. But when Pearl’s selfless work pulls her farther from Angelo and their son, the life Vera craved is suddenly within her reach—if her conscience will allow her to take it.

Her choice will define not only her future but also that of her daughter, Alice.

Vera and Alice—a generation and a world apart—are bound by the same passionate drive to fulfill their dreams. As first mother and then daughter come of age in a city that is changing as rapidly as its skyline, they’ll each discover that love is the only constant.

My thoughts: This is the second book I've read by Camille Di Maio and I can officially say I am a fan! She has such a way of drawing readers into the world she creates, blending fact with fiction, creating memorable characters and such vivid settings. 
I love books set in NYC, so of course, this book appealed to me. I admit I don't know much about the history of Penn Station - nor did I know that it used to sit above ground on what is now Madison Square Garden - so I particularly loved the bits about the history of this iconic building. I also had no idea there used to be eagles on the building...this is why I love reading historical fiction - for all the little tidbits I pick up! I love the detail that Camille gives to this story and the building - it makes me appreciate it so much. I know when I am in the city - which I love visiting and walking around in - I love taking the time to look around, and most especially, looking up - there is so much detail in the buildings in our great city, and I'm sure those eagles must have looked a sight!

I also love that not only do we get a story about two strong women, but infused throughout is the women's suffrage movement. The book starts with Vera's story and moves into her daughter Alice's story, and while we meet quite a large cast of characters, the story is told only through Vera and Alice's points of view. This really does help to keep things from being too confusing. And while the story is spread across a rather large time span - 1900 to 1963, I felt completely invested in the characters and the story the entire time. I cried, I laughed, I was emotionally connected to these women in a way I haven't been to characters in quite some time. It's that captivating!

There is so much going on within the pages of this book - there is the feeling of hope and sense of fulfilling ones dreams. There is the love story amongst people as well as the love story to a city and even a love story to the original Penn Station itself. This book truly is a thing of beauty! 

Audio thoughts: Meredith Starkman is a new-to-me narrator, but she certainly will be a narrator I will be searching out again in the future! She did an amazing job with this audio book...her ability to give distinct voices and personalities to the characters such that they come alive on the pages felt so natural it was like being right there alongside the characters. She infuses just the right amount of emotion into her voice and her pacing and tone is just right. Even her accents seemed genuine - both Italian and German. I really enjoyed listening to Meredith narrate this audio book! 

1 comment

  1. Oh this sounds wonderful! I love the time period and Camille Di Maio is an author I've been wanting to read. I like the saga kind of books that really get me invested.


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