Friday, April 10, 2015

Review: Searching for Grace Kelly by Michael Callahan (audio)

Title: Searching for Grace Kelly   
Author: Michael Callahan        
Narrator: Kristin Kalbli
Published: February 2015, ListenUp Audiobooks  
Length: 9 hours 32 minutes   
Source: Publisher 

For a small-town girl with big-city dreams, there is no address more glamorous than New York’s Barbizon Hotel. Laura, a patrician beauty from Smith, arrives to work at Mademoiselle for the summer. Her hopelessly romantic roommate, Dolly, comes from a working-class upstate town to attend secretarial school. Vivian, a brash British bombshell with a disregard for the hotel’s rules, rounds out the trio of friends. Together, the girls embark on a journey of discovery that will take them from the penthouse apartments of Park Avenue to the Beat scene of Greenwich Village to Atlantic City’s Steel Pier — and into the arms of very different men who will alter their lives forever.

My thoughts: I always enjoy books set in New York City and loved that this one was set in the 1950s. It almost had that black-and-white movie feel to it and right from the start I was completely wrapped up in it. It's the story of three women who come to stay at the Barbizon Hotel - a hotel that really existed and while it's now condos, I definitely plan to walk by on my next visit to the city!

The Barbizon Hotel was the it-place for young girls to live while working in New York City during the 1950s. Laura, Dolly and Vivian are all there one summer and we follow them as they struggle to find themselves, to figure out who they are and to find love. Each of the three are well-developed and interesting in their own right and I was curious to see what would happen with them all. 

What I loved about this book is that you really get a feel for New York City and life during this time. The all-women hotel, the style of dress, the nightclub and cigarette girls - all completely foreign to us now - just seemed to come to life in this book. But this book is so much more than that. It's also about living life and struggling to go after what you want, even though the path may not be an easy one. Life doesn't always go the way we plan for it to go, it isn't always a happy one either, but we make the best of it and hold our heads up high. That's the message to take from this, that's what these gals show us. I really enjoyed this book and think it's even the type of book that would be worth a reread or two.


Audio Thoughts: This is the first time I've listened to Kristin Kalbli narrate and I really enjoyed listening to her. She did a great job with each of the voices, infusing just the right amount of emotion when needed. Each character had their own unique voice, even the supporting characters, and I never had a problem differentiating between them. I will definitely be keeping an eye out for what else she narrates.

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3 comments

  1. This sounds wonderful, Kristin! I like the NYC 1950s aspect as well.

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  2. I am reading a book The Nightingale Girls - three completely disparate girls brought together. Very good reading. I thought your story would be too. When the characters are so different and backgrounds also so different has to make for an excellent story

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  3. Sounds like a good one to listen to!

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