Tuesday, December 11, 2018

Review: The Latecomers by Helen Klein Ross (audio)


Title: The Latecomers
Author: Helen Klein Ross
Narrator: Polly Lee, Vanessa Johnansson, Robert Petkoff, Lauren Fortgang, Kevin T. Collins, Sarah Franco, Sarah Mollo-Christiansen
Published: November 2018, Hachette Audio / Little, Brown & Company
Length: 13 hours 22 minutes / 419 pages
Source: Audio - Hachette Audio via Libro.fm / Print via Little, Brown & Company

Summary: 
Set in New England over three generations, THE LATECOMERS mixes the world of Colm Tóibín's Brooklyn with the sweeping family sagas of Christina Baker Kline.

In 1908, sixteen-year-old Bridey runs away from her small town in Ireland with her same-age sweetheart Thom. But when Thom dies suddenly of ship fever on their ocean crossing, Bridey finds herself alone and pregnant in a strange new world.

Forced by circumstance to give up the baby for adoption, Bridey finds work as a maid for the Hollingworth family at a lavish, sprawling estate. It's the dawn of a new century: innovative technologies are emerging, women's roles are changing, and Bridey is emboldened by the promise of a fresh start. She cares for the Hollingworth children as if they were her own, until a mysterious death changes Bridey and the household forever. For decades, the terrible secrets of Bridey's past continue to haunt the family. And in the present day, after a strange blue bottle is found hidden beneath old wallpaper, the youngest Hollingworth makes a connection that finally brings these dark ghost stories into the light.

Told in interweaving timelines and rich with detailed history, romance and dark secrets, Helen Klein Ross' THE LATECOMERS spans a century of America life and reminds us all that we can never truly leave the past behind.


My thoughts:  This is the second book I've read by Helen Klein Ross and I am definitely a fan. While this book is completely different from her other book, I still loved it and found myself totally captivated right from the start. There's something about family sagas with just the hint of a mystery and lots of secrets that just pull me in, don't you find that?

This book spans  many generations and almost a century to spin such spellbinding tale that you cannot help but get wrapped up in it. And despite the many characters you meet - and believe me, there are a ton! - Helen Klein Ross writes it in such a way that they all come to life and therefore it's not too hard to keep straight. Plus in the book, she includes a family tree.

Right off the bat, I became enamored with Bridey. Her life and all that happens to her is the heart of this story. She runs away from Ireland with her beau, only to find herself alone and pregnant in New York City. Now forced into an entirely different life than the one she originally imagined, she eventually becomes a maid at the Hollingwood family estate. It is here that we are then introduced to the rest of the cast of characters, and end up following this family, and Bridey, through the 20th century and into the 21st century. We follow them as they bask in their triumphs and we learn some of their deepest secrets, too.

This family saga is told with such a rich eye to detail, describing not only the plight of the immigrant, but also significant events and developments, including inventions, that occurred throughout the time period. Helen Klein Ross certainly did her research. This book is so well-written, with charming characters and an engaging story that is just ripe with discussion points - it really would make an excellent book club pick! I thoroughly enjoyed this and cannot wait to see what comes next from this talented author!


Audio thoughts: I loved listening to this audio production and thought all the narrators did an excellent job - bringing their assigned sections to life. And I loved that when there was a broadcast from the news or the paper, they set it apart from the regular narration, setting it to music and disguising the voice a bit. The score for this was pure brilliance and I will definitely be listening to this book again. 

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