Close My Eyes by Sophie McKenzie – Audiobook Review

Close My Eyes by Sophie Mckenzie, narrated by Marisa Calin
Published in audio by Macmillan Audio, published in print by St. Martin’s Press

Synopsis:

From the publisher:

Gone Girl meets Before I Go to Sleep in Sophie McKenzie’s Close My Eyes, a riveting psychological thriller about a grieving mother who finds out years after her daughter’s death that her child may still be alive

When Geniver Loxley lost her daughter at birth eight years ago, her world stopped… and never fully started again. Mothers with strollers still make her flinch; her love of writing has turned into a half-hearted teaching career; and she and her husband, Art, have slipped into the kind of rut that seems inescapable.

But then a stranger shows up on their doorstep, telling Gen the very thing she’s always wanted to hear: that her daughter Beth was not stillborn, but was taken away as a healthy infant and is still out there, somewhere, waiting to be found. It’s insane, unbelievable. But why would anyone make that up? A fissure suddenly opens up in Gen’s carefully reconstructed life, letting in a flood of unanswerable questions. Where is Beth now? Why is Art so reluctant to get involved? To save his wife from further hurt? Or is it something more sinister? And who can she trust to help her?

Thoughts on the story:

So, when you read the description of Close My Eyes, or perhaps even more so after you read it and meditate on what exactly happens, it seems sort of far-fetched. There are a lot of moving pieces here and they could easy be ridiculous. McKenzie does a good job keeping everything together and more or less believable – at least while you’re caught up in her story. And she does keep you caught up. I was particularly invested in the relationship between Gen and Art and how much he appears to be gaslighting her. My increasing frustration and fury at Art served to pull me completely into Gen’s story.

Thoughts on the audio production:

It took me some time to get used to Calin’s narration, something about her voice or accent grated on my nerves a bit. However, as I got lost in McKenzie’s story, I also managed to fall into Calin’s narration. She gets the emotion of Gen down very well, making for an emotionally authentic listen.

Overall:

Recommended.

For more information, please see the publisher’s page.
Source: Publisher

Sound Bytes is a meme that occurs every Friday! I encourage you to review your audiobooks on Fridays and include the link here. If you have reviewed an audiobook earlier in the week, please feel free to link that review as well. Thanks to Pam for creating the button.

Hey guys, I don’t have an audiobook review this week, so I changed the date on this one to today and you can leave this week’s reviews here, too.

 

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The Power of Friendship – Guest Post by Beth Hoffman, Author of “Saving CeeCee Honeycutt”

Thank you to Beth Hoffman for writing this piece for DevourerofBooks.com. I reviewed Beth’s novel yesterday and, let me tell you, it really made my day when I read it last week. For this post I asked Beth to simply write about what was nearest and dearest to her heart: friendship.  Please read to the bottom for giveaway details.

One of the themes in Saving CeeCee Honeycutt is the undeniable power of friendship. True friends see our goodness and flaws, strengths and weaknesses, and they love us for who we are rather than in spite of what we might lack. Throughout my life I’ve valued my friends, and among the most important things I’ve learned is that friendships come in all sorts of surprising ways and shouldn’t be limited by differences in age, background, or race.

The formative years of my childhood were lived on my grandparents’ farm. It was a rural area and there were very few kids to play with, so I was raised among the easy, unhurried ways of older women. From my garden-loving grandma, to the widow who lived up the road and created hand-made paper dolls, to the wise African-American cook who worked for my great aunt Mildred, each one made an indelible impression upon me.

How blessed I was to be exposed to the simple yet oftentimes remarkable words of wisdom that came from interacting with women who had lived through decades that encompassed everything from unexpected joys and triumphs to unspeakable tragedies. Those day-to-day interactions gave me a foundation that has held me up ever since. Never have I heard more profound truths than those that were spoken in my grandmother’s big old kitchen during the hot, humid days of canning season.

Then came the day that I entered first grade. From the moment I took my seat in that tiny classroom, I found myself feeling uncomfortable and awkward.  Who were these squealing little people in lace-topped socks and crisp gingham dresses, and what on earth did I have in common with them? I was so accustomed to interacting with older women that the giggling language of girls my own age left me tongue-tied. It took me a long while to adjust to my classmates, and even after I did, I was always glad to return to my grandmother’s kitchen where, as far as I could tell, things just made a whole lot more sense.

When I left my career in interior design and set out to write a novel, it never occurred to me that I would draw so heavily on the simple but rich experiences I had with my grandmother and her friends. But when a little girl named CeeCee arrived in my imagination and her story began to unfold in ways I never would have guessed, the years I spent surrounded by older women gave me the foundation to build upon—those were precisely the kinds of friendships that CeeCee needed during her summer of healing.

An email was forwarded to me not long ago, and as I read it I kept nodding in agreement. I’ve never been able to find out who wrote it, but it sums up so much of what I feel about friendship and I’d like to share it.

Girlfriends

Time passes.

Life happens.

Distance separates.

Love waxes and wanes.

Hearts break.

Careers end.

Parents die.

Colleagues forget favors.

Marriages collapse.

But …

Girlfriends are there no matter how many miles are between them. A girlfriend is never farther away than needing her can reach.

When you walk that lonesome valley and you have to walk it for yourself, your girlfriends will be standing on the rim, cheering for you, praying for you, and waiting with open arms at the valley’s end. Sometimes, they’ll even break the rules and walk beside you. Or, they’ll come in and carry you out.

The world wouldn’t be the same without them, and neither would I.

When we began this adventure called womanhood, we had no idea of the incredible happiness and sorrows that lay ahead. Nor did we know how much we would need each other.

Every day, we need each other still.

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Mother’s Day Contest Winner

The winner of the Jennie Nash Mother’s Day contest is Sheila from Book Journey. About her favorite fictional mother-daughter pair, Sheila says:

This was an easy pick for me.  I have always admired the mother/daughter relationship between Lorelai and Rory from the Gilmore Girls TV series.  They are so close and funny and connect in rare ways, brought together by the bond of a single mom who had her daughter at a young age.

Through the show I experienced every emotion they could go through from battling on together, to Rory moving out, so much laughter – as well as tears.

Watching these two makes me miss my mom all the more.  I still watch these episiodes and refer to them as my comfort show.

Sheila wins a signed copy of “The Threadbare Heart” and will be entered in the grand prize drawing to win a set of books for her book club, as well as a rum cake.

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TSS 2: Mother’s Day Giveaway

 Last summer I read Jennie Nash’s “The Last Beach Bungalow” and really enjoyed it. So, of course, I was very excited to hear that she had a new book coming out, and even more excited when she offered me a copy for review.

Nash’s new book is called “The Threadbare Heart,” and I’ll be starting it later today. Here’s the publisher’s description: (Note: I’ve whited out the publisher’s description so you can still see it if you want, but won’t be forced to, because after reading the book I realized that it is RIDICULOUSLY spoilery. If you don’t want to be spoiled but do want to know what the book is about, you can check out my review).

A photo of her sons. A doormat from Target. Twenty-three tubs of fabric. Somehow it comforts Lily to list the things she lost when a wildfire engulfed the Santa Barbara avocado ranch she shared with her husband, Tom. He didn’t make it out either. His last act was to save her grandmother’s lace from the flames-an heirloom she has never been able to take scissors to, that she was saving for someday…

As she negotiates her way through her grief, mourning both the tangible and intangible, Lily wonders about her long marriage. Was it worth all the work, the self-denial? Did she stay with Tom just to avoid loneliness? Should she have been more like her mother, Eileen-thrice-married and even now, approaching eighty, cavalier about men and, it seems, even her daughter’s emotions?

It’s up to Lily to understand what she could still gain even when it seems that everything is lost. Someday has arrived…

“The Threadbare Heart” is going to be released this coming Tuesday – right before Mother’s Day – so Jennie is sponsoring a Mother’s Day contest on this and about 25 or 30 other blogs. The winner from each blog will receive a signed copy of “The Threadbare Heart” and will be entered in the grand prize drawing to win a ‘book club in a box’ of 10 signed copies of the book, a call to your bookclub from Jennie, and a rum cake. I’m really contemplating entering on someone else’s blog just to try for the rum cake!

Here’s what will happen:

  • Sometime this week leave a contest entry on ONE of the blogs participating, about 250(ish) words on your favorite fictional (book, film, whatever) mother-daughter pair: who made you laugh, cry, explore your own relationships, whatever. If you are entering here, as I hope you will, please leave your response in the Google Form below.
  • On Mother’s Day, each blogger will post their the favorite response (so, by entering, you’re giving me permission to post your entry, along with your name!). I will simply choose the response that most appeals to me. If multiple responses are roughly equal in my estimation, I will choose via Random.org.
  • On May 16th Jennie will choose her favorite entry to win a grand prize, and the blogger on whose blog the entry originally appeared will win a gift certificate to Powells (but, alas, no rum cake!)

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