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by B J Chute
read by Ann Richardson
2013 Post Hypnotic Press
6 hours 44 minutes unabridged
Genres: general fiction
Filed in: Audiobook Reviews
4 out of 5 halos
PUBLISHER’S SUMMARY: A lyrical and poetic fable, Greenwlllow, tells of the romance between young Gideon Briggs, who walks in the shadow of a family curse and vows never to marry, and Dorrie, the orphan girl he loves. Greenwillow was brought to the Broadway stage in 1960, starring Anthony Perkins, and with words and music by Frank Loesser.
©1956 B.J. Chute (P)2013 Post Hypnotic Press Inc.
AUDIOBOOK REVIEW: Before we begin, I want you to take a look at the opening lines of Greenwillow okay?
"Long ago, centuries perhaps, the village of Greenwillow had been stood in the corner and forgotten.
"A river ran through it, a river that came down fresh and fast from the tall hills, and, once away from the village, grew very important and tossed up debris along its banks… Beyond Greenwillow, this river was called by another name which no one in the village troubled to remember, but here it was the Meander, having let itself grow tame in a swamp that was all goldcups in the spring and bordered with dark-berried catbrier at the autumn turn of leaves and sun. Bedded down in wide soft marshland, it paddled about for a bit giving great pleasure to the blackbirds and water thrushes, and then it slipped docilely between green banks and entered the village."
Wow, doesn’t that just make you feel all calm and peaceful inside? If I could live anywhere in the world I think I would live in Greenwillow. In Greenwillow you’ll find no murders, no high-speed car chases (or even a single car for that matter), no robberies or muggings or stick-ups. The worst thing you might find in Greenwillow is, perhaps, a preacher who indulges in too many sweets. It’s a town where the people take care of each other and just generally act like good neighbors. It reminds me a lot of that old TV show Little House on the Prairie, which I still enjoy watching now and then.
The story centers primarily on the Briggs family, and primarily on eldest child Gideon Briggs. Gideon is contending heavily with an old family curse. Being the firstborn son of a firstborn son he knows he is doomed to wander the world, leaving loved ones behind just as his father did. But Gideon has a plan of sorts. He knows nothing can save him, but he has vowed to never fall in love, therefore having no children, therefore ending the family curse forever. Over the course of the novel, Gideon will learn, however, that even the best laid plans often go awry, and that love will often have its own way with us.
To accompany Gideon on his journey to manhood, B J Chute created an endearing cast of characters from Dorrie, who can’t quite bring herself to tell Gideon that she has fallen in love with him, to the younger Briggs children, mischievous but good-hearted every one, to Greenwillow’s newest arrival Reverend Birdsong, who has been described as something of a Mary Poppins figure, a description that suits him quite well. Chute’s characters are as interesting and unique as real people, her town is the stuff literary dreams are made of, and her writing is as lyrical and flowing as the Meander River. Greenwillow has appealed to many readers since it was first published back in 1956 and will no doubt continue to enchant future generations who long for simpler times. I for one am glad somebody finally created an audio edition.
Two or three years ago, I listened to a non-fiction audiobook that was narrated by Ann Richardson. I stated in my review for that book that I would like to hear her narrate something else, as non-fiction books are not a good way to get a feel for a narrator. With Greenwillow I finally got my wish and I was not disappointed. Ms. Richardson’s voice is very easy on the ears. Her pacing, tone, and inflection are all comfortable and easy to listen to for hours on end. I was most pleased, however, to hear Ann providing different voices for the characters, something I always enjoy in an audiobook. Her voices were quite good and she managed to make each character unique and distinct. It was an all-around good performance and I’m looking forward to hearing more from Ann.
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Special thanks to Ann Richardson for this review copy. Audiobook review by Steven Brandt. This audiobook review is based on the unabridged audiobook. Come back soon for more audiobook reviews from Audiobook-Heaven.