By: Robert Goolrick
Published by: HighBridge Audio June 2012/Algonquin Books
Length: 9 hours 30 minutes/ 298 pages
Narrator: Norman Dietz
Source: Audiobook Juke Box in consideration of a review
Charlie Beale just kind of shows up. It’s after World War II and most folks just assume he’s a vet and has no where else to go. He buys some land, a place he can call his own and then he starts meeting the people of Brownsburg Virginia When he approaches the butcher, Will Hazelit, with a proposition to join him as a meat cutter he shows him just what what skill he has. Sam Hazelit is a five year old boy, quiet and shy. He becomes Charlie’s little shadow, calling him BeeBo, and enamored of his newness in town.
Charlie is a nice person, he never seems to meet a stranger and Will and Alma Hazelit take to him like he was family. Alma convinces him he needs to buy a house in town, it’s not good for him to sleep out on his land, or always staying in their home. So Charlie buys a home, and Alma helps him set up house. Soon enough Charlie is buying up lots of old farmland, and pastures and just about everything he can get his hands on.
Sylvan Glass was a poor young farm girl, when Boaty Glass drove by her home and struck up a bargain with her daddy. She married Boaty and went to live with him in Brownsburg. Boaty Glass was much older, and had lots of money, but didn’t really care for Sylvan much. It almost seemed he wanted the appearance of a wife, rather than actually wanting a person to love. Sylvan loves the movies, and magazines, and when she meets a seamstress who is able to sew just about anything, and she has an entire wardrobe of beautiful Hollywood type replicas made.
Charlie is in love with Sylvan, it’s first more secretive, but then everyone sees it, his affection becomes an obsession, and their relationship threatens all that is good and wonderful in Brownsburg.
I had no idea what to expect from this audiobook. I’d heard others rave about it, and I was amazed at the way Goolrick took a much written love story, and yet gave it color and depth and such sensitivity that I was anxious to listen at each opportunity. This book is so well written, and has so many back stories and the result of each relationship has a ripple effect. I have to say the twists that the story took surprised me, and at times saddened me. Love can be such a demanding and harsh emotion.
The audio production was clean and I think that Norman Dietz did an excellent job with the different characters and voices.
I gave this book 4 out of 5 stars, I really enjoyed it. I recommend it to all.