Monday, July 25, 2011

Nagasaki, mon amour

I love a big, chewy chunk of historical fiction (adult portion, please) and it's been awhile since I've indulged. (The last was this one.) I think I'm fearful of the time commitment, although this makes absolutely no sense. What is the difference between three six-hour audiobooks and one 18-hour doorstopper? I suppose you get more notches in your reading belt, but it really all comes out in the wash. David Mitchell's The Thousand Autumns of Jacob De Zoet clocks in at 19 hours, actually, and I enjoyed every minute of it. I'd never read anything by this author, so I didn't bring any preconceptions about his work to this sweeping epic of traditional fiction.

Of course, there will be vast swathes of it that won't get mentioned here, but I shall attempt a summary. Red-haired Jacob De Zoet (YAH-cobb Dah-ZEHRT) has arrived in the strange little trading community called Dejima perched out in the harbor of the Japanese city of Nagasaki. It's 1799 and Jacob -- a scrupulously honest clerk -- is hopeful of making a quick bundle by working for the Dutch East India Company so he can marry his beloved Anna back in The Netherlands. The xenophobic Japanese have exiled the Dutch to Dejima in order to keep Christianity and other non-Japanese influences out. Only the most trusted Japanese can enter Dejima in order to facilitate the export of copper and lacquerware through the Company, and no non-Japanese can walk through the gate into Nagasaki. The Dutch were the only traders with Japan at the end of the 18th century.

Jacob has some difficulty transitioning to this odd, isolated culture. He disobeys orders immediately and sneaks his family's psalter (prayer book) under the noses of the Japanese inspectors. All of Dejima's residents put any Christian items in storage for the duration of their stay. What Jacob doesn't realize at first is that a translator named Ogawa spotted the psalter right away, but did not report it. The two men grow closer as Jacob gets used to his post, and eventually Ogawa transmits a letter from Jacob to a young Japanese midwife -- who is receiving additional medical training from the Dutch Dr. Marinus -- offering to take her as his "Japanese wife." But he never receives a reply from Orito, the midwife, as things take a dramatic turn.

Jacob's exposure of corruption in the Company's finances doesn't earn him a quicker trip back to Europe. Instead, he is demoted in favor of a less honest accountant. Orito's father dies with many debts and she is spirited away in payment to a remote monastery/convent with some particularly repellent practices. And Jacob learns that his friend Ogawa had been wooing Orito himself until his father insisted he marry someone else.

Add to this a vast and interesting cast of characters, a beautifully realized setting, thwarted love, a daring, cinematic rescue, delicate diplomatic negotiations with the bizarrely formal Japanese, the loving description of several 18th century medical operations (for strong stomachs only!), the appearance of a British warship, and many games of Go. I like that historical fiction effortlessly introduces me to other times and places, and all this was new to me. (My knowledge of pre-Meiji Japan is from Pacific Overtures and Heart of a Samurai.) It was fascinating, and on a a satisfyingly epic scale.

Two narrators share the duties, although most of the 19 hours are from Jonathan Aris. A voice actor named Paula Wilcox narrates the half-dozen or so sections where the story proceeds from Orito's perspective. Aris does an outstanding job -- producing authentic sounding, non-caricatured Japanese-accented English for the translators (I couldn't get my hands on a copy of the book to see if the dialogue was written with the missing "l's'' or "r's"), and fully accented portrayals of an Irishman, a Prussian and a half-Dutch/half-Indonesian slave. The Dutch all speak with British accents (class-specific), except on that British warship when the one Dutchman (a turncoat!) speaks with a Dutch accent. When the Japanese are conversing among themselves, they are British as well!

The one (slightly) inconsistent choice is that Jacob spoke in his halting Japanese with no accent. In other words, he retains his British accented English. The only way we know he is speaking Japanese is that his syntax was a little screwy. This didn't really bother me, as the rest of Aris' work is excellent. Completely clear, consistent and full of emotion. Jacob's sensitivity and isolation are palpable in this lengthy narrative. And when a certain character meets his death, whew! I was teary.

Particularly memorable to me: One Sunday morning Jacob hears the strains of the John Bunyan hymn "To be a pilgrim" across Nagasaki Bay coming from the English ship. Aris sings (beautifully) every verse and I've been hearing it on and off in my head ever since (you need the lyrics from the link at the title, but here's the music [lyrics not very well enunciated]. You know how I love it when a narrator sings.

When the action heats up -- the rescue of Orito from the convent, the staredown between Jacob and the mighty guns of the warship Phoebus -- I was breathless at the tension and pacing that Aris sustained. I sped through this book in about a week and I think it was because Mitchell keeps the suspense percolating and Aris maintains a spirited narration.

Wilcox just doesn't have the opportunities that Aris has to shine, but her sections appropriately reflect the closed and interior lives of Japanese women. She reads quietly, but with authority and Orito's desperation at her situation is frighteningly vivid.

Eensy, weensy problem: The many, many Dutch and Japanese names that go flying about the pages of this novel. The "foreign-ness" of the names might lead to some confusion for a listener. It did for me. There is one scene near the end of the novel where eight Dutchmen are together and Mitchell names each of them, one after the other. Beyond Jacob, Dr. Marinus and maybe the Irishman, the others had sort of blended together in my mind.

Someone went to the trouble of noting every single character in the novel (and shared it with the world), although you can see at the end that even s/he gave up! If you were to ask me who all but a dozen (okay, maybe 20) of these characters were, you're likely to have stumped me. But once the story got going, I had no difficulty figuring out who I needed to know by name, which is why it's just a tiny issue -- hardly worth mentioning! (Except that you do go on about it, Lee!)

I may have missed the explanation of the title in my listening, so I had to look it up on the internet (scroll down to "Ichijitsu-Senshuu") where all truth lies. Truly, longing is personified in Jacob -- who yearns for love, friendship, honor, wealth, faith, and more. I'll leave it for you to discover if he finds any (or all) of that.

[The image of harbor at Nagasaki -- with the wedge-shaped Dejima in the foreground -- is from a no-longer-available webpage and is in the public domain. It is in Wikimedia Commons as Nagasaki_bay_siebold.jpg.]

The Thousand Autumns of Jacob De Zoet by David Mitchell
Narrated by Jonathan Aris and Paula Wilcox
Recorded Books (Clipper Audio), 2010. 19:00

Friday, July 22, 2011

There may be trouble ahead

I love that sensation that you get when a suspenseful book has gripped you -- that you must keep going no matter what you have to do that day until you have finished. The characters matter enough to you and their situation is so convincingly perilous that you've got to know NOW what happened. I got that literary rush listening to Tim Wynne-Jones' Blink & Caution this weekend (and I've got it now with another book, but there's too much left of it to drop everything!). Dig the bullet holes on the cover (and how one of the holes substitutes for the 'o' in Jones)!

Blink is all dressed up in his Blessed Breakfast Uniform, ready to stride into the Plaza Regent Hotel in Toronto in order to break his fast. In his months living on the street, Blink has found this to be a reliable way of getting a halfway decent meal: He prowls the hotel's floors looking for abandoned room service trays. As he's chowing down on his find -- in that room where they keep the ice machine -- he hears some crashing noises inside Room 1616 and sees four men leave the room. Three of the men look like criminals (rubber gloves and black clothes), the fourth is a well-dressed businessman. They toss a Blackberry into the room and flip the room key down the hall. Blink can't resist -- he picks up the key and enters the room -- which has been violently tossed. He grabs the Blackberry and leaves the hotel.

Caution thinks she's helping out her boyfriend by demanding some payment from the drug dealer that he works for. When she arrives back at the squat she shares with him -- triumphant with groceries and gas in the car (because he has been claiming that he has money for neither) -- he is less than appreciative. Hurt and pissed-off at her discovery of something particularly unpleasant that he's done, Caution figures out where he keeps his stash of drugs and money and impulsively steals both.

Both teens are on the run: Blink starts getting phone calls from the Blackberry owner's daughter and he tells her that her father -- unlike what the news is saying -- wasn't forcibly kidnapped. The daughter eventually convinces Blink to drive up to her father's remote cabin just to make sure that he's OK. Caution figures out that her boyfriend has been tracking her and realizes she's got to get away from Toronto for awhile. Blink and Caution meet in the ticket line at the train station and -- tentatively sensing that each is a kindred spirit -- they set off for the Canadian woods together. Not a good idea, really -- trying to find a wealthy man who has staged his own kidnapping.

And there's so much more that I'm not telling you! Wynne-Jones alternates the narratives of Blink and Caution for nearly half the book before they meet up. He teases out the back stories of the two teenagers -- how they ended up on the street. He cleverly wraps you up in their lives so that you are utterly invested in what happens to them. You know -- of course-- that they will meet, but when they do, something unexpected happens. And once they climb into the daughter's brand new bright yellow Jeep Wrangler and head north, the novel turns into a suspenseful thrill ride that can lead to a lost weekend of reading or listening.

Blink's narrative is in the second person ("You're wearing the Blessed Breakfast Uniform ...") which I initially found offputting, but it blends so perfectly with narrator MacLeod Andrews' performance that I began to look forward to his sections. Andrews is an experienced narrator, but I've only heard him read once (and he was very good there as well). His voice is deep and kind of gravelly and he reads Blink's narrative with an intensity that sounds to me like barely suppressed anger and fear. The "you" feels almost threatening -- like a verbal grab-of-the-shoulders, look-me-in-the-eye and listen. Fearful and longing for connection, at least someone is talking to him.

When Andrews is narrating Caution's story, he tones it down a little ... but Caution's carrying a huge, emotional secret and he is not afraid to expose her tenderness about this. He doesn't attempt to be "girly" in any way, but Caution's spikiness and intelligence are crystal clear. I did wonder, in an off-hand way, why a female narrator wasn't narrating Caution's sections. It would have made it a different listening experience, but Andrews is so strong here that I don't think it would have made it better.

The author's writing is really quite wonderful (and he is almost new to me -- I read one of his books a while ago). There are so many touches that let you know how carefully crafted his work is: The way the second person adds urgency to the narrative. The patient, yet compelling, build-up of the individual stories. The way the two storylines merged -- and how one character's breakthrough (emotional or otherwise) often take place in the opposite character's section. The sheer suspense as they walk toward that cabin in the woods. The blending of character study and nail-biting action. I'm glad to see that I'm not the only person who enjoyed this -- Wynne-Jones was recently named the fiction winner of the Boston Globe-Horn Book Award for Excellence in Children's Literature.

It was pouring down rain here on Sunday (and right now we are blessedly free from the rest of the country's hellish heat wave). Blink & Caution is just the kind of book you want for a cold, rainy weekend ... no reason to do anything else.

[Caution sign -- at a Florida rest stop (yikes!) -- was taken by TampAGS and was retrieved from Wikimedia Commons.]

Blink & Caution by Tim Wynne-Jones
Narrated by MacLeod Andrews
Brilliance Audio, 2011. 9:55

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Elementary

A couple of years ago (pre-blog), I listened to the first book in the "authorized" James-Bond-as-a-boy series, SilverFin. I liked it ... I liked listening to Nathaniel Parker. Now descendants of another author have hired someone to write the official adventures of young Sherlock Holmes. Death Cloud is the first installment and "the legend begins." It's easy to see Bond as a teen action hero, but I'm having a little more trouble with Holmes. Nevertheless, author Andrew Lane clearly loves the Holmes stories because he sprinkles many easter eggs that directly relate to the Arthur Conan Doyle Holmes throughout this novel. So let's set aside our concerns that Sherlock Holmes was probably a really creepy teenager, and enjoy this for the teen adventure story it is (Justin Bieber hair and all).

It is 1868 and Sherlock Holmes is 14 years old. His older brother Mycroft has come from his important job at the Foreign Office to escort Sherlock from school to his uncle's estate where he will spend the summer. There is no one at the family home to look after him. Sherlock is perturbed at the thought of a lonely, boring summer among people who don't really want him there. He soon meets two people who will keep boredom a long way away: a young street urchin, Matty Arnatt, and a tutor that Mycroft has arranged for him, an American named Amyus Crowe. Matty tells of witnessing a mysterious black cloud that seemed to intentionally move out the window of a house where a dead body was found. The body was completely covered with welts and boils and rumors of plague arise. Just a short time later, another body is found in similar condition.

With Amyus offering support -- and guidance in deductive reasoning -- Sherlock and Matty pursue the mystery of the deaths and the menacing cloud. They uncover a nefarious (naturally) plot against the [gasp!] highest levels of the British government. It is the resourcefulness and bravery of the two boys that saves the day.

As I said, Holmes is an unlikely teen hero. But for a reader who doesn't know much about the adult Holmes, that's not really going to matter. Sherlock is a smart, thoughtful kid who takes to detecting like a duck to water and if his adventures reek a little too much of an action-adventure movie maybe that will entice a few more young readers to explore the Conan Doyle canon. The character of Amyus Crowe (who is kind of Holmesian with an added taste of the Wild West) is very interesting -- even if he has a spunky daughter upon whom Sherlock develops a crush.

The audiobook is narrated by Dan Weyman (the recording itself says Daniel). I think he's new to narrating, but he has gotten off to a splendid start. He sets a cracking pace, but reads Sherlock with a quietness that aptly describes the shy, introspective boy he is. Weyman has the opportunity to tie on the accents -- with a broad range of social classes amongst the English as well as the whispery (and threatening) German accent of the chief villain, Baron Maupertuis. He's amazingly good as the novel's two Americans, with the right emphasis on our hard "r's." Amyus might be a little too twangy, but I'm truly not certain how people from New Mexico Territory sound. (My research shows me that the Territory included parts of Arizona and Colorado, so I'm good with the twang.) I'm assuming that Weyman is British, and pretty darn often the British aren't so good at American accents. If he isn't British, all American compliments are off!

There was one thing that really bugged me about the audiobook (and presumably the book), though, is that it always refers to Holmes as Sherlock. It makes sense for a young person to go by his first name, but it caught me up every time. An odd name that sounds odd spoken aloud. That's another one of those disconnects between a teen Holmes and the misanthropic loner/drug user/emotionless adult one. But as I said before ... this probably doesn't matter to young readers.

I like Sherlock Holmes. I've enjoyed the stories themselves, I liked Jeremy Brett's Holmes as well as Benedict Cumberbatch's not-quite Holmes. Rupert Everett was pretty fun too. (Not so much Robert Downey, Jr.) I like Holmes patisches, particularly Laurie R. King's Mary Russell mysteries. I recently read The Sherlockian, which was delightfully informative about Doyle himself. Holmes is everywhere! So why not in the teen section of the library?

[The photo of the plaque on the wall near 221b Baker Street was taken by Damiano Luchetti and was retrieved from Wikimedia Commons. The text on the bottom reads: "We met next day and inspected the rooms at 221b Baker Street ... and at once entered into possession." A Study in Scarlet/Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.]

Death Cloud (Young Sherlock Holmes, The Legend Begins) by Andrew Lane
Narrated by Dan Weyman
Macmillan Audio, 2010. 7:16

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Your safety is our priority (TSA)

I searched in my library's catalog for children's books about foreclosure and only two came up (actually three, but the third one was about a cockroach and so doesn't really count for this survey): Julia Alvarez' Return to Sender and Gennifer Choldenko's No Passengers Beyond This Point. Promising ... Alvarez handled this unhappy subject with tact and understanding of her young readers. I expected no less from Choldenko's whose Al Capone books are destined for the classics (well, the first one) area of a children's library fifty years from now.

India, Finn and Mouse Tompkins live with their widowed mother in Thousand Oaks, CA. One day, Mom springs on them that the bank is foreclosing on their house and that they will be moving in with her Uncle Red in Colorado. The kids are leaving without Mom who needs to stay in California to finish the school year (she's a teacher). The siblings aren't particularly close, so they band together reluctantly to make this journey they don't really want to a relative they don't know. India is the oldest, a teenager sure that her mother is arranging this on purpose to spoil her life. Finn is the worrier (middle child!) trying to be the man of the family, and Mouse is considerably younger but really, really smart. Mouse has an imaginary friend named Bing who has his own ID.

They get on the plane (after a brief misunderstanding at security since Mouse had packed her Mentos and diet soda so she could demo a volcano for Uncle Red), travel through a serious storm and land in Denver. But Uncle Red isn't there to meet their plane. Instead, they take a decidedly odd taxi covered in feathers into the town of Falling Bird where they are greeted by a parade in their honor and escorted into their own individual houses. Houses that seemingly fulfill their every desire, including a "cool mom."

But there's a price to pay to stay in their houses, and Finn and Mouse soon realize that they aren't willing to pay that price. But getting out of Falling Bird is easier said than done, and they are determined to bring India with them. If they don't get out by the time their watches (clocks?) run out of time, they'll be stuck there forever.

That description does not do justice to the bizarre and outlandish world that is Falling Bird (think Alice in Wonderland or The Phantom Tollbooth), sprinkled with multiple meanings, red herrings and dead ends. I wonder if I might have been better off eye-reading this novel since I didn't linger over the many, many clues that Choldenko provides.

Since I trust this author (having enjoyed all her books, except for this one), I've got to believe those clues were there, but when I got to the end, I felt ripped off. None of the trials that the Tompkins endured to leave Falling Bird were resolved for me; I didn't have that "aha" moment that you want to have as a reader when a wrong world is set aright and everything falls into place. Instead, it felt a little bit like she couldn't figure out what to do with all the stuff she'd dropped into her novel and just provided an abrupt, pretty lame (and somewhat disturbing) conclusion.

The three siblings share the storytelling, and there are three narrators: Becca Battoe (heard here by me), Jesse Bernstein (here), and Tara Sands (here). Each of them is very good, creating consistent and vocally interesting characters that seem true to the author's intent. I enjoyed Sands' slightly hoarse voice full of Mouse's confidence in her intelligence, and I liked the responsible worrier I heard in Bernstein's voice. Battoe creates your standard sullen teenager -- knowing that everyone around her is stupid or out to get her -- without veering into caricature. Bernstein and Sands also avoid this trap when they are voicing India in their portions of the narration.

Unfortunately, the book ends with a fourth narrator (uncredited ... or if she was, I've forgotten) winding up the story in the unsatisfactory way I mentioned. She's an adult who's adopted a fake folksy delivery that pretty much spoiled everything that went before. Up to this point, I believed in this novel and the young narrators telling me the story, but then it all went terribly, terribly wrong. A real disappointment.

[The photo of the Mentos geyser experiment is by K. Shimada and was retrieved from Wikimedia Commons. The liquids from left to right: Perrier, Classic Coke, Sprite, and Diet Coke.]

No Passengers Beyond This Point by Gennifer Choldenko
Narrated by Becca Battoe, Jesse Bernstein, and Tara Sands
Listening Library, 2011. 6:06

Performance art

It's somewhat unnerving to realize that I've been reading Sara Paretsky's V.I. Warshawski novels for almost 30 years. I swear that Vic started out older than I am, but now she's younger [isn't everyone?], but she's starting to feel the years (if not the mileage) in her 14th installment, Body Work.

[Oh boy, the weeks since finishing this one are showing.] Vic gets embroiled in the many mysteries surrounding an avant-garde performer calling herself the Body Artist who allows customers at the trendy Bar Gouge to paint images on her nude body. A camera records the images (often violent ones), which are posted on her website. Vic is at the show when an Iraqi vet attacks a young woman who is painting a particular image on the Artist's body. A few days later, the woman is shot outside the bar and dies in Vic's arms. The vet is found overdosed and in a coma, holding the murder weapon, and is arrested. His family asks Vic to investigate.

Many twists and turns, the Russian mob, a Blackwater-like military contractor (OK, paranoid moment: the website xecompany.com morphs into the all-American ustraining.com [a "solutions provider to the U.S. government"] without stopping) who can monitor her activities, more than one physical dust-up, and all of Paretsky's familiar characters (can I say how much I despise the recently added young cousin, Petra?) combine to the logical, satisfying ending that mystery readers (mostly) require. I didn't much care for the deus ex machina that Vic used to bring the perps to justice, it didn't seem like her to me. I like Vic's righteousness as well as the strong sense of place (Chicago) her novels have, but ultimately I found this to be kind of minor Vic.

I wonder if I'm feeling this way because I wasn't crazy about the narrator, Susan Ericksen. To me, she lacks Vic's edge. In her narration, Vic comes across as earnest and dominating, but more like a teacher and less like a woman who relies on both her wits and her physical strength to control people and events. The narrative feels instructive rather than exciting. The aforementioned Petra was also grating, she feels caricatured in her Gen Y-ness (or whatever Gen we're on now).

Now, Ericksen is clearly a skilled narrator who can create individual characters (which she does here) and can keep a lengthy novel moving along, but -- in spite of her nicely subtle Chicago accent -- she just doesn't feel right in this part. (I'm clearly in the minority here, as she has narrated a number of V.I.'s stories. Many years ago, I listened to Sandra Burr read Paretsky's Blacklist, and I wasn't too impressed with her either, pronouncing it "very-average" [oh, you are so articulate, Lee!].)

In the tiny world of audiobook-dom, I read that Ericksen is married to David Colacci (alas, not thrilled by what I heard from him, either).

I believe I have a six degrees moment with Sara Paretsky: My first cousin was her first roommate at Bryn Mawr. (But I might be misremembering and maybe they were only in the same graduating class.) Those of us without celebrity cling to what little we have.

[The Chicago skyline was retrieved from Wikimedia Commons; the photographer is unattributed.]

Body Work by Sara Paretsky
Narrated by Susan Ericksen
Brilliance Audio, 2010. 16:06

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

One of these things just doesn't belong

I am five books behind (I blame the summer doldrums -- even though it's hardly summer here -- but it's more likely True Blood!). I finished Sundee T. Frazier's The Other Half of My Heart last month, so my recollections might be a little spotty. I've liked both of her books, if for no other reason than they are about biracial kids without the attendant tragedy that accompanies so many books featuring African American children. Frazier always puts conflict in her novels -- conflict that arises from being biracial -- but for the most part, Brendan Buckley (from her 2008 John Steptoe New Talent Award winner) and the twin sisters of this story are just ordinary kids. Kids that most kids go to school with.

Minni and Keira King were born in their father's airplane just minutes after landing. They are famous for this in their small town on the Olympic Peninsula, but they are more famous because Minni is completely white in appearance (taking after her Irish-American father) while Keira is black in appearance. This hasn't affected the love between the sisters and their parents, but for Minni, at least, a slow understanding of the wider world is dawning. When Minni (whose story this is) is with her mother and sister, she feels like the odd person -- sadly singing Sesame Street's "One of These Things is Not Like the Other" to herself -- but she also witnesses the different, and disrespectful, treatment Keira receives at a local dress shop.

When the twins' African American grandmother signs them up to participate in the Miss Black Pearl Preteen of America beauty pageant ... er, scholarship program in North Carolina, extrovert Keira is thrilled. Minni is horrified, but isn't given the option to not participate. As the girls spend a few weeks alone with their proud, but old-fashioned Grandmother Johnson-Payne, Minni gets a first hand look at some unexpected discrimination: their grandmother pronounces Minni's hair to be "good" and admonishes Keira to stay out of the sun so she won't get any darker and some of the other contestants question Minni's right to participate. The repercussions of her exposure to this discrimination threatens the relationship that Minni holds most dear.

I thought this book was a gentle exploration of racial prejudice in all its forms. Frazier doesn't explain it all, although Grandmother Johnson-Payne does try to make the girls understand why she wants Keira to have a less "black" appearance. It's a little preachy, but to me, its main fault is that we never learn how Keira feels. Like most (all?) black kids, Keira has experienced discrimination and has swallowed the feelings of anger and resentment that entails. But in Frazier's characterization, Keira seems almost a cipher in her happy-go-lucky focus on winning the pageant. There's a few moments when she breaks out (most memorably in a beauty salon where she's going to have her hair relaxed), and I wanted to hear more. Instead the novel goes back to Minni's interior dialogue of quiet anxiety. I suppose you could argue that making Keira the protagonist is not the book Frazier wished to write. Also, this is definitely the adult reader -- who wants to be able to share more books about black protagonists -- talking.

Bahni Turpin reads this novel. This is not the showcase that the last novel I heard her read was, but she gives an enjoyable performance here (not every book can have J.Lo!). Turpin's voice is appropriately youthful and giggly for Minni and Keira (as well as the other pageant ... er, program contestants), but she also does a great job with Grandmother Johnson. She gives her a slow, no-nonsense delivery perfect for an old Southern lady who is hanging on to her dignity, but boy is she tired. I could hear that woman's colorful history in her voice.

The author is successfully mining her own history for her stories and I appreciate that she posts lots of pictures of herself and her family on her website (including some scary flashbacks to her own pageant days in the 1980s). She also found some web resources on "black and white twins" that are worth exploring as well.

[The photo of the black pearl in its shell was taken by Mila Zinkova and was retrieved from Wikimedia Commons.]

The Other Half of My Heart by Sundee T. Frazier
Narrated by Bahni Turpin
Listening Library, 2011. 7:50