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Tuesday, August 23, 2011


TITLE: One Summer
AUTHOR: David Baldacci
NARRATOR: Ron McLarty with Orlagh Cassidy
PUBLISHER: Hachette Audio
FORMAT: Unabridged - 7 Audio CDs - 8 hours and 15 minutes
GENRE: Fiction
ISBN: 978-1609412951


From #1 New York Times bestselling author David Baldacci comes a moving family drama about learning to love again after heartbreak and loss.

It's almost Christmas, but there is no joy in the house of terminally ill Jack and his family. With only a short time left to live, he spends his last days preparing to say goodbye to his devoted wife, Lizzie, and their three children. Then, unthinkably, tragedy strikes again: Lizzie is killed in a car accident. With no one able to care for them, the children are separated from each other and sent to live with family members around the country. Just when all seems lost, Jack begins to recover in a miraculous turn of events. He rises from what should have been his deathbed, determined to bring his fractured family back together. Struggling to rebuild their lives after Lizzie's death, he reunites everyone at Lizzie's childhood home on the oceanfront in South Carolina. And there, over one unforgettable summer, Jack will begin to learn to love again, and he and his children will learn how to become a family once more.


I received this audiobook for review from Hachette Audio. I did not receive any compensation for my review, and the views expressed herein are my own. 

I should preface this review by saying that this is not the type of book that I normally pick up, but the synopsis was very appealing to me and I thought that this would make a perfect summer read!

This is a heartbreaking love story, and you will be in tears as you read this! Jack Armstrong, a young married man in his mid-30s with three children, is dying of a terminal disease. As his family prepares for his death, the unthinkable happens – Jack’s wife, Lizzie, is killed in an automobile accident. If that wasn’t bad enough, his in-laws take the children away from their father to live across the country. And if THAT wasn’t bad enough, they split the children up with the eldest child staying with their maternal grandparents and the two younger ones living with each maternal aunt. Can a protagonist be any more tragic? He loses his wife and his children in one fell swoop. Left to die alone without the comfort of his children, Jack is taken into a hospice facility to live-out his remaining days.

The miraculous happens and, instead of dying, Jack gets better! He improves gradually and is moved to a rehabilitative facility to regain the use of and strengthen his atrophied muscles. Wanting desperately to reunite his family is what drives this man to overcome the odds.

Baldacci is a new-to-me author, and I loved this book! This is one of those books that you read with a lump in your throat and an ache in your chest, with wet Kleenexes strewn about, and a tear-streaked face. I couldn’t help but imagine myself in a similar situation and how devastating it would be to lose my husband and be separated from my children! Talk about an unbearable situation!

Baldacci’s prose is beautiful and touching, especially as he reads the lovely letters that he had written to his wife for her to read after his death. Oh my, you cannot help but be moved to tears!

The message that Baldacci leaves the reader with is that love transcends all, and it is not limited to time or space or even life. We all need to be reminded of this from time to time, and anyone who has lost a loved one will find comfort in this poignant novel. So, it isn’t just about loss and grief, but also about love and life and healing.

This is also my first audiobook with Ron McLarty and Orlagh Cassidy as narrators. I enjoyed having the two narrators, McLarty as Jack and other male characters and Cassidy as Lizzie and other female characters. Both narrators gave unique characteristics to each person, so it was easy to differentiate between them all. The narration was superb, and rich with emotion. I felt as though I was watching a play with my eyes closed, and I was completely captivated by their voices. I was surprised that some instrumental interludes were added to the reading, and it did have the desired dramatic effect.

I loved One Summer, and I plan to read more of Baldacci!

MY RATING: 5 stars!! I loved it, and I highly recommend it!! Thank you, Hachette Audio!

This book qualifies as:

#51 for my 2011 100+ Reading Challenge
#30 for my 2011 Audio Book Challenge

#30 for my 2011 "Whisper Stories in My Ear" Challenge 


  1. Wow, great review. I love those tear jerkers. It sounds like one I'll have to check out!
    Just dropped bye to say "Hi"!

  2. This is an author I have enjoyed for awhile but I had never heard of this book. I was almost in tears as I read your review. Good job!

  3. Hi, Cameo! So nice of you to stop by! This is definitely a tear-jerker, so have your Kleenex box handy!!

  4. Hi, Dana! Awwwwwww, thanks so much for your kind comments! As I have now spent some time digging into the library catalog of Baldacci books, I see that One Summer is much different than his usual novels. It looks like he writes a lot of thriller-type novels, which is actually right up my alley. But something about this book just grabbed a hold of me and didn't let go. It is the kind of book that makes you think about your own life!

  5. Hi Darlene- nice review! I have this book on my TBR pile, but maybe I should start it very soon :)
    This is a departure from the usual David Baldacci books; I have read a few of his older ones and think he writes legal thrillers. Thanks for sharing, Rae


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