Review: Making Waves

Making Waves Making Waves by Cassandra King
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

Note: This review was originally written in the early 2000s and published for a no longer running website: AudiobookCafe. This review is focused on both the book and audiobook. Welcome to Zion County, home to simple folk and simple ways. In a town where nothing really happens, one can be sure that the gossip mill runs ramped. So, when ostracized Taylor Dupree returns to town to help his ailing Aunt Bella, the news spreads faster than any plague. And Donette Sullivan and Ellis Clark are certainly plagued by Taylor’s surprising reappearance. “Making Waves,” depicts four very distinct characters, Donnette Sullivan, Taylor Dupree, Aunt Bella, and Ellis Clark by splitting up this story into a series of first-hand narratives by these main characters. Cassandra King tells an intriguing, ingenious, and heartfelt story through these four pairs of eyes.

This plot matches the famous slow and steady pace infamous throughout the South. The sweet and welcoming southern accents carry on in such a manner, that one can help but keep listening. Also, King weaves her characters together with such subtlety that the listener is compelled to discover how these four distinct people cross paths.

And how do they cross paths? Taylor Dupree returns home when his ailing Aunt Bella requests his help to attend a funeral. While home, he discovers that she is being pressured to give up her house to the Clarks, a rich and demanding family in Zion County. The Clarks want Aunt Bella out, so the newlyweds, Sonny and Ellis Clark can move into the house. Taylor debates whether to stay or not, which throws Ellis’s plans into turmoil. Donette Sullivan wants nothing more than for Taylor to disappear. It was only a few years prior that he caused the accident that crippled her husband and ruined his potential college football career. His return shakes her nerves to the chord, fearing that her forgiving husband does not need to be reminded of his past.

The time that King spends with each character makes this audiobook endearing. Hearing their inner thoughts and motivations detracts from one’s ability to clearly identify the antagonists. Agreeing with each of them may be unlikely, but you certain can understand their plight. Unquestioningly, Aunt Bella is the sweetest character. With her older voice, God-loving prayers, and sometimes-humorous frankness, Aunt Bella embodies that favorite elder relative that everyone has. While she can be sweet, Donnette can be surprisingly vicious, particularly when it comes to protecting her husband, Tim. Orphaned and ostracized, Taylor has spent the last few years soul-searching and ultimately attempting to fix his past transgressions.

The crowning achievement in this production stands with the narrators. As a book, this story may work really well, but the fantastic cast of narrators defines this audiobook. Beyond just maintaining their southern accent, their voices portray a great range of emotion and depth that would be impossible to pick up through a single read. But by listening to the audiobook, you walk away with so much more, clearly feeling the compassion of some characters juxtaposed with the contempt of others. While the crux of the audiobook proves interesting, it’s the end that creates an emotional atmosphere that is just heart-wrenching. And it’s these narrators the enable such an environment.

“Making Waves” follows the actions of small town people. It’s not a page-turn (or is that CD-changing?) audiobook. You won’t be compelled or sitting on the edge of your seat. Instead, you will listen and admire the observations and antics of these simple people. You will be drawn to follow these dynamic characters to see where this story about home, love, and hope will take you.

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