I received this book for free from the Publisher, Purchased. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.Eleanor by Jason Gurley
Narrator: Cassandra Campbell
Published by Crown, Random House Audio on January 12, 2016
Genres: Fiction / Fantasy
Length: 12 hours 49 minutes
Format: ARC, Audiobook
Source: Publisher, Purchased
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Eleanor and Esmerelda are identical twins with a secret language all their own, inseparable until a terrible accident claims Esme's life. Eleanor's family is left in tatters: her mother retreats inward, seeking comfort in bottles; her father reluctantly abandons ship. Eleanor is forced to grow up more quickly than a child should, and becomes the target of her mother's growing rage. Years pass, and Eleanor's painful reality begins to unravel in strange ways. The first time it happens, she walks through a school doorway, and finds herself in a cornfield, beneath wide blue skies. When she stumbles back into her own world, time has flown by without her. Again and again, against her will, she falls out of her world and into other, stranger ones, leaving behind empty rooms and worried loved ones. One fateful day, Eleanor leaps from a cliff and is torn from her world altogether. She meets a mysterious stranger, Mea, who reveals to Eleanor the weight of her family's loss. To save her broken parents, and rescue herself, Eleanor must learn how deep the well of her mother's grief and her father's heartbreak truly goes. Esmerelda's death was not the only tragic loss in her family's fragmented history, and unless Eleanor can master her strange new abilities, it may not be the last.
I thought that this book was really well done. It was an emotional read that broke my heart more than once. I felt so much for Eleanor and her family and believe that nobody should have to go through the things that they do in this story. I really liked the way that this book dealt with pain, grief, depression and didn’t shy away from showing the ugly side of these emotions. I found this to be a very touching story.
The book opens with Eleanor. Eleanor is married to a man that she loves and has a little girl. She doesn’t seem completely happy though but she finds that it helps to swim so she takes to the ocean on a daily basis. Eleanor’s little girl, Agnes, grows up to be the mother of twin girls named Eleanor and Esmerelda. On the way to pick up the girls’ father, the family gets into a terrible wreck and Esmerelda doesn’t survive. Eleanor’s mother deals with the loss with a bottle and essentially stops mothering her remaining child. Her father ends up leaving when the marriage falls apart but remains an active part of Eleanor’s life.
I liked the way that magical realism is worked into the story. Eleanor is thrust into these alternate and sometimes dream worlds where time moves very differently. She had no control of where or went she is pulled into these alternate dimensions and she struggles with how to explain everything to those in her life. The characters we meet in the alternate dimension do play an important role and I liked how everything came together in the end.
Cassandra Campbell does a wonderful job with the narration of this novel. I liked all of the different voices that she used for the characters in this story. I thought that she added a lot of emotion into her reading and was able to take this book to the next level. I believe that her narration added to my overall enjoyment of the book.
I would recommend this book to others. I found this to be a very well-written novel that deals with some horrible situations. I wouldn’t hesitate to read more of this author’s work in the future.
I received a digital review copy of this book from Crown Publishing via NetGalley and purchased a copy of the audiobook.