Title: Heavy Weather
Series: A Carolina Coast Novel #2
Author: Normandie Fischer
Narrator: Laura Jennings
Publication Date: January 30, 2017
From the author—
Death, life, family, domestic abuse–Heavy Weather explores all these themes in a memorable and compelling narrative. When Annie Mac’s life explodes like a storm at sea, she is helpless to fight back. Left for dead, her two children targeted by her abuser, her life appears to be over. The people who help her show her how to weather a storm that she cannot control.
It takes a town to save a child. That town is Beaufort, North Carolina.
Annie Mac’s estranged husband vows that nothing will stop him from getting his baby girl. Not Annie Mac and certainly not that boy of hers.
Only four blocks away, Hannah Morgan lives in comfort with her husband and dog, making pottery and waiting for her best friend to come home. When she discovers the two children cowering in the bushes and their mama left for dead, it doesn’t take her long to set her coterie of do-gooders to some extra-strength do-gooding. Add in Clay, a lonely police lieutenant yanked out of his comfort zone and into the heart of this small family, and who knows what will happen?
A couple of things struck me about this novel as I was reading it or, rather, listening to it. One is that, while it was longer than my usual preference, I didn’t mind this time because I got to know the characters so well. The second point is how much more emotional this story seemed than other domestic abuse novels I’ve read. Certainly, the latter has to do with the quality of the author’s storytelling but it’s also because the narrator has a way of telling the story that truly involves the listener.
Those two things combined led me to form a real attachment to a number of the characters for different reasons. Hannah has a kind of sad happiness about her, meaning her essential joy with her husband and her life have an underlying reason that this is not complete. Annie Mac, primary victim of the domestic abuse, is to be felt for but only because of her injuries and her fear for her children. She’s a strong woman, determined not to let Roy get the best of her or to live in fear. Her son, Ty, is the manliest little boy you’ll ever want to see but for such a wretched reason and Rita is a woman of incredible strength. Clay resents the intrusion of Annie Mac and her kids into his comfortable but solitary life but soon finds his world changing for the better and other people are just as memorable and as appealing, all in their own ways.
It’s a little difficult to call this a mystery but it’s certainly crime fiction and there are mystery elements. There’s something of a burgeoning love story and it’s in some ways the story of a small town. At its heart, though, Heavy Weather is a tale of abuse and the effect it can have on so many, even those who aren’t directly involved.
Laura Jennings is a particularly good narrator with clarity in her voice and an appealing tone. She does the women’s and children’s parts very well and some of the men although I had a bit of difficulty distinguishing a couple of them. I also want to note that she handles the southern and racial accents especially nicely without being the least bit overboard and, as a Southerner, I appreciated that.
All in all, Ms. Fischer’s engaging story coupled with Ms. Jennings’ narration make for a listening experience I’m glad I had the chance to enjoy and I’ll be looking for more from both.
Reviewed by Lelia Taylor, June 2017.
About the Author
Normandie Fischer studied sculpture in Italy before receiving a BA, summa cum laude with special honors in English. Her books, which have garnered numerous awards, include her Carolina Coast stories: Becalmed, Heavy Weather, Twilight Christmas, and Sailing out of Darkness. From Fire into Fire and Two from Isaac’s House—a Romantic Times Top Pick—form the beginning of her Isaac’s House series. A lifelong sailor, Normandie and her husband spent a number of years on board their 50-foot ketch, Sea Venture, in the Sea of Cortez, Mexico, sailing home to North Carolina in 2011 to take care of her mother. They have four children, two grandchildren, and an aussiedoodle named Rhion.
About the Narrator
Having graduated with a Masters Degree in Fine Arts in Creative Writing, Laura Jennings has an intrinsic appreciation of the mechanisms and techniques that comprise the art of the tale. She’s able to analyze the underlying moods and currents of a book and bring these into her interpretation of the author’s work. She believes her place as narrator is to be the facilitator for all the nuances of the spoken word and the written word between the author and the listener. Her naturally clear and fresh voice as narrator contributes that extra dimension of enjoyment.
Laura works full time as a professional narrator and voice-over artist. She has narrated titles for Tantor Media, Audible Studios, Dreamscape Media, Insatiable Press and Cherry Hill Publishing.
She enjoys a quiet lifestyle in the Pacific Northwest with her loving husband and aged beagle, Dottie. Her days are filled with narrating, yoga, hiking and, of course, always reading.
Play an excerpt here.
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