Author: Jean M. Grant
Narrators: Caroline Hewitt, Andrew Perkins
Length: 10 hours 32 minutes
Publisher: Jean M. Grant
Released: Mar. 16, 2020
Genre: Women’s Fiction
Living is more than mere survival…
Tens of thousands are dead or missing in a swath of massive destruction. She and her nine-year-old autistic son Will embark on a risky road trip from Maine to the epicenter to find her family. She can’t lose another loved one.
Along the way, they meet Reid Gregory, who travels his own road to perdition looking for his sister. Drawn together by AJ’s fear of driving and Reid’s military and local expertise, their journey to Colorado is fraught with the chaotic aftermath of the eruption.
AJ’s anxiety and faith in humanity are put to the test as she heals her past, accepts her family’s present, and embraces uncertainty as Will and Reid show her a world she had almost forgotten.
Jean has a penchant for the misunderstood be it sharks, microbes, or people (fictional and real). A scientist by training, she now spends her days as an author and champion for her children. She has five published novels in the genres of historical and contemporary romance, and women’s fiction. She also writes for family and travel magazines and websites. When not writing, she enjoys tending to her flower and vegetable gardens, tackling the biggest mountains in New England with her husband, and chilling with her children, while taking snapshots of the world around her and daydreaming about the next story. Find her on jeanmgrant.com.
Caroline has appeared on television in When You See Us, directed by Ava Duvernay, and The I-Land, on Netflix and New Amsterdam, The Blacklist, and FBI: Most Wanted on NBC. She has appeared on Broadway in Junk and The Front Page. Off Broadway and regional credits include: Lazarus (New York Theatre Workshop, The National Theatre London and DeLaMar Theatre Amsterdam), Tamburlaine the Great (Theater for a New Audience), Against The Hillside and Good Results Are Difficult When Indifference Predominates (Ensemble Studio Theater), and plays at Arena Stage, American Conservatory Theater, Alley Theater, Baltimore Centerstage, Studio Theatre, and Portland Stage, among others.
She has narrated audiobooks for publishers including Penguin Random House, Hachette, Dreamscape, Blackstone, and Audible.
Caroline’s adaptation of Howards End will be produced by the Dorset Theater Festival, and was included on the 2020 Kilroys List.
Caroline majored in French at Vassar College, and holds an Masters in Fine Arts in Acting from American Conservatory Theater.
Andrew V. Perkins is a Los Angeles-based actor, and singer. He is a graduate of the Meisner Conservatory at Elizabeth Mestnik Acting Studio.
Credits include (North) Hollywood, On The Side, None Like Us, the musical You’re A Good Man Charlie Brown, Why Him, Denny’s, Realtor.com, the NBC Universal Actor’s Showcase, and other various short films.
When he is not on stage or in front of the camera, Andrew is a VIP Studio Tour Guide at Universal Studios; where he has to provide entertainment for guests as they visit the Studio. Andrew also studies improvisation at the Upright Citizen’s Brigade.
AJ (Audrey Jane) Sinclair
- Tag line: Living is more than mere survival.
- Appearance: Caucasian/white, mid-30s, brown wavy shoulder-length hair, brown eyes, medium build
- Fears: Rain and driving, losing her children/loved ones, being alone, not being in control, not being prepared
- Dealing with: grief and anxiety
- Hobbies: gardening, writing, coffee-drinking
- Ticks & Mannerisms: her hands tingle when her anxiety or intuition flares, she paces, loves coffee, repeats information
- Strengths: compassion, patience, organization
- How does she confront conflict? She hits it head on. She is a doer. So, she will do whatever it takes.
- Tag line: There is something always interesting to learn.
- Appearance: 9-years-old, quirky, medium/skinny build, brown hair and eyes
- Fears: being without his mom
- Dealing with: grief, being uprooted on this trip, autism & learning challenges
- Hobbies: chess, science, reading, exploring/nature, Legos
- Ticks & Mannerisms: taps his legs or hands, hums, lines things up in order (color, size), doesn’t always respond or converse, obsessions
- Strengths: resilient, intelligent, empathetic, chatty (on topics he prefers)
- How does she confront conflict? He runs away or avoids it. Has meltdowns, but can be strong when given the right tools and environment.
- Tag line: Forgiveness is imperative to healing hurts of the past.
- Appearance: Latino, mid-30s, tall, medium build, dark brown hair and eyes, two tattoos on his inner arm
- Fears: Losing his sister
- Dealing with: guilt, anger issues, (and something else from his past I won’t give away)
- Hobbies: biking, fixing things (mechanical, clocks), walking, reading literary masterpieces, working with his hands
- Strengths: understanding, philosophy, empathetic/good listener, kind, charismatic, protective
- How does she confront conflict? Avoids, is reclusive, has a quick temper.
Jean M. Grant’s Top 10 Cool Facts about Yellowstone National Park
Since the impetus to AJ’s journey is the eruption of the Yellowstone supervolcano, I thought it would be fun to share some fun facts about Yellowstone! This is where the scientist in me (I have degrees in Biology, Marine Science, and Microbiology & Immunology) comes out! Yellowstone is a scientist’s Disneyworld.
How about a few Fun Facts about Yellowstone National Park?
- It became the first National Park in 1872. Over 5 million people visit annually.
- Yellowstone is a hydrothermal wonderland with over 10,000 hydrothermal features: geysers, hot springs, mudpots, steam vents, and over 500 geysers.
- The park is the size of Delaware and Rhode Island combined, covering 2.2 million acres.
- Yellowstone is a supervolcano. Two massive magma bodies bubble beneath the park. Let that sink in…
- There are over 20 supervolcanoes across the globe.
- The park is not all geological wonderland…there are also hundreds of unique bird, fish, and mammal species in this gem in northwest Wyoming. Some signatures: bears (black and brown/Grizzly), bison, and wolves. Because of extensive programs, endangered species now flourish in the park.
- Old Faithful has been very faithful, erupting approximately every 90 minutes.
- Yellowstone has had 3 [2 of them being “supervolcanic”] caldera-forming eruptions over the past 3 million years (2.1 million, 1.3 million, and 640,000 years ago, respectively). Will it erupt again? Yes. Soon, like tomorrow? Not likely. The last eruption: 174,000 years ago, with 60 smaller ones since.
- The VEI scale measures explosivity of volcanoes and runs from 0 to 8. Mount St. Helens’ eruption in 1980 was a VEI 5, Vesuvius that buried Pompeii in 79 A.D. was a VEI 6, and the Mazama (created Crater Lake in Oregon) was a 7. In my story, the scientists estimated the Yellowstone eruption to be between 6 and 7. Each step in the scale means an 10x increase in material/ash ejected.
- Be safe and read danger signs! To date over 92 people have died in the park, mostly from falling into burning hot springs, off ledges, or tempting fate with a bison.
During the pandemic, many readers and tv/movie viewers have avoided anything heavy or dangerous-sounding, preferring pure escapism. Not me. I’ve spent the last year immersed in apocalyptic and disaster entertainment and am still wallowing in such things. Of course, it helps that I already had an obsessive love of this kind of stuff and I’m always looking for more so, when this opportunity came along, I couldn’t sign up fast enough.
As it turns out, this is a blend of disaster fiction, family issues and a potential love story and Ms. Grant does it all very well. I’ve never been in AJ’s shoes but I connected with her almost immediately and I truly understood her determination to get to her younger son and her brother who may or may not have been caught by the eruption in Yellowstone.
Side note—this is not the massive eruption we know will happen someday so don’t get your knickers in a twist at how “easy” this blast and AJ’s, Will’s and Reid’s journeys seem to be; this is more a story of coping and recovery.
And Will, my goodness, what a nifty little kid, autistic difficulties and all. He and Reid, a fellow traveler in search of the sister he needs badly to find, are perfect companions on the road in many ways. What the trio will find when the trip ends might be heartbreak, horror, maybe even redemption and, for me, the journey was very satisfying if not quite the awful event I was hoping for.
The story is told by AJ with occasional commentary by Will and the two narrators, Caroline Hewitt and Andrew V. Perkins do a fine job. I would gladly listen to one or both again.
Reviewed by Lelia Taylor, March 2021.
I received this audiobook as part of my participation in a blog tour with Audiobookworm Promotions. The tour is being sponsored by Jean M. Grant. The gifting of this audiobook did not affect my opinion of it.
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