RoadTrip America

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Light of the Moon, by Luanne Rice (Read by Blair Brown)

When Susannah Connolly finally honors her late mother's request to visit the Camargue region of France, she finds not only the famous white horses, but a life she never thought possible. Trained as an anthropologist, Susannah has traveled the world exploring ruins, caves and ancient cultures. Her mother's dying wish for her to see the white horses of Camargue coincides with an opportunity for scholarly research, so she makes the journey to France. Once there she becomes involved with expatriate Grey Dempsey, his daughter Sari, and the Romany women of the Sarah Circle. Sari's mother has also left her, but not through death. She has abandoned Sari in every sense of the word, running off with a lover, striking Sari as she escapes her grasp and causing Sari to be physically and emotionally disabled. Grey and Sari become especially important to Susannah as she learns about the Camargue and the fascinating Romany people.

Luanne Rice has crafted a beautiful and mystical story, peopled by strong, passionate, colorful characters and set in an exotic locale. Her descriptions of the marshes of the Camargue with the wild, white horses charging through the mist are so vivid that the listener can almost feel the vibration of the pounding hooves. She contrasts the ethereal moonlit scenes with the brilliance of the gaily painted wagons of the Gypsy caravan. Rice also introduces the listener to a wide variety of diverse characters-from the academic to the magical. She bewitches with morsels of Gypsy lore, letting the listener eavesdrop on the Sarah Circle as the women explain the basis for their beliefs and passions.

Blair Brown is always a skilled narrator, but she outdoes herself in Light of the Moon. Not only does she capture the hope and despair of Susannah and Sari, but she makes the French speaking Romany woman come to life with her excellently accented English. This audio book is wonderful on many levels. It presents very real, but painful mother-daughter conflicts and it illustrates the power of love and redemption. It transports the listener to an exotic foreign locale with unique animal life and an intriguing sub-culture. And Blair Brown's melodic and expressive reading makes it an auditory delight.

Ruth Mormon

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