Ride the River, by Louis L'Amour & Jamie Rose (Narrator)
I reckon a body could live an entire lifetime and never put ears to a Louis L'amour audio book, but truth to tell it'd be powerful shame. Sixteen-year-old Echo Sackett is charged with the responsibility of traveling to Philadelphia from her Tennessee mountain home to claim an inheritance that will give her family much needed money. In 1840, such a journey is no simple trip, since Echo has to travel by stagecoach, by horseback, by river steamer and by foot. Echo might be a country girl, but she manages to outsmart the big city charlatans who try to trick her out of her inheritance, only to find herself pursued by bloodthirsty thieves who think they can rob her before she returns to the safety of her mountain home. But Echo's a Sackett, and shootin', fightin' and quick thinkin' are second nature to this charming character.
Louis L'Amour is well recognized as a talented storyteller of western and frontier literature, and may be dismissed by listeners who consider themselves too sophisticated to enjoy his stories. Until I'd listened to one of his books, I was guilty of thinking he just wrote shoot-'em-up cowboy stories, but this is a wonderful book with an interesting plot, strong characters, believable conflicts and engaging dialogue. In addition, frontier lore and life are described so effectively that the listener begins to feel as familiar with mountain life as Echo and her companions.
The narrator, Jamie Rose, portrays the characters in this story with a realism that brings the 1840 frontier to life. There is Echo, the innocent girl from the hills, her evil pursuers, her protective companions, the settlement folk, the Irish peddlers, fine ladies, thugs, and many more characters. Each one's voice is a sharp contrast from the others.
This is a great road trip book because it is one that the whole family can enjoy -- for the storyline, for the dialogue, for the depiction of life in a different time, and for the life lessons learned and lived by. This book is particularly appealing because the frontier hero is a girl who defies stereotype and confronts danger with a can-do attitude. The only downside is that the narration is so infectious that it's nigh onto impossible to talk proper after a spell of listenin.'