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#436 ~ A Land More Kind Than Home


A Land More Kind Than Home by Wiley Cash

Published by: HarperCollins

Published on: April 17, 2012

Page Count: 320

Genre: Southern Fiction

My Reading Format: Audiobook purchased from Audible.com using a monthly credit

Audiobook Published by: Blackstone Audio

Narrator: Lorna Raver, Nick Sullivan, and Mark Bramhall

Audiobook Length: 8 hours 56 minutes

Available Formats: Hardcover, eBook, and Audiobook

Note: I am pleased to publish this book during Audiobook Week, hosted by Jen from Devourer of Books, as it is an example of why I love listening to and reviewing audiobooks.

Giveaway: Blackstone Audio has graciously provided me with an MP3 CD copy of this audiobook to giveaway to one of my lucky readers. For a chance to win, simply leave a comment on this post before 11:59pm EST on Tuesday, July 3rd. I’ll announce the winner on July 5th.


My Review

Adelaide Lyle has lived in the same small North Carolina town for most of her life. She’s never married or had children of her own, but, while serving as midwife, she has developed a sense of guardianship over the town’s children. That is why, after a snake handling goes wrong at her church, that she insists on keeping the children out of services and teaching them Sunday school. Jess Hall is one of the children Adelaide delivered and watched while his mother attended church. Jess is the youngest of two boys, but he must keep his brother Christopher safe. Christopher, known as Stump to everyone except their mother, is mute. Both are good boys, but they are prone to mischief just like all children. So, when they hear something strange coming from their parents bedroom one afternoon, Stump takes a look inside the window. What Stump sees and the both physical and emotional fallout will haunt Jess and the entire town for a long time to come.

A Land More Kind Than Home is told from the points of view of Adelaide, Jess, and the town’s sherif, Clem Barefield. This multiple narrator setup served the story perfectly. With Adelaide, the reader is brought up to date on the recent history of the town, specifically as it pertains to the River Road Church of Christ in Signs Following and it’s pastor, Carson Chambliss. This knowledge builds dread, suspense, and then outright fear for the boys as Jess tells the story about what happened in his yard, what he sees happening in the church, and what he doesn’t say to anyone. When Clem Barefield enters the story, it provides a sensation of immense relief I can’t ever before remember having. With him comes the hope that there might yet be help, if not salvation for Jess, Adelaide, and the town.

The narration for this novel was perfectly cast. Lorna Raver, a woman whose voice I will never tire of hearing, brought forth Adelaide’s wisdom, courage, uncertainty, and honesty from the very first line. As the church’s historian, for lack of a better term, I hung on her every word. She was magnificent. Nick Sullivan was equally outstanding as a young boy. His tone and delivery expressed Jess’ innocence and the tremendous guilt he kept in his heart. The most special part of his narration for me was the way he conveyed Jess’ love for Stump. It was amazing. I clapped my hands in giddy delight when Mark Bramhall started narrating. The very sound of his voice as he spoke Clem’s first words helped me to breathe again. His voice has that husky strength that I’ve appreciated so many times before. Going in I was worried that he would be narrating Carson Chambliss. I’m sure he would have done so fantastically, but I needed him to be the voice of justice in this book and by God he was.

Wiley Cash’s debut novel is a fine example of excellent Southern fiction. His characters, authentic and rich, reside in a small world with its own darkness that entirely captured my imagination. I loved each and every moment I spent with this novel. For me, it accomplished what Snakewoman of Little Egypt did not. It brought the religious tradition of snake handling to life and explained the power such traditions have over a congregation. This novel is about more than just backwoods people and their religious superstitions. It is about community, family, and the responsibility each person has for one another. I’m certain that reading A Land More Kind Than Home is a powerful read no matter how one experiences it, but I cannot imagine not having listened  to the audiobook. It was absolutely fantastic. I hope to clap for it again next year when it wins an Audie Award.

31 Comments

  • At 2012.06.26 13:53, Carrie K. said:

    I was going to read this in print, but after reading this review, I want to listen to it!

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    • At 2012.06.26 21:09, Jennifer said:

      Listen!!!! I promise you that you won’t regret it.

    • At 2012.06.26 14:00, Bob said:

      So, I must sheepishly admit that this was the first book I listened to with Lorna Raver narrating. I have listened to plenty Mark Bramhall and Nick Sullivan audiobooks. Maybe she doesn’t read enough about zombies or spaceships, but I definitely will be keeping an eye out for her.

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      • At 2012.06.26 21:13, Jennifer said:

        No reason to be sheepish. To me, Nick Sullivan was a new kid on the block. Then I saw his profile on AudioFile Magazine. New to me doesn’t equal new. LOL! If you like baseball, you might want to consider Diamond Ruby. Lorna narrated that and it was such a fun summer read. There aren’t zombies and spaceships in that book, but Ruby helps her little sister survive the Spanish Flu as a young child. That section definitely felt distopian.

      • At 2012.06.26 14:33, FABR Steph said:

        I love southern fiction. In fact, it is one of my favorite reads. Thank you for the lovely review. I was not familiar with this book until now.

        • At 2012.06.26 21:14, Jennifer said:

          Oh, good! I’m glad you found my review. You will love this book!

        • At 2012.06.26 15:29, Mindy said:

          This sounds like a really terrific listen I will have to my audible wishlist.

          • At 2012.06.26 21:14, Jennifer said:

            You won’t regret it!

          • At 2012.06.26 17:06, Teresa said:

            This sounds spectacular! I must listen to it. Thanks for bringing it to my attention.

          • At 2012.06.26 17:06, Sandy said:

            I met Wiley at SIBA last year, so I had the print copy in my possession…and I absolutely LOVED it. It will be on my favorites for the year. But I do wish I’d have gotten hold of the audio. I adore multiple narrators, especially ones like these. I am thrilled that you gave it your stamp of approval!

            • At 2012.06.26 21:15, Jennifer said:

              I’m so jealous that you got the opportunity to meet him. As you know, this book is well worth a reread. Audio is the way to go!

            • At 2012.06.26 18:39, Jen - Devourer of Books said:

              DEFINITELY perfect casting.

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              • At 2012.06.26 19:32, Anita said:

                Great minds think alike!! We both reviewed this audiobook today, and I really enjoyed reading yours. I think you did a much better job giving attention to the narration, while yes I mentioned it I didn’t detail as much as you. I loved the book, and I’m so happy I listened to it.

                • At 2012.06.26 21:17, Jennifer said:

                  You, me, and Bob. We got it right today. This book is amazing!

                  Thank you for your compliments, but we all have our own individual style. Mine’s no better and no worse than anyone else’s. :) I can’t wait to see what you have to say about it. This is the perfect book to highlight this week.

                • At 2012.06.26 19:48, bermudaonion (Kathy) said:

                  I thought this was fantastic on audio too! It was so nice to listen to an audiobook that got Southern accents right!

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                  • At 2012.06.26 21:18, Jennifer said:

                    Lorna Raver is amazing with American accents. She was a perfect New Yorker in Diamond Ruby, too. I’m so glad that audiobooks exist for books like this. :)

                  • At 2012.06.26 23:30, mep said:

                    This book is at the top of my list for next month’s audible credits! I would LOVE to win my own copy in advance and cannot wait to listen as I seen so many rave tweets!

                    • At 2012.06.27 08:01, Mid-Week Meme ~ Audiobook Week Post #3 said:

                      […] A Land More Kind Than Home, which I reviewed yesterday, is one of my current favorites. Any audiobook that makes you clap in the middle is a good listen. Bring Up the Bodies, which I’ll be reviewing tomorrow, is another recent favorite. Henry VIII + Simon Vance = pure bliss in my book. […]

                      • At 2012.06.27 08:33, Sheila (Book Journey) said:

                        OOH – I knew I wanted to listen to this one on audio! I have heard such great things!

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                        • At 2012.07.06 08:48, Literate Housewife said:

                          Congratulations! You are the lucky winner! I’ll contact you for your address. :-)

                        • At 2012.06.27 09:22, Serena said:

                          sounds like this worked well on audio. Thanks for the giveaway…and happy audiobook week.

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                          • At 2012.06.27 12:41, Janet S. said:

                            Thanks for the giveaway. I have a copy of the book but it would be delightful to listen to it on audio. I have a really long commute and I love to listen while driving.

                            • At 2012.06.27 13:22, Heather @ Book Addiction said:

                              Sounds like I really need to read this one, everyone has been raving about it! Now that you’ve recommended the audio I think I’ll go that route. :)

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                              • At 2012.06.29 16:44, Susie said:

                                I so want to listen to this one it’s been awhile since I listened to Lorna Raver!

                                • At 2012.06.30 08:32, Andrew Ballard said:

                                  I went to high school and college with Wylie and look forward to hearing this audio version.

                                  • At 2012.06.30 12:55, Cynthia Harper said:

                                    This is one of my favorite books in a long time! I would love to hear the audiobook, also!

                                    • At 2012.07.02 16:48, Laura Cramblet said:

                                      I am a LIbrary Director at the Bellaire Public Libray in Bellaire, OH. Wiley and I both worked at Bethany College in Bethany, WV and have remained friends ever since. I would love to have a free audiobook of his fantastic book so that more of my patrons can enjoy it!!

                                      • At 2012.07.04 14:01, Anne said:

                                        I also enjoy Southern fiction, especially when I am lounging at the beach. Since this takes place in North Carolina, it sounds even better. This one is now next on my list, thanks for the review.

                                        • At 2012.10.04 07:01, #477 ~ Dracula said:

                                          […] for joy. This sensation was the same I experienced when Mark Bramhall’s narration started in A Land More Kind Than Home. I loved how Vance and Kellgren’s Jonathan and Mina were the backbone of the book. This […]

                                          • […] A Land More Kind Than Home by Wiley Cash ~ This was my favorite audiobook experience of 2012. Mark Bramhall, Lorna Raver, and Nick Sullivan were simply perfect. I thank Jen from Devourer of Books for the recommendation every time I think of it. It’s a top notch audiobook that fits the category. […]

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