So excited to see that Susan Gabriel's wonderful, lyrical coming-of-age novel, The Secret Sense of Wildflower, is now available as an audio book.
I'm posting Susan's announcement here, along with some super reviews for the print book, including a Kirkus Reviews’ Best Books.
So here's Susan's exciting news:
you enjoy HEARING a great story? I know I do – it’s the original form
of receiving stories, after all, from our parents, teachers and even our
cavemen and women ancestors. Stories are how we connect.
So I’m very excited to announce that the audio book of The Secret Sense of Wildflower is finally ready to download to your computer or MP3 devices!
What I enjoyed most about the process was literally breathing life into the characters and falling in love with them once again.
Secret Sense of Wildflower is a historical fiction novel that plays on
themes of perseverance, kinship, grief, and the remarkable strength of
Louisa May “Wildflower” . . . I am a true lover of historical fiction
and I would recommend this novel for any reader looking for an
inspiring, intense, and deeply thoughtful story. The Secret Sense of
Wildflower is indeed a book that deserves recognition for its
beautifully crafted prose, well written characters, and expertly
descriptive landscapes.” — Samantha J. Moore, OneTitle Reviews
one of the best surprises this year almost slipped by me…It turned out
to be one of my favorite reads this year… This is a story of family,
loyalty, forgiveness and love…This is the type of book that I crave to
read. It’s beautifully written in lyrical prose that I found myself slowing down to re-read. It
has such a deep familial core, yet also has a darkness that makes you
keep reading.. All of the characters are so true to the era and
Appalachian culture and are all very believable. It is a true Southern tale. There
are both great relationships and some very difficult ones that add even
more layers to this story… What I really like is that Wildflower is
telling the story from her own perspective. It brings such an innocent honesty that grabs your heart and doesn’t let go. I’m
a sucker for a story told through a child’s eye and Ms. Gabriel
interprets this protagonist beautifully. Though it has some disturbing
moments, the story, as a whole, is wonderful and shouldn’t be missed. This is definitely a story that will stay with me for a long while and recommend it highly.” - Lisa Evans, Southern Girl Reads
story will move you as it twists and turns and eventually connects the
dots left behind whilst developing into a work more than worth the
read. Yes…it’s THAT good… I found the story completely enveloping. You
laughed when the characters laughed, grieved when they grieved and
sought happier places when the ugliness of the world presented itself
front and center. In some ways it reminded me of the infamous To Kill A Mockingbird;
perhaps because of the young narrator and the strong voice with which
she was blessed, perhaps because of the time and setting used, or
perhaps simply because it was that striking of a work. Whatever the
reason, it left its mark on me and for that I can only extend my thanks
to the author with sincerity from the bottom of my heart…a masterpiece; plain, simple, and resilient like the flowers the young lead is named for. – Gina Reba, Insatiable Readers
Erin Beard reviewed the book at Quixotic Magpie. ”I
was pretty blown away by how good this book is. I didn’t read it with
any expectations, hadn’t heard anything about it really, so when I read
it, I realized from page one that it is a well written, powerful book.”
story is told from the point of view of Wildflower, which really makes
the story even more powerful. I thought the author did a great job of
capturing Wildflower. In some ways, she’s wise beyond her years, which
makes her incredibly strong and resilient. In other ways, she is still
very much a 14 year old girl. At that age, it’s easy to think that
you’re really invincible and this is exactly what gets Wildflower into
trouble, but her strength and resilience is what helps her find her way
back . . . Bottom line: A great story about a strong character!” Meg, A Bookish Affair
The Secret Sense of Wildflower received a starred review from Kirkus Reviews
Named to Kirkus Reviews’ Best Books of 2012!
“In this novel, life turns toward a dark horizon for a precocious adolescent grieving for her father in 1941 Tennessee.
difficult to harbor secrets in a rural mountain town of maybe 80 souls,
especially when adult siblings live within spitting distance of the
family home. Most of the townsmen work at the sawmill, and most of the
young women have been harassed at one time or another by creepy Johnny
Monroe. But Louisa May McAllister, nicknamed Wildflower, knows that
revealing her frequent forays to the cemetery, where she talks to her
beloved late father, would only rile her embittered mother. She also
knows to hide her “secret sense,” as it would evoke scorn from all save
eccentric Aunt Sadie, who shares her tomboy niece’s gift.
secrets come at a cost when, on one of her graveyard visits, Louisa May
ignores her premonition of danger. The consequences—somewhat expected
yet still horrific—are buffered by the visions into which the
13-year-old escapes. Sharp-witted, strong, curious and distrustful of
authority figures not living up to her standards—including God—Louisa
May immerses us in her world with astute observations and wonderfully
turned phrases, with nary a cliché to be found. She could be an adolescent Scout Finch, had Scout’s father died unexpectedly and her life taken a bad turn.
her story is full of pathos and loss, her sorrow is genuine and
refreshingly free of self-pity. She accepts that she and her mother are
“like vinegar and soda, always reacting,” that her best friend has grown
distant, and that despite the preacher’s condemnation, a young suicide
victim should be sent “to the head of heaven’s line.” Her connection to
the land—a presence as vividly portrayed as any character—makes her
compassionate but tough; she’s as willing to see trees as angels as she
is to join her brothers-in-law in seeking revenge. By necessity, Louisa
May grows up quickly, but by her secret sense, she also understands
forgiveness. A quietly powerful story, at times harrowing but ultimately a joy to read.”
worlds of family, friendship, mourning, courage and love are explored
in this moving, often humorous, novel about healing and hope. A
character-driven novel reminiscent of the work of Reynolds Price in its
ability to create a truly original Southern voice, The Secret Sense of Wildflower is certain to be embraced by fans of Sue Monk Kidd (The Secret Life of Bees) and Harper Lee (To Kill A Mockingbird).
And for those of you who prefer a printed book, you can get your autographed copy here.