Here is a story where the characters and setting shine through, with an audio version that’s soft but draws you in. After 16 CDs of Kingsolver’s voice, I find myself thinking in her rendition of Violet Brown, with a Carolina accent and old-fashioned sentence structure. My stars. The only fault I find is with the plot – after the movement and tension of the early part of the story, Shepherd’s years in the US lose momentum. The Cold War implications feel inevitable, and the many newspaper clippings pull the focus away from Shepherd and Violet. Fortunately, the ending hit the right note. This one didn’t hook me as much as some of her others, but it’s well worth the read for her way with words, her characters, and the fantastically vivid settings.