May 7, 2012

The Little Giant of Aberdeen County

2009 Blackstone Audio, Inc.
Reader: Carrington MacDuffie
Finished on 4/18/12
Rating: 3/5 (OK)

Publisher’s Blurb:

When Truly Plaice's mother was pregnant, the whole town of Aberdeen lined up to bet on the weight of the baby that could stretch a woman to such epic proportions. Young Truly would pay the price of her enormity. Her father blamed her for her mother’s death in childbirth, and was totally ill equipped to raise either this giant child or her older sister and polar opposite, Serena Jane, the epitome of feminine perfection. His subsequent death left Serena Jane to live a life of privilege as the town’s prodigal May Queen and Truly to eke out an existence with a rattle trap, outcast family on its rundown farm.

While Truly’s remarkable size makes her the subject of constant curiosity and humiliation by her peers, Serena Jane’s beauty proves to be both her biggest blessing and her worst curse, for it targets her as the obsession of Bob Bob Morgan, the youngest in a line of Robert Morgans, Aberdeen’s family doctors for generations. When Bob Bob does the unthinkable to claim the prize that is Serena Jane, his actions change the destiny of all Aberdeen County.

As Truly grows older—and even larger—Bob Bob forces her to become mistress of a house she did not choose and mother to her eight-year-old nephew, Bobbie. It isn’t long, however, before Truly discovers her brother-in-law’s real reason for wanting her at his house: his hungry fascination with her physical anomalies. But when she uncovers the Morgan family secret, a centuries old shadow book penned by the first doctor’s witch-wife, Tabitha, she may have found the key to surviving Bob Bob’s cruelties.

Armed with dangerous secrets from Aberdeen’s past, Truly soon confronts life-altering moral decisions about whether or how she should use her newfound knowledge. As she practices her herbal healing, she is drawn even more tightly into the circle of the town until she learns of a betrayal so huge, even she is dwarfed by it. In the end, Truly is forced to face her own larger-than-life demons, redefine mercy, and consider the possibility that love cannot be ordered to size.

I had the ARC for this debut novel for over three years, but it wasn’t until I saw that the audio version was available through my library that I finally got around to reading (or, as my husband would correct, “listening to”) it.

I almost gave up on the novel, not really caring for the plot or characters, but something clicked around Part Two (when Truly and Serena reached adulthood) and I began to care about Truly, curious to see where the author was leading me. I wound up enjoying the second half of the novel, but it’s not one that I’m raving about, nor am I terribly anxious to read Baker’s latest release, The Gilly Salt Sisters (yes, another novel about sisters…. Hmmm).

I wonder if I would have had a great appreciation for this novel had I read it rather than listened to the audio. I didn’t care too much for the reader and now see that she’s also the reader for The Paris Wife and The Buddha in the Attic (the latter of which I have on my Nano). I’ve been anxious to read The Paris Wife, so I’ll play it safe and stick with the printed format.

Final Thoughts: Taking the ARC back to work. Maybe someone else will enjoy it better than I did.


  1. A lot of people raved over this book but I felt the way you did. I liked it okay, but didn't think it was great - it was too slow for me.

  2. Les,
    I guess liked it better then you did. I read it when it first came out and gave it 4 of 5. Not perfect, but I really liked the characters and writing. I have Gilly Sisters on my To Read list, but don't know if I will get to it.


  3. I have been curious about this book for ages, but still not read it... I have a copy kicking around somewhere.

  4. Kathy - Yep. It falls into the category of "Ok, but nothing special" and it was a little slow going, at least the first half. But, yes, there are others who loved it.

    Lee - I remember that this is one you liked a lot. I think you might have even said it reminded you a little bit of A Prayer for Owen Meany. I'll be interested to see what you think of The Gilly Sisters, if you do wind up reading it.

    Kelly - And I'll be curious to see what you think, if you do read it.

  5. I read this book when it was first released and loved it! I don't remember the reason now, but it just worked for me.

  6. For some reason, this never interested me enough when it was released to track down a copy. I did enjoy Carrington McDuffie narrating The Paris Wife, but wasn't wild about the print version of The Buddha in the Attic.

  7. I've had this one forever but never been tempted enough to actually pick it up. Meh!

  8. Diane - I'll have to go back and re-read your review. I wonder if I would've enjoyed it more had I read it rather than listened.

    JoAnn - I'm glad to hear that Carrington McDuffie was a good reader for The Paris Wife. I'm listening to so many books that I don't own and concentrating on the printed ones I do, so this is good to know, as I don't have a printed copy. We'll see how The Buddha in the Attic works as an audio.

    Andi - Meh is right. And I don't really think this is your type of book. Let me know if I'm wrong! :)

  9. Like Andi, I've got a copy but I'm not sure why. I got it from a friend and I keep thinking, "Really, I'm not that interested." Probably ought to just pass it on.

  10. Nancy - I think passing on it is probably a good idea. I'm sure you have oodles of books you'd rather read. If I had been reading the printed version rather than listening to the audio, I'm almost positive I would've quit before the halfway point.

  11. I actually really liked this one in print. I do understand how a narrator can really make or break a story!

  12. Staci - I still the printed ARC, so maybe I'll give it to my mom and see what she thinks.

  13. I read this as an ARC years ago and really enjoyed it. I passed it on to my stepmother who didn't get it at all. Maybe it's just one of those that is hit or miss. Honestly it's been too long for me to remember what it was exactly that I liked about it.

    I often wonder if I chose the right medium for books--whether I would have enjoyed more had I listened or read.

  14. I ended my post for this book with: "Ultimately, I didn't find it to be anything special, but a good read nonetheless." Although, I don't think I would have finished it if it weren't for the audio version.

  15. Trish - I can see how this could be a hit-or-miss type of a book. I enjoyed it well enough to listen to the entire book, but find it hard to recommend.

    I know what you mean about choosing the right medium for books (listen vs. reading), although I know there are some that I simply wouldn't have finished unless I listened to the audios. Audio books don't seem to involve quite the time commitment since I can do other things while I listen.

    Joy - I think you and I see eye-to-eye on this one. Not sure if I'll bother with her new book.


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