Love Comes Calling by Siri Mitchell
2014, read by Morgan Hallett
Anyway, I thought it would be fun to start reviewing the audiobooks I listen to, how well I liked the book itself, but especially who well I like the reader since the reader makes or breaks a story.
❤ Synopsis ❤
Love Comes Calling by Siri Mitchell is a simple and fun story, set in the 1920s, right smackdab in the middle of the flapper era. The heroine Ellis Eton is a young coed who tries and tries and tries her hardest to focus and do things right, just as is expected of her by her uppercrust family, but her mind wanders, she gets distracted, and before she realizes it, she's flubbed another test, or forgotten about a meeting, or misplaced directions. Literally, she's a mess. But she has a good heart, so when the daughter of her family's former housekeeper needs to take a trip for 2 weeks to bury her mother in her hometown, Ellis agrees to take her place at her job as a switchboard operator, or a "Hello Girl" as they're called. Ellis and Janie looked so much alike as children that they actually switched places for a day, so Ellis knows the scheme will work, especially since her fondest dream is to be a Hollywood actress and she knows she can pull off the switch. Except that being a switchboard operator is harder than she ever dreamed, and when she overhears something she shouldn't by not flipping a switch on her board, well, she suddenly suspects that someone is out to harm one of her oldest friends, Griff Phillips. As the heir to a substantial fortune himself, along with being an excellent college football player, Griff is near and dear to her heart, although Ellis doesn't realize how near and dear until she starts sticking to him like glue. Throw in a few speakeasys, uppercrust parties, and time at the lake, and you've got quite an adventure on your hands with Love Comes Calling!
❤ The Novel ❤
First of all, one of the things I love most about this book is the heroine. Siri herself admits to creating a heroine with ADHD before it was even diagnosed, and boy is she right! Ellis is at the height of ADHD so it's fascinating to be in her head where tries so hard and struggles to please her family and to remember and to do what needs to be done, but she just can't quite manage it. In that same vein, though, I'm sure a lot of readers will find themselves frustrated with Ellis' lack of concentration, which is why I'm mentioning her diagnosis right now so you know what you're getting into before you even pick up the book or audiobook.
My second favorite thing is how the Roaring Twenties is represented. Modern Americans have this glamorous vision of the 1920s lifestyles, the glitz, the fame, the parties, etc. But it wasn't all glamour. A lot of it was sordid and vile and shameful, and this is the side Siri Mitchell represents so well that most other authors or films skip altogether. Fun and fabulous parties like the ones in The Great Gatsby are all well and good, but in Love Comes Calling, they're shown for being the life-draining, morality destroying binges that they are. And I love that honesty.
Griff is also pretty awesome because he's the one character that doesn't say "Ohhhhh, Ellis" whenever she does something wrong. He admires her spunk and fortitude and he's deeply in love with her. He also stands firm on his convictions and he won't bend to unlawful peer pressure. I was rooting for them from the beginning.
❤ The Narrator ❤
Narrators make or break the story that they're presenting. There is nothing worse than a narrator that drones on without changing tempo. I lose place in the story so easily with a narrator like that.
Thankfully, Morgan Hallett is a SUPERB narrator!
She has all of Ellis' mannerisms down perfectly, the inflections of each character, and the dramatic pitch needed for varying scenes. She engages the listener actively and I didn't want to go home from work one day because I didn't want to leave my story in the middle! You should hear her say "Oysters and clambakes!" just like I imagined Ellis to sound. Plus, she skillfully maneuvers the male voices, never an easy accomplishment for female narrators. But Morgan Hallett manages it flawlessly.
I've listened to dozens of audiobooks so far, and while I already knew I loved Love Comes Calling because I've physically read it, I love it even more now that I've heard it narrated with such skill and finesse!
❤ Parental Guidance ❤
This book isn't for the faint of heart. While I've made it sound fun, there is a lot of drinking and carousing, always with negative consequences. One of Ellis' friends dies because she drank bad alcohol in a speakeasy. There's also a police officer who, while not wholly bad, isn't wholly good either, and he steps aside and lets bad things happen instead of helping. There's no swearing of course, and only some mild kissing. Overall, all of the negative actions have consequences, just like in real life, and Siri Mitchell presents the light of Christ shining in the darkest of places.