Narrator: Lauren Fortgang
Length: 6 hours 25 minutes
Read: June 2017
Seventeen-year-old Nora Holmes is an artist, a painter from the moment she could hold a brush. She inherited the skill from her grandfather, Robert, who’s always nurtured Nora’s talent and encouraged her to follow her passion. Still, Nora is shocked and elated when Robert offers her a gift: an all-expenses-paid summer trip to Europe to immerse herself in the craft and to study history’s most famous artists. The only catch? Nora has to create an original piece of artwork at every stop and send it back to her grandfather. It’s a no-brainer: Nora is in!
Unfortunately, Nora’s mother, Alice, is less than thrilled about the trip. She worries about what the future holds for her young, idealistic daughter – and her opinions haven’t gone unnoticed. Nora couldn’t feel more unsupported by her mother, and in the weeks leading up to the trip, the women are as disconnected as they’ve ever been. But seconds after saying good-bye to Alice at the airport terminal, Nora hears a voice call out: “Wait! Stop! I’m coming with you!”
I see a lot of the new up and coming books through social media and publisher newsletters, but this is one that I didn’t see until I was “shopping” my library’s Overdrive site. I usually have those days where I feel like buying all the books, so I’ll go and look at all the new books my library got digitally and borrow and request from there. There was a trifecta of really good looking YA audiobooks in one of my searches, one after the other, and this one caught my eye. I just loved the cover initially, and then I read the synopsis and knew I couldn’t go wrong with a mother-daughter travel book in the vein of Gilmore Girls!
I really loved listening to this book. There was a lot of drama and tension between mother and daughter (do any of us really have that Gilmore Girls relationship with our moms?) and sometimes it got to be a bit much, BUT it was still real. It didn’t feel like some made up relationship, but instead a mother and daughter butting heads constantly as one struggles to find their way in life, while the other – having witnessed that particular way – tries to hold them back. In the end, the book is about growth for both mother and daughter and that mixed with the travel in the books (seriously, can I go to Paris and have a croissant now?) made this a really fun summer listen.
The interesting thing was that had I looked this book up on Goodreads prior to listening I probably wouldn’t have picked it up, since the rating was low AND the first three reviews I saw were negative. Maybe it’s because I’m a mom now, or maybe it’s because I was that artsy kid when I graduated, longing for a career in the arts while I knew my parents wanted to get me to do anything else, but I felt like this book just worked for me.
The only thing that didn’t work for me in this book was the romance. I love romance in any book, but I felt like it was almost unnecessary in this one AND I kind of felt that it was rushed. It wasn’t one of those memorable romances to me and I felt like the real standout relationship in the story was that of Nora and her mom.
If you love mother-daughter relationships, as well as fun travel books, this is the book for you! I loved the trips abroad — even though I got a serious craving for all the foods mentioned — and I also loved that this was a short listen which took me just half a day to get through. Definitely recommend it!
Lauren Fortgang was a really great narrator! I see she’s narrated quite a few young adult and paranormal romance books and I’ll definitely have to check them out. I felt like that balance between mother and daughter, as well as American and other accents was really well done and her pacing was perfect – just right so I could speed it up and finish in good time. I will definitely be listening to her again!