cover image Separate Beds

Separate Beds

Elizabeth Buchan, read by Sarah Le Fevre. Penguin Audio, unabridged, 12 CDs, 14

Buchan's novel about a family unraveling, then putting itself back together, has mixed results on audio. The dramatic scenes that move the plot forward are very effective: Tom painfully revealing to Annie that he's lost his job and, later, that he lost thousands in the stock market; Jocasta abandoning Jake and their baby; Emily finding long-lost sister Mia. But the many long, wordy sections in which backstory is exhaustively explained, or in which Annie repeatedly ponders her relationship with Tom, become tedious. This is one audiobook that could have benefited from judicious abridging to tighten it up. On the positive side, Sarah Le Fevre is an able narrator; she voices the characters with emotion and empathy, and creates distinctive voices, particularly for sharp-tonged Jocasta and quavery, elderly Hermione. A Viking hardcover. (Apr.)