cover image The Night Garden

The Night Garden

Lisa Van Allen, read by Amy Rubinate. Tantor Audio, , unabridged, 10 hrs., 9 CDs, $39.99 ISBN 978-1-4945-0082-5

Rubinate narrates Van Allen’s complex, character-driven story about love and loss. Her methodical voice is well suited to the main character of Olivia, a wildly successful New England gardener whose secrets cause her to keep her neighbors at arm’s length. Rubinate also does a fine job portraying May, a pregnant teenager who finds refuge at Olivia’s farm. May’s childish defiance, combined with a very adult ability to manipulate others, make her a force to be reckoned with. Rubinate’s performance is less convincing for the two main male characters: Sam, the boy next door who returns home after being physically and emotionally damaged in his years outside Green Valley; and Olivia’s father Arthur, whose bitterness over loss and the mistakes of his past have made him an eccentric recluse. Overall, Rubinate’s voice is quiet, gentle, and slightly breathy, its sense of wide-eyed wonder making room for the magical realism that infuses Van Allen’s story. [em]A Ballantine paperback. (Oct.) [/em]