cover image A Perfect Union

A Perfect Union

Catherine Allgor, , read by Anne Twomey. . Audio Renaissance, $49.95 (0pp) ISBN 978-1-59397-924-9

Twomey's dulcet tones smooth out the sharp edges of Allgor's biography of Dolley Madison, her polished reading lulling listeners into pleasant reverie of the American political past. Allgor's book itself is not always so pacific, concentrating on the era of instability and violence surrounding the War of 1812, and Dolley's influence on her husband, James Madison, and the new American capital that she reigned over as First Lady. Twomey occasionally sounds like an announcer in a prescription-drug commercial, employing her most soothing tone to read off a list of potential side effects, but the effect is pleasant, her reading serving to calm the storms of the past, smoothly sailing over the choppy waters of the American early 19th century. Simultaneous release with the Holt hardcover (Reviews, Jan. 23). (Apr.)