cover image The Story of Beautiful Girl

The Story of Beautiful Girl

Rachel Simon, read by Kate Reading. Hachette Audio, unabridged, 10 CDs, 12 hrs., $29.98 ISBN 978-1-60941-108-4

On a dark night in the late 1960s, Homan, a deaf African-American man, and Lynnie, a young white woman with very little vocal ability, arrive on Martha Zimmer's doorstep during a severe storm. While giving the drenched and mysterious couple food and a change of clothes, Martha learns they also have a newborn baby girl. Moments later, employees from the Pennsylvania State School for the Incurable and Feebleminded arrive to recapture the runaways. Homan is able to escape out the back door, while Lynnie manages just two words to Martha: "Hide her." The next morning, with Homan appearing to have drowned in a flooded river and Lynnie back in the institution, Martha%E2%80%94a childless widow and retired schoolteacher%E2%80%94leaves her home with the infant in tow, determined to keep her promise. Kate Reading's narration is engaging and appropriate. She creates and alternates between different voices for the book's characters in a way that is subtle, effective, and never distracting, which only adds to a masterful book that covers subject matter both appalling and enthralling. A Grand Central hardcover. (May)