Son of a Preacher Man
Written by Karen M Cox⎮ Narrated by Blake Lockheart
Author: Karen M Cox
Narrator: Blake Lockheart
Length: 8 hour 53 minutes
Publisher: Karen M Cox
Released: Sep. 22, 2021
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1959. The long, hot summer bakes the sleepy, Southern town of Orchard Hill. Billy Ray Davenport, an aspiring physician and only son of an indomitable traveling minister, is a young man with a plan that starts with working in a small-town doctor’s office before he begins medical school in the fall. Handsome, principled, and keenly observant, he will lodge with the Millers, the local doctor’s family. But he never bargained for Lizzie Quinlan - a complex, kindred spirit who is beautiful and compassionate, yet scorned by the townsfolk. With her quirky wisdom and a spine of steel hidden beneath an effortless sensuality, Lizzie is about to change Billy Ray’s life - and his heart - forever.
Winner of the 2019 Kentucky Indie Author Project for adult fiction.
Sophia Rose's Review
This audiobook was provided by its author, Karen M Cox, in exchange for an honest and unbiased review. Thanks, Karen!
One summer in the 1950’s a young man studying for his medical degree comes to a rural community to assist the country doctor and it becomes a summer of discovery when he encounters the young woman with the local reputation and chooses to look beyond the gossip. Flavored by Jane Austen’s Pride & Prejudice this modern historical rendition is brings the classic to rural 1950’s America.
This was a tender story of first love, but so much more. There is a coming of age story all told through Billy Ray's eyes. He's had to grow up quickly and be responsible because of his mom's death and knocking about with his dad, but because he's preacher's son, he's also somewhat sheltered and innocent. Lizzy has been limited in her education and knowledge of the world outside her town, but she is wise to worldliness and hard-living with her family on the grub farm. My heart went out for this girl and I teared up at one point as her past was fully revealed. I got quite angry at a few people just like Billy Ray.
This story has one of my favorite settings- small town. But, instead of the romantic nostalgia that can paint a picture of the best side, this shows the uglier side, too. We have a small community set on believing the worst in one of their own even without evidence, what trouble a malice-filled girl can stir up, and Lizzy's pain and strength needed to make it even years under a bad reputation before getting out to make good on her dreams.
The book has a strong faith element because of Billy Ray's Christian outlook and he leans on his faith to try to help Lizzy through her pain and as his own guidepost, but it isn't an inspirational fiction and there are no attempts to push his faith on others or on the reader, for that matter. Not that he needs to because it was still an era when the average person in rural America made nominal claims to Christianity. I respect that he lived out what he believed and that part of his struggle was how to reconcile his attraction for Lizzy with his dad's concerns about falling for 'that kind of girl', respecting her need to pursue her own career when he'd been taught that women were to be the homemakers, and his acceptance that Lizzy is his equal not lesser because she is female.
Blake Lockhart is a new to me narrator, but this one sample of his work is enough to have me making a note for more. His rendition of Billy Ray, Lizzy, and the rest of the cast was superb. He matched tone and pacing so that I settled in from the start and didn’t want to let go of the story. The production quality of the audiobook was thumbs up great.
All in all, this was a heartwarming story that had a strong flavor of nostalgia that was tempered with bittersweet reality. The pains and joys of coming of age and first love along with figuring out life while pursuing education. It was a well-written, well-developed story with engaging characters and elements. It had me smiling, laughing, crying, and swooning. Those who enjoy slightly sweet with a little spice, modern historical, and influences from an old song and an even older story should give it a look-see.
Sophia is a quiet though curious gal who dabbles in cooking, book reviewing, and gardening. Encouraged and supported by an incredible man and loving family. A Northern Californian transplant to the Great Lakes Region of the US. Lover of Jane Austen, Baseball, Cats, Scooby Doo, and Chocolate.
Sophia has been devouring books for decades and the love for audio books in particular probably started with the portable turntable record player and hearing, ‘when the chime sounds, please turn the page’. In the last five years of reviewing, she has started listening for review and honing her narration tastes. Sophia is an equal opportunity genre lover though history and mystery, sci-fi and romance will always be the front runners.