Monday, February 24, 2020

So Others May Live ~ Audio Book Blog Tour Review & Giveaway!

Narrated by Siobhan Dowd

Audio Length: 8 hours 50 minutes
Publisher: Brady L. Hutchison
Released: Dec. 31, 2019
Genre: Historical Fiction

In the space of a single night, four lives collide as Berlin staggers under the weight of British bombs. Mick, a Lancaster pilot, proposed to Grace on his last leave but one more mission stands in between him and the end of his tour. Grace harbors a secret, one which she fears might change the nature of their relationship forever. Unsure of how he will respond, she has decided to tell him upon his return knowing that to do so risks losing him forever.

Seven hundred miles away in Berlin, war-weary firefighter Karl is haunted by the images he's seen both on the home front and in Russia. Now he takes command of a group of teenage auxiliaries who find themselves on the front lines of Germany's defenses against a nightly rain of fire. On a call, he meets Ursula, a young woman who lives near his station. Karl quickly finds himself falling for her, unaware that she is playing a dangerous game, one which might place his own life in danger.

As the raid unfolds, they face choices which will forever change them, and those they love.

HALL WAYS REVIEW: AUDIO BOOK REVIEW: So Others May Live takes readers back in history to World War II and into the lives of two sets of people, who are supposed to be enemies. One set of the main characters is living under the command of Hitler and the Nazis who are sending air raids to London. The other set is in England, whose Royal Air Force is sending air raids to Berlin. Everyone is dealing with the consequences of those air raids, of communism, and the effects of war. Lines of loyalty are blurred as the very real human cost comes to light, and it becomes clear that only extreme measures can change outcomes.   

“The men spoke with the easy familiarity of those who had faced death together and survived. Rank did not matter to them.”

Author Lee Hutch has done his research and his experience as a firefighter brings readers a harrowing story filled with the vivid ugliness of war. Based on the cover blurb, I was expecting the story to be more about relationships between the characters and less about individual struggles, both internal and within their roles in society. Be warned: So Others May Live is realistic historical fiction, and nothing is sugar-coated. It is about survival, but not as much about the relationships that help one survive. Readers do get a glimpse at the camaraderie between the pilots, and the camaraderie between firefighters, and those parts were touching and powerful. However, because the stories are so grim, I really needed more about the relationships and the threads of hope that sustain humans in dark times.

“Faces came and went in the mess. New officers often went down before Michael even learned their names. Most went down within their first five missions.”

While the narration is outstanding (more on that below), I think So Others May Live might have worked better for me had I read it with my eyes, not my ears. Hutch’s descriptions are often richly detailed, pulling readers into the scenes (bomb shelters are “an olfactory nightmare”), but there are several places where the story drags, and readers are being told a litany of historical facts – it’s information overload. And in these scenes, there isn’t enough action to hold interest unless you are a huge history buff.  Another warning that the story is realistic: some of the descriptions of the aftermath of bombings bordered on putrid. This is not to say that the author was unnecessarily graphic – there is nothing gratuitous –rather, descriptions are realistic.  For someone like me (who avoids realistic war films and books), I think reading with my eyes would have helped me step away and handle the scenes better, but honestly, I probably wouldn’t have picked this to read because it’s too painful and true to history and without even a glimmer of hope.

So Others May Live is told in four parts, at times through a limited omniscient point of view and at other times, through each of the four main characters’ perspectives. This strategy ultimately shows that victims of wars, no matter which country they are in, have more in common than not, and that whether civilian or military, they often feel that it’s not their war but the battling governments’ war.  Human casualties are expected; they are relegated to statistics in ledgers.

Part four of the book was the strongest and the action is ramped up to make for some edge-of-your-seat moments. There are few loose ends by the end of the story, but there is nothing neat about the resolutions to each of the characters’ stories. The story is authentic, so expect a realistic conclusion that will weigh heavily on your heart and for sensitive readers, the melancholy is pervasive.

ABOUT THE NARRATION: Siobhan Dowd is a master narrator. (or naRATEor, as she would say.) She performed multiple accents: British -- including cockney -- German, Scottish, and even Louisiana-in, and regardless of male or female voices, she gave a unique identity and personality to the characters.  Her pacing is perfect, and I was able to listen at regular speed. Technically, the recording was excellent with no glitches or hiccups, and the sound being even throughout.

Thank you to Audiobookworm Promotions and the author for providing me an audio download in exchange for my honest opinion – the only kind I give.

I received this audio book as part of my participation in a blog tour with Audiobookworm Promotions. The tour is being sponsored by Lee Hutch. The gifting of this audio book did not affect my opinion of it.

Award winning author Lee Hutch grew up on the Texas/Louisiana border. As a child, he enjoyed reading history books and hanging around fire stations. As an adult, he entered the fire service and worked as both a firefighter and then an arson investigator before an injury led to his retirement. Along the way, he picked up a BA and an MA in History and an MS in Criminal Justice. He now teaches history for a community college in Southeast Texas. He loves books, cats, boxing, the Red Sox, and the New Orleans Saints.

His historical interests include the history of the fire service, particularly how firefighters have adapted to wartime conditions, the American Civil War, and the World Wars. When he's not in the classroom or in his office, Lee can be found reading or listening to either a Red Sox or a Saints game on the radio with his cat Anastasia. His next novel is set in Civil War era New York.

Narrator Bio

I record High Quality Voiceover in variations of my native South London accent - I can offer both bright and enthusiastic commercial reads, or a more laid back and enigmatic explainer style. 

I have lots of experience in Explainers, E-Learning, Commercials, Audio Books, and more.

I work in VO full time, and deliver high quality audio from my fully equipped home recording studio in South West London, always including amends or pick ups as needed to ensure complete client satisfaction. 

I use Source Connect or Cleanfeed for remote record-directed sessions and I can travel in and around London and the South East for studio based jobs.

Please have a look (and listen) around my site and get in touch by email, phone, or via social media if you’d like any more information on my services or to book a job.

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