Desert Isle Keeper
Narrated by Susan Duerden
In the early days of AAR, The Secret (first published in 1992) received a DIK in a reader review. I read the review soon after I discovered AAR and immediately bought the book. I’ve read it so many times since that my old paperback is falling apart. I was a bit nervous to listen to it in audio. Would the narrator do this magical story justice? Or would she make the story seem a bit silly (as some readers now accuse some of Ms. Garwood’s books of being?). Within minutes of listening, my worries were put to rest. If anything, the narration enhanced the reading experience for me.
The narrator’s skills shine through in the magical opening sequence when the four-year-old English Elizabeth meets little Scottish Frances Catherine at a border festival. Within moments the two girls are fast friends. In Ms. Duerden’s hands this introduction is just wonderful. Each girl is given a unique voice, appropriate for her age and origin. They cry, they whisper, they laugh, and these come through in Ms. Duerden’s voice.
While this is clearly a romance, it’s also one of my favorite stories of female friendship, and it’s through that lifelong friendship that Elizabeth, years later, ends up in Scotland to help her dear friend with the birth of her child. And it’s through that friendship that Elizabeth meets the gruff Laird Ian Maitland, Frances Catherine’s brother-in-law.
Once in Scotland, Elizabeth not only helps her good friend and eventually marries Ian, she influences and changes the entire clan. And Ms. Duerden gives all of the members of the clan unique, age- and gender-appropriate voices.
Is the book realistic and true to the time? Probably not. Do I really think that an innocent young English woman could make all of the changes in a clan that Judith did? No, of course not. But do I love this book? Absolutely. If you’ve read and enjoyed The Secret in the past, I highly recommend that you give it a try in audio. I know I’ll be listening to it again in the near future. I didn’t think it possible, but Ms. Duerden’s narration has made one of my personal DIKs an even better reading experience.
Breakdown of Grade – Narration: A and Book Content: A-