Desert Isle Keeper
The Song of David
For the past couple of years, I’ve been gobbling Amy Harmon’s books up like candy. Her lush prose, heart-wrenching plots and characters that seem like real people have caused a few of her books to become some of my all time favorites. The Song of David is no exception.
Before I begin to review this book, I want to say that although this is technically a stand alone novel, reading The Law of Moses is strongly encouraged before delving into The Song of David. David Taggert is a supporting character in The Law of Moses, and you’ll learn a lot of his back story if you read it first. Also, you’ll avoid spoilers pertaining to Moses and Georgia, the featured characters in the earlier book.
David (Tag) Taggert is a professional fighter who has worked hard over the past several years to make himself and the businesses he owns successful. His life hasn’t always been easy, but Tag is living the good life now. He’s surrounded himself with a team of men and women he’s sure he can count on no matter what and Moses, his best friend, lives nearby. Tag has women aplenty, and he’s come to terms with the murder of his older sister. Well, he’s come to terms with it as well as anyone can.
Tag is stunned when Millie, a twenty-two-year-old blind woman is hired as a stripper in the bar he owns. He doesn’t necessarily have a problem with her blindness, but something tells him that there’s something really different about her, something beyond the fact that she can’t see. He finds himself strangely drawn to her and to her younger brother as well. I’ll talk more about young Henry in just a bit.
This is a difficult book to review because of the way the story is told. When the story opens, Moses has just received a call from a frantic Millie, telling him that Tag has disappeared. He rushes to her side, intent on finding his friend. Instead, he finds a tape recorder and a stack of cassette tapes intended for Millie. Tag has made the tapes for her as a way of telling her how he feels and also to explain why he left the way he did. Much of the story alternates between Moses in the present and Tag in the time leading up to his disappearance. We never actually see things from Millie’s point of view, but both Tag and Moses tell the story well.
Tag has a bit of a savior complex. When he was eighteen, he traveled around the world, fighting and spending money. Now that he’s settled in Utah, he is constantly wanting to make life better for those he cares about and Millie and Henry quickly become part of his circle. He is fiercely protective of Millie, but she doesn’t take any crap from him. She asserts her independence, and I applaud Ms. Harmon for creating a blind character with an independent spirit.
Millie’s fifteen-year-old brother Henry is one of this book’s star characters. Ms. Harmon never comes out and tells listeners Henry’s autistic, but the text indicates this very clearly. He’s very awkward around strangers, and usually communicates by spouting random-seeming sports trivia. The love between Henry and Millie is plain to see, and, as time passes, he warms up to Tag as well, something it warmed my heart to witness.
Both Zachary Webber and JD Jackson do a fantastic job bringing Ms. Harmon’s words and characters to life. In the past, I’ve had some bad experiences with Mr. Jackson’s narrations, but his performance here is very solid. Both men create believable character voices of both genders. Both handle the difficult emotions in the story well, never sounding melodramatic. Their narrative styles complement each other very well, and I never found myself pulled out of the story by a verbal tic or a mispronunciation.
My one criticism of this book has to do with Ms. Harmon’s portrayal of Millie’s mobility. There is a scene that shows Millie explaining to Tag that she counts steps when traveling outside her home. As a blind person myself, I can tell you this is not realistic. There are other ways of knowing where you are, without resorting to something as variable as step counting. Also, Ms. Harmon constantly has Millie and Tag refer to Millie’s white cane as her “stick”. Perhaps a bit more research into orientation and mobility would have been helpful here.
I found The Song of David to be an incredibly emotional book. I cried and cried toward the end, and the love Tag and Millie share brought a smile to my face. As usual, Ms. Harmon delighted me with the devastating beauty of the stories she tells, and Mr. Jackson and Mr. Webber did an excellent job breathing life into the story. I recommend this book to anyone in the mood for an emotional read.
Breakdown of Grade: Narration: A Content: A- Unabridged length: 9 hours and 28 minutes
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