While browsing the shelves of playaways at the library for a familiar sounding title, The Obituary Writer caught my attention. I had never heard of it, but with a title like that I had to check it out and I am glad that I did. It was everything I look for in an audio book. It was a manageable length, only 8 hours, not too complicated so it was perfect for listening to as I went about my daily chores and most importantly it was entertaining.
The Obituary Writer reads like two different stories about two different women from two different eras, and although I had no idea how the stories were related, it all came together in the end.
Claire and Peter appeared to be the perfect couple. They shared a beautiful daughter and were expecting a baby. But there was a problem. Both Claire and Peter suspected that Peter was not the father of the child Claire was carrying. Yes, Claire had fallen in love with a man she had met while campaigning for John F. Kennedy. A married man who unlike her husband took her serious and actually listened to her. Although the affair had come to a screeching halt after Peter had walked in on the couple in bed Claire could not stop thinking about Miles. Peter expected Claire to just go back to being the dutiful wife he had married, leaving Claire with the difficult decision as to what to do with her marriage. Could Claire leave her husband and risk losing her daughter in the process?
Vivian Lowe was famous for the obituaries she wrote. These were not the typical obituaries people were used to reading, especially in 1919. Vivian’s obits did not just list the pertinent facts such as age, career and children. Vivian knew how to listen to people as they described their loved one and the obituaries she wrote managed to capture the true essence of the deceased person. Vivian understood grief and perhaps that was why she was so good at what she did. She had lost the love of her life and had been searching for him ever since he left her apartment the morning of the Great San Francisco Earthquake, never to be seen again. Thirteen years had passed, yet Vivian still could not accept the fact that her David was dead. His body was never found and she couldn’t help but imagine him walking around San Francisco in a state of amnesia.
The Obituary Writer alternates back and forth between these two captivating love stories. The stories of two women from two different eras, both dealing with grief and loss, both looking for love. Listening to Claire talk about the Kennedy’s and trying to guess what color Jackie would wear to her next appearance added some welcomed levity to her story. The end caught me totally by surprise, although that may be because I wasn’t even trying to figure out the ending or the connection between Claire and Vivian, I was just going for the ride, listening to this engaging novel beautifully read by Tavia Gilbert.
A 4 omelet audio book