Daughter of Providence by Julie Drew (Dreamscape)

Anne Dodge lives with her father in a Depression-era mill town in Rhode Island. Her Portuguese mother left when she was 6-years-old, and, years later, after her mother’s death, Anne learns she has a younger half-sister, Maria Cristina. The body of a young Portuguese man washes up on shore. Maria Cristina comes to live with Anne and her father. Problems ensue as secrets unfold. Thanks to Tavia Gilbert’s sensitive reading, the structural flaws in this debut novel are less apparent, but immigration issues, politics, economic downturns, racial discrimination, a murder, and a slew of extraneous details clog the otherwise promising plot. Gilbert’s Portuguese accent sounds more Italian than Portuguese, but her energy, pleasant voice, and intelligent performance keep the story from bogging down. AudioFile

The talented Tavia Gilbert performed the audiobook version of my novel, Daughter of Providence, in 2011—and I use performed here deliberately: she did so much more than read the text, and I could not be happier with the result.

I can only imagine the kind of preparation that went into Tavia’s performance, but whatever it entailed, the final recording was masterful. She dealt expertly with multiple characters of all ages, both male and female; regional accents, ethnic cadences, and a strong Portuguese immigrant accent. Astoundingly, she makes it seem effortless.

As an author, I wondered whether any audiobook could fully capture my characters—the depth and breadth of their emotions, the full weight of what the events transpiring in their lives meant to them. I needn’t have worried; Tavia Gilbert is clearly a person of great perception and feeling. Every line, every perfectly-pitched break in a character’s voice, at exactly the right moment, was spot-on. ~ Julie Drew