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Friday, October 5, 2012

Audio Review: Butterfly's Shadow by Lee Langley

Title: Butterfly's Shadow
Author: Lee Langley
Narrator: Laurel Lefkow
Publication: April 15, 2011
Publisher: Story Plant
Source: Purchased
Genre: Historical Fiction
Length: 10 hours 54 minutes
Format: Unabridged
Audience: 17 and up
Rating: 4.5 out 5

Synopsis: In a Japan still rigid with tradition, an apprehensive 15-year-old tea-house girl prepares to welcome her first client. In his gleaming white uniform, Lieutenant Pinkerton walks up the hill to a house in Nagasaki to find the female he has purchased for a few weeks. When he sails away, she waits, aching for his return. It is one of the world's great love stories. And, as the curtain falls on Madame Butterfly, Cho-Cho hands over her son to his American father, before killing herself...

Lee Langley's bewitching story of lost hope and thwarted love opens where Puccini's opera ends. In America Joey grows up torn between two cultures, haunted, like his parents, by their memories of what really happened on that fateful day. But just as Joey's fate is inextricably linked with the country of his birth, so too is the fate of America, and both of their paths will ultimately lead to Nagasaki.

My Thoughts:  PageTurner says I read the saddest books. I have tried to disagree with her but I'm beginning to think she is right. This book holds a place on my sad book list. I really enjoyed this audio. I didn't know anything about Puccini's Madame Butterfly before I began this audio. Having some knowledge of it would have prepared me for the sadness in the story.

This is a heartbreaking story of Joey and his parents. This story begins in 1923 and spans 20 years. The reader gets to experience the highs and lows this family face throughout the years and how the country (USA and Japan) changes during that time. The story opens with Joey's mother, Cho-Cho, waiting to meet the man who is to become her husband. She is full of hopes and dreams that will lead her to America. She is very young and naive. 
Joey's father, Pinkerton, on the other hand is looking for a good time while he is in Japan; the marriage is just a formality to him. This marriage changes their lives forever. He didn't plan on Cho-Cho getting pregnant nor does he believe that the child is his. He thinks that she is just some tea house girl that will say anything.  

This is a single voiced production narrated by Laurel Lefkow. She did a wonderful job narrating this. Her pacing was perfect for the story. Each of Lefkow's characterizations added to my listening experience. Lefkow differentiated the characters clearly through tone, tempo, accent, and inflection.  I found it easy to identify the character who was speaking. Lefkow's variations in gender and accents was done very well. I only had one complaint during the entire performance and that was the long pauses between chapters. Other than that the pace was well maintained during the production. There are no sound effects or music used during the production. I don't feel that it would have enhanced the production in any way. 


  1. I almost cried reading the synopsis and review!

    1. There will defiantly be tears if you read or listen to this.