©2002 Belinda Alexandra; (P)2003 Bolinda Publishing Pty Ltd
"Deidre Rubenstein's well-modulated contralto voice brings empathy and compassion to Alexandra's first novel....Powerful dramatization." (AudioFile)
Love this author but found her Russian heroine harder to identify with than her other book's main characters -- put it down to the character's Russian emotionalism - she seemed to cry at the drop of a hat. Absolutely loved her description of post-war immigration to Australia... as someone who emigrated in early '70's to Oz, four or five decades on from the story, found that little had changed in the welcome anyone from 'outside' Australia received. But like the main character, found so so much to love about the country.
This is my third Belinda Alexandra book and I was not disappointed. This story is a marvellous blend of Russian Chinese history ending up with the characters as post war refugees in Australia. It is set in the time period of pre WW2 through to post WW2.
As with Alexandra’s other novels it is well researched and beautifully written. Again we see a central female character who experiences dreadful events and disappointments based on historical facts and real life stories but who comes through with great strength of character. I could not put it down and was sorry when it finished. Highly recommended.
This is the first Belinda Alexander book that I have read. The story is great and I could not put it down.
The narrater was very good. I was very sorry to get to the end.
"Thoroughly enjoyed **CONTAINS SPOILERS**"
I probably wouldn't listen to White Gardenia again. The story was so heavy with details, it's difficult to forget the plot line and the things that happened.
There were several memorable moments, but the most memorable was actually when her husband left her, the SECOND time. I was actually blown away!! When it was about to happen, I remember thinking, 'he didn't leave her again...noooooo.' And then he did!!!!
My favorite scene was when Anya and Demitri learned to dance together. It was beautifully written, and I actually looked up on YouTube to see the actual dance since I couldn't picture it completely in my head.
I don't if there was a more memorable character than Anya herself.
I would definitely recommend this book. It doesn't always go in the direction you think it's going to, which is what one wants out of a book. I would say to be prepared to go on Anya's emotional roller coaster. She experiences many tragic and terrible things, and doesn't learn to cope with them in a healthy way, which explains her odd behavior in certain situations.
~Review written by Ray's Wife :)
"Good story, annoying recording breaks"
I enjoyed the story, and hearing more about the Australian-Russian connection. Unfortunately the recording is broken into hour long 'chapters' instead of the written chapter breaks. Each hour long 'chapter' has a musical fade out which disrupts the narration and flow of the book, very poorly done and creates a break in the flow.
The narrative voice was belittling to the Asians..The story was difficult to believe... The writing is clumsy.... Big disappointment
"A great story"
I thoroughly enjoyed the storyline of this book. Having just listened to Sapphire Skies, it was interesting to go back to what was the prequel, in a way. I did find, however, the narration a trifle melodramatic at times, although the accents were believable. I enjoyed the historical aspects of the novel. The musical underscoring of the author's notes and acknowledgements was, for me, too loud and distracting. An unnecessary addition. Still, all in all, a great "read".
"Ana, grow up"
Liked this part of history which I had never read about before and it helped me understand what the world was like at that time. I like the characters but did not like how emotionally immature Ana was through out the book. I think t he author repeatedly went overboard on Ana's crying and inability to adapt to changes. I would have liked to read the book with Ana as a stronger character.
Very similar to her other books Wild Lavender and Silver Wattle.
Very good and excellent accents.
Would be nice to see Ana grown up in the years of raising her daughter and helping an elderly Mother. Also to develope her relationships with her husband and friends. Plus to see the history unfold as to these years in Australia.
I did like the books and would recommend it but only to women.....a man wouldn't like all the crying in Ana's character.
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