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Summary

Crawdads meets the Crawleys....Threaded through with a meticulously researched, well-crafted mystery, this is historical fiction at its best.” (Fiona Davis, nationally best-selling author of The Lions of Fifth Avenue)

From the best-selling author of A Tangled Mercy comes an enthralling novel of secrets, a tumultuous war of ideas, and murder as classes collide in the shadow of Biltmore House.

Biltmore House, a palatial mansion being built by the Vanderbilts, American “royalty,” is in its final stages of construction in North Carolina. The country’s grandest example of privilege, it symbolizes the aspirations of its owner and the dreams of a girl, just as driven, who lives in its shadow.

Kerry MacGregor’s future is derailed when, after two years in college in New York City, family obligations call her home to the beautiful Appalachians. She is determined to distance herself from the opulence she sees rising in the Blue Ridge Mountains, however close its reach. Her family’s land is among the last pieces required to complete the Biltmore Estate. But something more powerful than an ambitious Vanderbilt heir could change Kerry’s fate as, one by one, more outsiders descend on the changing landscape - a fugitive from Sicily, a reporter chasing a groundbreaking story, a debutante tainted by scandal, and a conservationist prepared to put anyone at risk to stoke the resentment of the locals.

As Kerry finds herself caught in a war between wealth and poverty, innocence and corruption, she must navigate not only her own pride and desperation to survive but also the temptations of fortune and the men who control it.

©2020 by Joy Jordan-Lake (P)2020 Brilliance Publishing, Inc., all rights reserved.

Critic reviews

“Elegantly written and expertly crafted, Under a Gilded Moon soars as high as any piece of literature can reach. You’re transported to a time and place in history that begs [to be] read late into the night.” (Robert Dugoni, international best-selling author of The Extraordinary Life of Sam Hell and the Tracy Crosswhite series)

“I was swept away by this dazzling, masterfully written tale of the clash of classes and cultures around the Biltmore in North Carolina. Joy Jordan-Lake brings the past alive with impeccable details, raw emotion, and parallels to our present world. A triumph.” (Emily Carpenter, best-selling author of Burying the Honeysuckle Girls

What listeners say about Under a Gilded Moon

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  • Christine
  • 01-12-20

Thumbs Down

I often wonder if the author or producers actually listen to certain audiobook performances? This one is so awful it's almost laughable. The story wasn't compelling enough to make me continue on.

10 people found this helpful

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  • pippi
  • 03-12-20

Narration is terrible

Holy goodness, the narration is so bad you can’t get past it to hear the story. I love a Hungarian accent, but the choice of this voice for a story told from the perspective of southern girl with Celtic roots seems a distractingly poor choice.

5 people found this helpful

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  • Linda S. Moeller
  • 19-01-21

A little ambitious but...

After reading all the negative reviews, I started to wonder if I'd read the same book! To be fair, the author was very ambitious about getting way too many characters on the canvas in the first few chapters. If you gave up after a few chapters, you missed out on a decent story. It also didn't help that we were introduced to so many diverse backgrounds; rich aristocrats, Southern woman, a Sicilian man of dubious background, Southern children, sick father, station master, journalist, a woman from New Orleans plus a host of various workers at Biltmore; many who were also foreigners!

It was a lot to handle but Kathleen Gati gave life to each character. This distinction allowed the listener to sort out these people and their personalities while moving the story forward.

Overall, the book overcame some uneven writing at the start to become a fairly interesting and entertaining historical fiction. I've listened to several books narrated by Ms. Gati and have truly enjoyed her interpretation of a wide range of characters and this book was no exception.

4 people found this helpful

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  • TW
  • 21-12-20

Love

An amazing depiction of our USA history. The characters lives were represented with great detail. You could almost see the hills, the landscape and feel the weather.
This book was well written!

2 people found this helpful

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  • Pamela, Iowa
  • 09-03-21

Imaginable and Enjoyable

I must be in the just-right group to have enjoyed this book, as not being from the South, I am not familiar with correct accents that others from the area might have noticed. Thus, I was not distracted by that, but instead I was impressed by the command of some difficult pronunciations.
However, at the same time, there was an intentional formality during the narration with sharp drawn out endings to each word that did get annoying on occasion. The narrator did a fine job with dialogue, usually getting the voices distinguishable enough, occasionally missing the mark, but not often. The voice of the narrator in between dialogue was what was hardest for me to listen to, but only at times.
Also, having visited Biltmore only once a few years back, I had enough visualization to understand the scenery described, but also enough room for my imagination to see the setting of Biltmore at a time it was a home, with a story inside its walls and peoples, instead of just a tourist destination.
There were times the story seemed a bit drawn out, and repetitions of sorts were there, but probably were needed since there were many characters to follow. Also I did need to rewind it here and there in order to be sure I understood who was saying or doing what.
So for the most part, this was a story that took you back in time with it, being easy to imagine and enjoy..

1 person found this helpful

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  • Arch
  • 08-03-21

looked forward to it, but...

I know Buncombe and surrounding countys' accents. My mother, who would be 104 years old now, was from that area, and I'm a southerner. Because of the narration, I could hardly get through the book. I certainly don't expect perfection, but it was just so wrong, so many accents, and so many characters right at the beginning. This may not be a fair assessment of the story because it was hard to wrap my head around the tale when the narration was killing me.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Marina_Jane
  • 18-01-21

intriguing story in a beautiful setting

Thoroughly enjoyed the cast of characters in this story. It felt like a little slice of history.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Becks
  • 02-01-22

Terrible Narration/Production

I had to bail on this audiobook. The sound quality is terrible. I changed headphones and switched from my phone to my laptop. There was still a crackling noise, and pair that with the narrates "juicy" mouth...it is a misophonia nightmare!

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  • Christy
  • 03-12-21

This one was tough for one narrator!

First of all, I enjoyed the book and thought it was pretty well done. Interesting story of the rise of the Biltmore estate and how it affected a lot of the locals at the time, many of whom sold their land to Vanderbilt. Our heroine’s family is one of those who don’t want to give up their farm.

There is one plotline that permeates the story about beliefs held by some people that foreigners (particularly non-whites, which at the time included Southern Europeans, such as Italians) needed to be eliminated from the country. This was one villainous character who was purportedly spreading these beliefs, apparently with some success. I knew that there were many people against immigration of a lot of different people at the time, including Irish, Italians, Chinese and Jewish, but did not know that there was a prevalence of beliefs in genetic purity (such as came about in Hitler’s Germany in the 1930’s) in 1895, when the story takes place. Don’t know if that portrayal is accurate, but considering what is going on in our country today, it wouldn’t surprise me.

The narrator had a monumental task, and succeeded pretty well with the number of accents she had to try to represent. There was Italian, Liverpool (not too good, but you did hear England), Scottish (not recognizable), New Orleans French, some kind of Southern (which was pretty consistent, even though it may not be accurate for the area), Boston Brahmin and New York society types (mostly trying to sound upper crust). She did have a few pronunciation problems, but when I can’t remember what words were mispronounced, I figure it wasn’t that bad.

I did find that a lot of the “country” sayings were awfully cliche (2 shakes of a lamb’s tail, etc.) and repeated more than necessary, but other than that, I enjoyed the story and most of the characters.

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  • S. Biggs
  • 12-11-21

Splendid Read!

I enjoyed being immersed in the read! Great character development plot? I plan to visit Biltmore next year!