Author: Sheila Turnage
Publisher: Penguin Audio
Copyright Date: August 2, 2012
Number of discs: 7
Narrated by: Michal Friedman
Genre: YA Fiction
Book Rating: A
Audio Performance Rating: A
From the publisher:
Rising sixth grader Miss Moses LoBeau lives in the small town of Tupelo Landing, NC, where everyone’s business is fair game and no secret is sacred. She washed ashore in a hurricane eleven years ago, and she’s been making waves ever since. Although Mo hopes someday to find her “upstream mother,” she’s found a home with the Colonel–a café owner with a forgotten past of his own–and Miss Lana, the fabulous café hostess. She will protect those she loves with every bit of her strong will and tough attitude. So when a lawman comes to town asking about a murder, Mo and her best friend, Dale Earnhardt Johnson III, set out to uncover the truth in hopes of saving the only family Mo has ever known.
Full of wisdom, humor, and grit, this timeless yarn will melt the heart of even the sternest Yankee.
I love Mo LoBeau. Love, love, love her. She is all the things good heroines ought to be: smart, loyal, funny, loving, determined and flawed. So flawed, but deliciously so. Her hang-ups are understandable. After all, it seems like someone might have taken the trouble to look for her after she washed away in a hurricane only to come ashore in Tupelo Landing. But even as she desires to know her “upstream mother,” Mo still manages to enjoy her life with the Colonel and Miss Lana, and with Dale as her best friend and Dale’s unfortunately named older brother Lavender, as her most-definitely future husband (he’s ten years older, but Mo is willing to wait), Mo may be the luckiest girl in the world.
Turnage has created some of the liveliest, most wonderful characters I’ve read in a long time. True, some of them are dangerously close to stereotypes: the town drunk with a mean streak a mile wide; the jovial well-intentioned mayor; Tupelo Landing’s version of the Red Hat ladies. She more than makes up for it with Mo and Dale and the Colonel and Miss Lana. And her Southern ladies, look to Miss Rose for a classic example, are pure steel with a sweet honey coating-all sweet tea and biscuits served with impeccable manners and very good breeding. It’s a cozy mystery for the grade school set with enough punch to delight the grown-ups, too.
The Audio Performance:
Michal Friedman beautifully captured Mo’s strangely wise childlike voice without sacrificing the characterization of the adults in Tupelo Landing. Side note, the press release accompanying the audio book stated that Ms. Friedman passed away not long after completing this project. That knowledge made listening to her performance a rather haunting experience. She’s a skilled enough performer that it wasn’t constantly in the back of my mind, but every now then the knowledge would jar itself to the forefront and, no doubt, it affected my perception of the audio book. Though made of tough stuff, there’s also an underlying fragility to Mo, a desperate desire to live life to the fullest and embrace every crazy thing Tupelo Landing has to offer. That fragility was brought home as I listened to Friedman verbalize Mo’s inner monologue. Not a bad legacy to leave behind.
Bottom Line: A new old-fashioned Southern style cozy from a delightful writer.
Full Disclosure: I received my free review copy from Penguin Audio. I received no compensation for this review, and the thoughts/opinions expressed are entirely my own. Three Times Lucky is available in stores now in book and electronic book format, as well as audio!