From Goodreads: ” Chris Whitaker’s We Begin at the End looks at families—the ones we are born into and the ones we create.
Right. Wrong. Life is lived somewhere in between.
Duchess Day Radley is a thirteen-year-old self-proclaimed outlaw. Rules are for other people. At school the other kids make fun of her—her clothes are torn, her hair a mess. But let them throw their sticks, because she’ll throw stones. Duchess might be a badass, but she’s really just trying to survive. She is the fierce protector of her five-year-old brother, Robin. She is the parent to her mother, Star, a single mom incapable of taking care of herself, let alone her two kids.
Walk has never left the coastal California town where he and Star grew up. He’s the chief of police, trying to keep Cape Haven, with its beautiful bluffs overlooking the sea, not only safe, but safe from becoming a cookie-cutter tourist destination for the rich. But he’s still trying to heal the old wound of having given the testimony that sent his best friend, Vincent King, to prison decades before. And he’s in overdrive protecting Duchess and her brother as their mother slides deeper into self-destruction.
Now, thirty years later, Vincent is being released. As soon as he steps one foot back into his childhood town, trouble arrives. It shows up on Walk’s and Duchess’s doorsteps, and they will be unable to do anything but usher it in, arms wide closed.
Duchess and Walk—and everyone they love and whose hearts they break, who deserve so much more than life serves them—will sear your heart in this extraordinary novel.“
Wow what an amazing book! It was the perfect book to buddy read with Yvo @ It’s all About Books. It’s given me a book hangover, that’s still making me think about the characters, what they’re doing now and what’s going to happen to them in the future! I feel like I don’t want to start another book as I don’t want to leave them behind. In fact I could listen to this all over again right now!
I must admit when I first starting listening to this audiobook I was rather confused as there was no introduction to the characters or the town. It left me a bit unsettled wondering what all the hype was all about. Fortunately it wasn’t just me as Yvo felt the same way reading a kindle version. However, as I kept listening and the plot developed, I became very attached to the characters, and could see why so many book bloggers had raved about it. I’m keeping this review very vague as it’s best to go into this book blind, otherwise it will definitely spoil your enjoyment of it.
I felt so much for Duchess and her brother Robin and Walk too. They became more than characters in a book to me, they felt like real people who I could see in my mind’s eye as I was listening. In fact I realised how real they felt when I was standing in Waitrose the other day worrying about them and whether they were going to be okay! Now that’s the sign of a good book!
This was such an emotional listen, and as the plot got tenser and tenser towards the end I knew I wouldn’t be able to stay at home and just listen. I needed to be doing something so I drove out to the other side of the island on an errand, so that I wouldn’t be overwhelmed by the story. I didn’t cry but I did have moist eyes, which is pretty good for me!
George Newbern’s narration was absolutely perfect for this audiobook. He became Duchess, Robin, Walk, Vincent, Hal, Martha, Dolly and Thomas etc. He made this such a brilliant listening experience for me, bringing the whole story alive. He’s a new- to- me narrator even though he has over 200 audiobooks available on audible! I’m not sure I want to listen to anything else narrated by him as I want to remember him as the voice of Duchess Day Radley, Outlaw!
As if you hadn’t guessed, I highly recommend this audiobook if you enjoy character driven thrillers and mysteries.
Thanks so much to Zaffre for my digital copy via the titleShare app.