She’s Up to No Good by Sara Goodman Confino
Narrated by Holly Linneman
Women’s Fiction, Contemporary Romance, Historical Romance. Stands alone.
She’s Up to No Good by Sara Goodman Confino has a lot of super high ratings both on Amazon and Goodreads, and it sounded really cool to have a dual timeline story. The audiobook was included in Kindle Unlimited so I grabbed it, wanting so much to love it.
After 4 years of marriage, Jenna’s husband just packed up and left her. Devastated, she moved home with her parents and became stagnant. When her 89-year-old grandmother Evelyn says she wants to take a road trip to where she grew up in Massachusetts, Jenna, knowing the spunky old lady is too old to do the long drive, volunteers to drive her. Along the way, Evelyn starts telling the story of her first love, Tony.
We don’t know why she is telling the story. We don’t know why she is going on this trip. Evelyn is holding something back the whole book and you don’t know what it is. She came from a strict, old-fashioned Jewish family. This was in the 50s, and Evelyn fell in love with a Portuguese boy, something her parents would never accept. They were in Massachusetts and all of the flashback scenes of Evelyn’s life were narrated with a fake Boston accent, so I think that definitely took away some of my enjoyment of the book, but it did help differentiate between past and present. Without the accent, this would have been my favorite part of the book.
In the present, Jenna is being set up with Tony’s great-nephew. He is showing her all of the sights of the seaside town, so we get the story of two romances—Jenna’s in the present, and Evelyn’s forbidden one from 70 years ago. I actually loved both stories, but OMG, I felt like this book went on forever. Maybe because you never know the full story of why they are on the trip until the end, maybe it’s the telling of two stories, but I felt like at least 3 hours could have been cut from this book and it would have been so much better!
You never have any full scenes—Evelyn has her own way of telling her story, and the back and forth from Evelyn’s past to Jenna’s present would switch just when it was getting interesting. It ended up making it seem way too long for me. There was tons of foreshadowing but then it was all wrapped up very quickly in the last 45 minutes.
“Life is complicated and messy for everyone. It took me a long time to learn that lesson.”
- I absolutely loved Evelyn’s antics, especially now as an old lady.
- The use of first person for the current timeline and third person for the past.
- I loved the historical forbidden romance story.
- The actual stories were great.
- Some funny moments.
- I hated the whole thing of Evelyn not telling the purpose of the trip and doling out the story in dribs and drabs.
- I feel like 3 hours could have been cut from this book and the only thing you’d lose is frustration.
- The pacing was off. It dragged a lot in the middle then wrapped up too quickly.
- It’s never really explained why Jenna never met all the family that she could remember.
- The bad Boston accent.
- I had a love/hate relationship with young Evelyn, she was spunky and brazen yet selfish and self-centered.
This is tough to narrate alone. There are a lot of characters and two timelines. I liked the way it was Jenna in first person for the present, but third person for the scenes in the past. Holly Linneman did a great job with all of the voices and I like her narration EXCEPT for the Boston accent, which really kind of ruined the audiobook for me. This is one book I would read instead of listen to. It was also hard to tell immediately which timeline you were in with one narrator.
The Down & Dirty:
Rating: 3 Stars, 0 Heat, 3.5 Narration
Purchase She’s Up To No Good by Sara Goodman Confino
Both the book and Audiobook are FREE in Kindle Unlimited