In 1958, a rumble goes down outside the brand-new high school in Honeyville, Texas. Chaos ensues, a life is lost, and Johnny Kinross disappears. But in 2010, someone finds him. Orphaned at the age of 10, 17-year-old Maggie O'Bannon finally finds a permanent home with her elderly aunt in a small Texas town. Working part-time as a school janitor, she becomes enmeshed in a 50-year-old tragedy where nothing is as it seems and the boy of her dreams might vanish when the bell rings.
This volatile and mismatched romance is doomed from its start, as Maggie struggles to hold on to yet another person she is destined to lose. Secret love and hushed affection are threatened by outside forces, resulting in a desperate race to keep a secret no one would understand. Deeply romantic, funny, and tender, Slow Dance in Purgatory captures the heartache of a love story where a happy ending might be decades too late.
When I received the audio version of Slow Dance in Purgatory (Purgatory Series) by Amy Harmon, I set aside time each evening to be able to just sit and listen to the narrator, Emily Woo Zeller. When the story begins, the reader is brought back in time when DooWhop and bobbie socks were still cool. As the narrator started to describe Johnny and his brother, Billy, all I could envision is the movie Grease. The narrator was able to convey the feelings back then of rumbles and teenage angst.
Then Johnny’s world is shattered in moments and changed forever.
The story then switches to the present and the reader is introduced to Maggie, an orphaned teenager, living with her aunt who is struggling to keep the small family together. Ms Harmon was able to bring me into Maggie’s world, making me care for her aunt, a friend named Shad and Gus the janitor.
When Maggie and Johnny’s world collide, the story becomes so interesting it was very hard to stop. I adored the connection the two have and was desperate to hear each encounter, feeling all the pain and love that developed because of their situation. He is caught in a purgatory of sorts and she is caught in her own purgatory here on earth.
The story develops into a wonderful paranormal romance with enough twists and turns to keep the reader guessing. Both Johnny and Maggie teach each other how to survive in their situation. If only the rest of the world would allow them to be happy!
I loved the story line and Ms. Harmon’s story telling immensely. My only issue was at the end of the story. I wanted more! I was cheering, crying and astonished with a surprise twist!! ( I promised not to tell!) I look forward to reading the next book in the series!
As for the narrator, I liked her ability to change voices for each character and stay in character, as the dialogue changed. I was able to keep track of all the characters based on the change of inflection from the narrator. There were only a few times that I struggled to identify characters.
This is my first audio version of a book and I was thrilled with the experience. I will definitely be more willing to search out the audio versions of books, thanks to this experience with Slow Dance in Purgatory!
NARRATED BY: EMILY WOO ZELLER
LENGTH: 7 HRS AND 27 MINS
SERIES: PURGATORY, BOOK 1
RELEASE DATE: 3/11/2014
PUBLISHER: TANTOR AUDIO