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Extended Audio Sample Dollbaby: A Novel Audiobook, by Laura Lane McNeal Click for printable size audiobook cover
0 out of 50 out of 50 out of 50 out of 50 out of 5 0.00 (0 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Laura Lane McNeal Narrator: January LaVoy Publisher: Penguin Random House Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: July 2014 ISBN: 9780698171565
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A big-hearted coming-of-age debut set in civil rights-era New Orleans—a novel of Southern eccentricity and secrets
 
When Ibby Bell’s father dies unexpectedly in the summer of 1964, her mother unceremoniously deposits Ibby with her eccentric grandmother Fannie and throws in her father’s urn for good measure. Fannie’s New Orleans house is like no place Ibby has ever been—and Fannie, who has a tendency to end up in the local asylum—is like no one she has ever met. Fortunately, Fannie’s black cook, Queenie, and her smart-mouthed daughter, Dollbaby, take it upon themselves to initiate Ibby into the ways of the South, both its grand traditions and its darkest secrets.
 
For Fannie’s own family history is fraught with tragedy, hidden behind the closed rooms in her ornate Uptown mansion. It will take Ibby’s arrival to begin to unlock the mysteries there. And it will take Queenie and Dollbaby’s hard-won wisdom to show Ibby that family can sometimes be found in the least expected places.
 
For fans of Saving CeeCee Honeycutt and The Help, Dollbaby brings to life the charm and unrest of 1960s New Orleans through the eyes of a young girl learning to understand race for the first time.
 
By turns uplifting and funny, poignant and full of verve, Dollbaby is a novel readers will take to their hearts. Download and start listening now!

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Quotes & Awards

  • In this tender coming-of-age novel, McNeal brings to life a place, an era, and an amazing cast of strong, larger-than-life characters. Heartrending, captivating, and ultimately, triumphant. Cassandra KingNew York Times bestselling author of Moonrise
  • McNeal’s Dollbaby is such an impressive debut—a powerful roux of family drama, long-simmering secrets and resentments, and ultimately, forgiveness and redemption. Deeply evocative, with memorable characters, Dollbaby belongs on the keeper shelf along with The Help and The Secret Life of Bees. Mary Kay AndrewsNew York Times bestselling author of Ladies' Night
  • Deeply southern and evocative, Laura Lane McNeal’s beautifully written debut, Dollbaby, takes us back to a not-so-long ago time when we were learning to look through different eyes at the fabric of our society, race, youth and family. Susan Crandall, author of Whistling Past the Graveyard
  • This flavorful and enthralling novel brilliantly captures New Orleans during the civil rights era. It's a deeply personal tale about growing up and searching for family as well as a provocative exploration of race and kinship. I found it both thrilling and poignant. Walter IsaacsonNew York Times bestselling author of Steve Jobs
  • A vivid portrayal of post-war New Orleans, lush and evocative in its descriptions, McNeal’s unique voice shines through surprising and pleasing the reader. Library Journal (starred review)
  • A touching coming-of-age story that is sincere and poignant. Booklist
  • “McNeal’s Dollbaby is such an impressive debut—a powerful roux of family drama, long-simmering secrets, and resentments and, ultimately, forgiveness and redemption. Deeply evocative, with memorable characters, Dollbaby belongs on the keeper shelf along with The Help and The Secret Life of Bees.”

    Mary Kay Andrews, New York Times bestselling author of Ladies' Night

  • “This flavorful and enthralling novel brilliantly captures New Orleans during the civil-rights era. It’s a deeply personal tale about growing up and searching for family as well as a provocative exploration of race and kinship. I found it both thrilling and poignant.”

    Walter Isaacson, New York Times bestselling author of Steve Jobs

  • “Bursting with believable conflict and lovable characters, along with a lush and evocative portrait of the Crescent City during the civil rights era, this debut novel marks the arrival of an original and assured writer.”

    Library Journal (starred review)

  • “A touching coming-of-age story that is sincere and poignant.”

    Booklist

  • “In the vein of Saving CeeCee Honeycutt and The Help, McNeal’s touching coming-of-age tale brings to life civil rights–era New Orleans…Rich characterization makes McNeal’s debut a lovely summer read.”

    Kirkus Reviews

  • “A sassy new Southern voice. Laura Lane McNeal’s debut novel is a gift to readers who long for an iced tea sipping, front porch swing kind of escape…However, Dollbaby is not just a lighthearted Southern novel; it’s also an exploration of the racial and political unrest of the 1960s. McNeal artfully uses the views of both white and black characters to capture an accurate snapshot of the social unrest in New Orleans. McNeal’s witty prose and expertise on all things New Orleans will enrapture readers of The Help and Divine Secrets of the Ya Ya Sisterhood.”

    BookPage

  • “In 1964, Liberty Alice Bell (known an Ibby) is dumped on the doorstep of her grandmother’s New Orleans mansion, where she’s mostly raised by the black housekeeper, Queenie. With wonderful accents and piquant personalities, narrator January Lavoy revels in the black characters—Queenie; her husband; her daughter, Dollbaby; and her grandchild. There’s little of the region in the other characters, but Lavoy keeps the pace lively and engaging. As Ibby matures from age twelve to a young woman, Lavoy voices her transformation and her understated involvement in the Civil Rights events of the era. The tone of self-discovery is maintained as Ibby learns surprising things about her birth family.”

    AudioFile

  • A July 2014 LibraryReads Pick
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About the Author

Laura Lane McNeal grew up amid the savage heat and humidity of New Orleans where even the impending threat of a hurricane never stopped any excuse for a parade. After receiving two undergraduate degrees from Southern Methodist University, she went on to earn an MBA from Tulane University. She spent most of her career in advertising, working for firms in New York and Dallas, before returning to New Orleans where she started her own marketing consulting firm and became a freelance writer as well as a decorative artist. The devastation of Katrina is what finally led her to fulfill her lifetime dream of becoming a writer. Laura presently resides in New Orleans and is married, with two sons and two terriers.

About the Narrator

January LaVoy, winner of numerous Earphones Awards for narration, is an American actress best known for her character Noelle Ortiz on the ABC daytime drama One Life to Live. In addition to working extensively in narration and television, including roles on Law & Order and All My Children, she has worked on and off Broadway as well as in regional theater.