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Extended Audio Sample Lazaretto: A Novel Audiobook, by Diane McKinney-Whetstone 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: Diane McKinney-Whetstone Narrator: Adenrele Ojo Publisher: HarperCollins Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: April 2016 ISBN: 9780062455574
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Diane McKinney-Whetstone’s nationally bestselling novel Tumbling immersed us into Philadelphia’s black community during the Civil Rights era, and she returns to the city in this new historical novel about a cast of nineteenth-century characters whose colorful lives intersect at the legendary Lazaretto—America’s first quarantine hospital.

Isolated on an island where two rivers meet, the Lazaretto quarantine hospital is the first stop for immigrants who wish to begin new lives in Philadelphia. The Lazaretto’s black live-in staff forge a strong social community, and when one of them receives permission to get married on the island the mood is one of celebration, particularly since the white staff—save the opium-addicted doctor—are given leave for the weekend. On the eve of the ceremony, a gunshot rings out across the river. A white man has fired at a boat carrying the couple’s friends and family to the island, and the captain is injured. His life lies in the hands of Sylvia, the Lazaretto’s head nurse, who is shocked to realize she knows the patient.

Intertwined with the drama unfolding at the Lazaretto are the fates of orphan brothers. When one brother commits a crime to protect the other, he imperils both of their lives—and the consequences ultimately deliver both of them to the Lazaretto.

In this masterful work of historical fiction, Diane McKinney-Whetstone seamlessly transports us to Philadelphia in the aftermath of the Civil War and Lincoln’s assassination, beautifully evoking powerful stories of love, friendship, and humanity amid the vibrant black community that flourished amid the troubled times.

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Quotes & Awards

  • “A perfect book for the end of the Obama era…Incredibly daring.”

    Washington Post

  • “As in any Diane McKinney–Whetstone novel, there is love in all of its many facets and dimensions. The author shows that good writing is like a fine bottle of wine–it just gets better with time.”


  • “Vibrant…Completely engaging…A unique blend of poetic language and graphic depictions of the injustices suffered by African Americans in the post–Civil War period.”

    Booklist (starred review)

  • “Readers of Lalita Tademy will embrace the vibrant characters in McKinney-Whetstone’s unforgettable novel.”

    Library Journal

  • “Language sings throughout the whole of McKinney-Whetstone’s writing…A sophisticated and compelling novel that comes alive through a rich cavalcade of vibrant characters and a suspenseful plot.”

    Kirkus Reviews

  • “Adenrele Ojo narrates with precision. Each word, every sentence is enunciated with care, drawing out the story to echo in listeners’ ears…. Ojo delivers the scenes with exquisite tones that include dialogue in dialect.”


  • On the New York Post’s “Required Reading” List
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About the Author
Author Diane McKinney-Whetstone

The author of the critically acclaimed novels Tumbling, Tempest Rising, Blues Dancing, Leaving Cecil Street, and Trading Dreams at Midnight, Diane McKinney-Whetstone is the recipient of numerous awards, including the Black Caucus of the American Library Association’s Literary Award for Fiction, which she won twice. She lives in Philadelphia with her husband. For more on Diane McKinney-Whetstone please visit www.mckinney-whetstone.com or follow her on Twitter @Dianemckwh.

About the Narrator

Adenrele Ojo is an actress, dancer, and audiobook narrator, winner of over a dozen AudioFile Earphones Awards for narration. She made her onscreen debut in My Little Girl, starring Jennifer Lopez, and has since starred in several other films. She has also performed extensively with the Philadelphia Dance Company. As the daughter of John E. Allen, Jr., founder and artistic director of Freedom Theatre, the oldest African American theater in Pennsylvania, is no stranger to the stage. In 2010 she performed in the Fountain Theatre’s production of The Ballad of Emmett Till, which won the 2010 LA Stage Alliance Ovation Award and the Los Angeles Drama Critics Award for Best Ensemble. Other plays include August Wilson’s Jitney and Freedom Theatre’s own Black Nativity, where she played Mary.