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Download The Children's Crusade: A Novel Audiobook

Extended Audio Sample The Childrens Crusade: A Novel, by Ann Packer 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: Ann Packer Narrator: Cotter Smith, Santino Fontana, Marin Ireland, Thomas Sadoski, Frederick Weller Publisher: Simon & Schuster Audio Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date:
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From the New York Times bestselling, award-winning author of The Dive From Clausen’s Pier comes a sweeping, masterful new novel that explores the secrets and desires, the remnant wounds and saving graces of one California family, over the course of five decades.

Bill Blair finds the land by accident, three wooded acres in a rustic community south of San Francisco. The year is 1954, long before anyone will call this area Silicon Valley. Struck by a vision of the family he has yet to create, Bill buys the property on a whim. In Penny Greenway he finds a suitable wife, a woman whose yearning attitude toward life seems compelling and answerable, and they marry and have four children. Yet Penny is a mercurial housewife, at a time when women chafed at the conventions imposed on them. She finds salvation in art, but the cost is high.

Thirty years later, the three oldest Blair children, adults now and still living near the family home, are disrupted by the return of the youngest, whose sudden presence and all-too-familiar troubles force a reckoning with who they are, separately and together, and set off a struggle over the family’s future. One by one, the siblings take turns telling the story—Robert, a doctor like their father; Rebecca, a psychiatrist; Ryan, a schoolteacher; and James, the malcontent, problem child—the only one who hasn’t settled down—their narratives interwoven with portraits of the family at crucial points in their history.

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Quotes & Awards

  • “In The Children’s Crusade, Ann Packer flawlessly executes the most daring, difficult, and exhilarating feat in the novelist’s repertoire: to re-create the history of an era and a place through the history of one family…pulling it off with mastery.”

    Michael Chabon, Pulitzer Prize–winning author of The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay

  • “A tour de force family drama…An engrossing saga… Packer brilliantly constructs the siblings’ narratives with both an appealing lightness and an arresting gravitas…Packer’s golden touch makes us care deeply for this memorable tribe.”


  • “Tender, absorbing… Packer has great compassion for her characters, with their ancient injuries, their blundering desires. The way she tangles their perspectives perfectly, painfully captures the tumult of selves within a family.”


  • “An artful portrait of a California family.”

    Vanity Fair

  • “If Robert, Ryan, Rebecca, and James are the storytellers here, it is their mother Penny who is the heart of the book…In vigilant detail, Packer chronicles the seemingly tiny ways that personal needs and memories from childhood make us the people we can’t help but be for the rest of our lives.”

    Amazon.com, editorial review

  • “Packer offers a flawless, compassionate portrayal of each family member at both their best and worst and shows what a strong hold the past has on the present. Literary fiction at its finest. Highly recommended.”

    Library Journal (starred review)

  • “A quiet novel with unexpected power…This wise and emotionally resonant story captures the long-rippling effects of family relationships.”


  • “Told in the most elegant prose…extraordinarily compassionate…A masterful portrait of indelible family bonds.”

    Booklist (starred review)

  • “Packer is an expert at complicated relationships…Beautifully precise prose… A marvelously absorbing novel.”

    Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

  • “This audiobook is expansive in its narrative voices as well as its narrative scope…Cotter Smith et al. are expressive narrators as the novel’s points of view shift from chapter to chapter. As each narrator portrays one of the Blair siblings, their individual voices blend beautifully with those of the surrounding chapters, creating a true familial effect. The strong quality in each voice not only provides aural unity but also propels the listener forward. Flawlessly paced and produced, this is an outstanding listen. Winner of the AudioFile Earphones Award.”


  • “A coming-of-age tale of family as well as an American pastoral; the language is beautiful, painterly…Ann Packer’s eye for detail, her genius at evoking an era with such faithfulness, and her mastery of story make us identify with and deeply care for her characters.”

    Abraham Verghese, author of Cutting for Stone

  • “In shimmering prose and with exceptional wisdom, Ann Packer examines the life of a California family, laying bare the relationships between brother and sister, parent and child, while at the same time revealing the ways in which the past casts both shadow and light on the present.”

    Christina Baker Kline, author of Orphan Train

  • An Amazon Best Book of the Month for April 2015
  • A BookPage Top Pick in Literary Fiction for April 2015
  • A New York Times Editor’s Choice
  • Winner of an AudioFile Earphones Award
  • A People Magazine Best Book of 2015
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