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Extended Audio Sample The End of Always: A Novel, by Randi Davenport 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: Randi Davenport Narrator: Noelle Kayse Publisher: Hachette Book Group Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date:
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A stunning debut novel, The End of Always tells the story of one young woman’s struggle to rise above a vicious family legacy and take charge of her own life.

In 1907 Wisconsin, seventeen-year-old Marie Reehs is determined: She will not marry a violent man, as did her mother and grandmother before her. Day after day, Marie toils at the local laundry, watched by an older man who wants to claim her for his own. Night after night, she is haunted by the memory of her mother, who died in a mysterious accident to which her father was the only witness. She longs for an independent life, but her older sister wants nothing more than to maintain the family as it was, with its cruel rules and punishments. Her younger sister is too young to understand.

At first, it seems that Marie’s passionate love affair with a charismatic young man will lead her to freedom. But she soon realizes that she too may have inherited the Reehs women’s dark family curse.

Set in the lush woods and small towns of turn-of-the-century Wisconsin, and inspired by real events in the author’s family history, The End of Always is a transcendent story of one woman’s desperate efforts to escape a brutal heritage. Both enthralling and deeply lyrical, Randi Davenport’s novel is also an intensely affecting testament to the power of determination and hope, and a gripping reminder of our nation’s long love affair with violence.

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Quotes & Awards

  • “In a first novel as lyrical as it is harrowing, Davenport explores the darker side of the American dream and women’s exclusion from its freedoms…Davenport shapes her story—drawn from her own family history—with scrupulous patience, deftly juxtaposing striking images of the Midwestern landscape with evocations of Marie’s vivid inner world.”

    Publishers Weekly

  • “Evocative descriptions of the Wisconsin landscape and Marie’s intensely felt first love serve as a balance to the harsh reality of her life…A moving story with skillfully crafted characters, this book will appeal to those drawn to strong female characters, as well as readers of literary and American historical fiction.”

    Library Journal

  • “Like much of the rest of the nation, Waukesha, Wisconsin, in 1907 is not a fit place for a young girl to come of age. Poverty and violence abound and will prove to be a near-fatal combination for impressionable Marie Reehs…Based upon her own ancestry, Davenport’s deeply affecting historical novel of a courageous young woman’s struggle to survive in an overtly sexist time is both a sobering and stirring tribute to determination.”


  • “Set in Waukesha, Wis., at the turn of the twentieth century, this is a gritty yet hopeful tale about a young woman determined to escape her family’s legacy of abuse…Basing her story on true events, Davenport employs court documents, oral histories, and existing records to lend substance to a character who exemplifies the spirited determination of one young woman as she fights to overcome the belief that women are no more than chattel, to be treated as their menfolk see fit. It’s an accurate commentary about the times that, sadly, may still apply behind the closed doors of many households today.”

    Kirkus Reviews

  • “Extraordinary. A lament straight from the heart of young womanhood in early twentieth-century America. You can feel this story in your bones.”

    Amity Gaige, author of Schroder

  • Longlisted for the 2014 Flaherty-Dunnan First Novel Prize
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About the Author

Randi Davenport studied history and creative writing at William Smith College, where she received a BA, and earned both an MA in creative writing/fiction and a PhD in literature at Syracuse University. She has taught or served in administrative positions at Hobart and William Smith Colleges, Duke University, and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. She lives in Chapel Hill, North Carolina.