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Download The Golden Willow: The Story of a Lifetime of Love Audiobook

Extended Audio Sample The Golden Willow: The Story of a Lifetime of Love Audiobook, by Harry Bernstein Click for printable size audiobook cover
3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (293 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Harry Bernstein Narrator: Mike Kellogg Publisher: Oasis Audio, LLC Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: April 2009 ISBN: 9781608145553
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“The golden willow was the first tree we had planted when we came here to live, and Ruby and I had good reason for doing that. Only it was a secret that we kept to ourselves.”

Harry Bernstein started chronicling his life at the age of ninety-four, after the death of his beloved wife, Ruby. In his first book, The Invisible Wall, he told a haunting story of forbidden love in World War I–era England. Then Bernstein wrote The Dream, the touching tale of his family’s immigrant experience in Depression-era Chicago and New York. Now Bernstein completes the saga with The Golden Willow, a heart-lifting memoir of his life with Ruby, a romance that lasted nearly seventy years.

They met at a dance at New York’s legendary Webster Hall, fell instantly and madly in love, and embarked on a rich and rewarding life together. From their first tiny rented room on the Upper West Side to their years in Greenwich Village, immersed in the art scene, surrounded by dancers, musicians, and writers, to their life in the newly burgeoning suburbs, Harry and Ruby pursued the American dream with gusto, much as Harry’s late mother would have wanted.

Together, through a depression, a world war, and the McCarthy era, through job losses and race riots and the joyous births of their two children, Harry and Ruby weathered much and shared an incredible love. But then the inevitable happened. One of them had to go first. When Ruby was ninety-one, she contracted leukemia and died. Alone for the first time in his life, Harry felt the loss acutely and terribly, and for a long while, despite continued good health, he was uncertain about whether he could go on without Ruby. It was then that he turned to the past for solace—and ended up fulfilling a lifelong dream of becoming a published author.

Delightful and hopeful, tender and moving, The Golden Willow is Harry’s tribute to his beloved Ruby, to their long, happy life together, to the impact her parting had on his heart and his soul, and to the surprises and unexpected pleasures that continue to await him.

Download and start listening now!

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Quotes & Awards

  • “This sweet, inspiring story illustrates the power of dreams and the everyday virtue of an average American family.” 

    Publishers Weekly

  • “Kellogg’s versatile range and vocal skills portray a marriage built on love and respect that grew deeper and richer with every passing year. The story also affirms that belief in oneself is important at any age.”

    AudioFile

  • “Mr. Bernstein’s success in writing may have come late in life, but his success in life began in 1935, the moment he met Ruby. The Golden Willow is a loving tribute to her. For those of us who fear old age, Mr. Bernstein’s memoir reminds us that even growing old has its own rewards. Writing this book is one of them. So is reading it.”

    Jane Juska, author of Unaccompanied Women

Listener Opinions

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Kristalyn | 2/19/2014

    " Beautiful! Read all three in the series - The Invisible Wall, The Dream, and then this book. Amazing story - would make a WONDERFUL movie or mini series. I want to meet Harry Bernstein and give him a big hug. I think he's still alive... "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Kathy | 2/13/2014

    " I liked this book. It was a slower read---I didn't have any problems putting down, but it was interesting. It was written by a man in his 90's, which is a rare thing. He had such an amazing relationship with his wife and I liked reading about their journey together. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Devon | 1/25/2014

    " This book was good but I can relate to another reviewer's review of one of his other books where they said that his writing didn't really evoke a lot of emotion out of the reader. The story was nice but the writing was pretty simple and I felt like he repeated a number of events to try and make it more passionate but it didn't really work (for me). I also didn't really feel like it was the story of their love but rather a story of his life before and after her death. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Dusk Junker | 1/10/2014

    " Probably a must read to finish off Harry's memoir, but it repeated too much and was quite sad. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Julie | 1/10/2014

    " A satisfying ending to the trilogy of books Harry Bernstein penned about his life and the love of his life, his wife Ruby. This book describes his 67 year marriage to Ruby, including her illness and subsequent death intertwined with his use of writing to help channel his grief. I am in awe that he published this book at the age of 99. What a remarkable man with a remarkable story to tell! "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Renie | 1/8/2014

    " I read this book only because it was written by an author who wrote his first book at the age of 90. He is now 99 and is working on his 3rd or 4th book. Largely a memoir, this book might hold the interest of someone who knows the author, but other than that, it was fairly boring. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Nicki R. | 1/6/2014

    " I really enjoyed all three memoirs (The Invisible Wall & The Dream preceded this one), but I found this one to be redundant with things that were covered in the other books. I also noticed redundancy of material within the book. Yet, it was great to read how the 'final' portion of his life played out. I fell in love with Harry Bernstein after reading the Invisible Wall (frankly, how could you not?) and I loved to read about how truly in love he was with his wife. I am still in absolute awe over the level of great writing and clarity that this man possesses as a nonagenarian. I look forward to reading more of his books in the future. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Kristi Lewis | 12/26/2013

    " I liked this..because I fell in love with Harry and I'm so pleased that he finally found love! This book was pretty slow but... worth reading the conclusion of The Invisible Wall! "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Mary Gilmartin | 12/23/2013

    " I feel "fortunate to have found" and read Harry Bernstein eloquent memoir. (It's one of those hardback book that somehow was left waiting for me to come along and purchase at a Borders Bookstore the last day they went out of business). Now, it stands proudly alongside my other books in my home library for me to re-read one day. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Pam Deppe | 12/21/2013

    " I didn't like this book as much as I did his other two books about his life. This seemed to jump around a bit like he was rambling. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Ellen | 11/4/2013

    " This is Bernstein's third memoir. Start with the first one "The Invisible Wall" if you haven't read it already. This one covers his lifelong love affair with his wife, his loss at her death, and finding redemption in his writing. I've enjoyed all three. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Marcy | 10/11/2013

    " Good book - not as great as his first two, but interesting if you read his first 2 books and are interested to know how he came to write them at age 95. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Madalyn | 10/8/2013

    " This was a good book of memoirs. True love. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Ann | 10/2/2013

    " Not as good as his first two books, but what do you expect, he was 99 when he wrote it. Sadly, I Googled Harry Bernstein after I finished the book and found out he had died two days before. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Julie | 9/28/2013

    " What a sweet reminisce of a very long and love filled life. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Heidi | 9/17/2013

    " This was a feel good, real life love story. I imagined my grandparents and thier lives together. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Kathi | 9/4/2013

    " Charming story of enduring love that lasts a lifetime. I've read Bernstein's previous books and thoroughly enjoyed them - especially The Invisible Wall, which was published when he was 96 (as a first time author.) What an inspiration! "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Karen Fiandaca | 6/22/2013

    " The third in a sries - continues to be fascinating but also some redundancy - looking forward to next posthumous 4th book about his sister Rose. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Amy | 5/27/2013

    " Liked the previous 2 books much better but still a good read. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Lisa | 1/9/2013

    " Last in the trilogy of his memoirs. I enjoyed it, but this final book had a different feel than the first two as it shifted back and forth between his last years with Ruby to his first (and then consecutive)years with her. It also repeated some of what was in the first two books. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Lynn | 12/13/2012

    " Absolutely loved this beautiful love story...touching, heartbreaking, simply lovely "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Janet Meissner | 10/15/2012

    " An incredible accomplishment for a nonagenarian. An eye to the future, when we, too, may live in retirement villages, lose our friends one by one, and our physical capabilities, bit by bit. However, I got a bit tired of him carrying on about how he was a published writer. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Marie | 9/21/2012

    " I really enjoyed this series of stories told by a 90 year old. If you liked Angela's Ashes these are a softer must read. The Golden Willow tends to repeat the stories told earlier but is still a good read. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Larry | 6/4/2012

    " Poignant love story --99 yr old author of Invisible Wall "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Corey | 5/21/2012

    " Yet another amazing story from Harry. This is the final "life story" of Harry's telling the tale of his beautiful and wonderful relationship with his wife. I highly recommend this story to anyone that's loved before or read his previous works. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Karin | 2/9/2012

    " Sort of blah. Not a ton of new material and written non-sequentially. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Sarah | 11/22/2011

    " love, love, love his first two books but could have done without this one. there isn't enough of the love story. as many of reviewers have stated the book tends to repeat many stories from the previous books. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Marni | 9/18/2011

    " Excellent!! Third of 3 books about the life of Harry Bernstein, written when he was 94! You must read An Invisible Bridge and The Dream before this one, which is a beautiful finale!! "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Bruno Di Virgilio | 4/29/2011

    " Gran libro, anche se il migliore resta sempre The invisible Wall. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Connie | 4/22/2011

    " I have loved the other books by Mr. Bernstein, especially "Invisible Wall." This was a little too much repetition from his earlier books. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Marie | 3/24/2011

    " I really enjoyed this series of stories told by a 90 year old. If you liked Angela's Ashes these are a softer must read. The Golden Willow tends to repeat the stories told earlier but is still a good read. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Connie | 2/22/2011

    " I have loved the other books by Mr. Bernstein, especially "Invisible Wall." This was a little too much repetition from his earlier books. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Ellen | 2/19/2011

    " This is Bernstein's third memoir. Start with the first one "The Invisible Wall" if you haven't read it already. This one covers his lifelong love affair with his wife, his loss at her death, and finding redemption in his writing. I've enjoyed all three. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Joan | 2/19/2011

    " I listened to this on audio and found it a very pleasant read aloud. We should all live to such an intellectually ripe old age. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Jennifer | 1/16/2011

    " I enjoyed his narrative a great deal. It was poignant and engrossing. There was a bit of repetition that could have been edited out. I will read his other books and hope that someone ultimately publishes the novel he wrote in his earlier years. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Sarah | 1/16/2011

    " love, love, love his first two books but could have done without this one. there isn't enough of the love story. as many of reviewers have stated the book tends to repeat many stories from the previous books. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Lynn | 7/31/2010

    " Absolutely loved this beautiful love story...touching, heartbreaking, simply lovely "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Renie | 7/11/2010

    " I read this book only because it was written by an author who wrote his first book at the age of 90. He is now 99 and is working on his 3rd or 4th book. Largely a memoir, this book might hold the interest of someone who knows the author, but other than that, it was fairly boring. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Lisa | 4/20/2010

    " Last in the trilogy of his memoirs. I enjoyed it, but this final book had a different feel than the first two as it shifted back and forth between his last years with Ruby to his first (and then consecutive)years with her. It also repeated some of what was in the first two books. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Karin | 2/15/2010

    " Sort of blah. Not a ton of new material and written non-sequentially. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Julie | 12/16/2009

    " What a sweet reminisce of a very long and love filled life. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Kitty Tomlinson | 12/11/2009

    " Third installment tells of Harry and his wife Ruby’s life together. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Dusk | 11/10/2009

    " Probably a must read to finish off Harry's memoir, but it repeated too much and was quite sad. "

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About the Author
Author Harry Bernstein

Harry Bernstein immigrated to the United States with his family after World War I. He has written all his life but started writing The Invisible Wall following the death of his wife Ruby. His second book, The Dream, was published in 2008. He lives in Brick, New Jersey.

About the Narrator

Mike Kellogg has been with the Moody Bible Institute for thirty-one years, helping produce Stories of Great ChristiansSugar Creek GangFables of Faith, and other dramatic and musical specials. For more than twenty years he has been the host of Music through the Night, an overnight Christian music program aimed to help listeners grow closer to Christ. He has narrated many titles over the years, both fiction and nonfiction, in addition to recording various books from the New and Old Testament.