Download The Secret of Raven Point: A Novel Audiobook

The Secret of Raven Point: A Novel Audiobook, by Jennifer Vanderbes Extended Sample Click for printable size audiobook cover
Author: Jennifer Vanderbes Narrator: Susie Berneis Publisher: Dreamscape Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: February 2014 ISBN: 9781629234205
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From the award-winning writer of Easter Island, hailed by People magazine as a “rich and worldly first novel,” comes a powerful story of love, loss, and redemption amidst the ruins of war-torn Italy.

1943. When seventeen-year-old Juliet Dufresne receives a cryptic letter from her enlisted older brother pleading for help and then finds out he’s been reported missing overseas, she lies about her age and volunteers as an army nurse to find him.

Shy and awkward, Juliet is thrust into the bloody chaos of a field hospital, living in a sprawling encampment north of Rome where she forges new friendships with her fellow nurses and is increasingly consumed by the plight of her patients. One in particular, Christopher Barnaby, a deserter awaiting court martial, may hold the answer to her brother’s fate—but the trauma of war has left him unable to speak. Racing against the clock, Juliet works with an enigmatic young psychiatrist, Henry Willard, to heal Barnaby’s psychic wound before the authorities take him away and any clues as to her brother’s fate are forever lost. Plunged into the horrifying depths of one man’s combat memories, Juliet and Willard are forced to plumb the moral nuances of a so-called just war and to face the dangers of their own deepening connection.

Reminiscent of Pat Barker’s Regeneration, The Secret of Raven Point is a war saga capturing the experiences of soldiers after the battles have ended. And as few novels have done, it depicts the ravages of war through the eyes of a young woman.

In luminous prose, Vanderbes tells the story of one girl’s fierce determination to find her brother as she comes of age in a time of unrelenting violence. The Secret of Raven Point is historical fiction at its best, haunting, heartbreaking, and ultimately uplifting.

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Quotes & Awards

  • The Secret of Raven Point is strikingly vivid, tackling war’s moral ambiguities from the open-eyed perspective of a young American woman on the cusp of adulthood…Vanderbes’s unputdownable third novel…finds contemporary resonance in classic themes of humanity and loyalty tested by extremes…[Juliet is] her most indelible character to date.”


  • “Two separate mysteries create and maintain suspense throughout this gripping World War II coming-of-age novel.”

    New York Times

  • “Fresh, compelling…War gives men and women a chance to become monsters or heroes, and Vanderbes finds her footing exploring these two extremes…[Juliet] is a companionable protagonist…She emerges from the experience as someone altered yet not conquered by war.”

    Washington Post

  • “[A] gripping World War II coming-of-age novel…The solutions to the central mysteries, revealed slowly, are unsettling in their perverse specificity, yet certain aspects of them remain ultimately unknowable. To her credit, Vanderbes doesn’t try to make entirely comprehensible the disturbing actions men may take in the midst of war.”

    New York Times Book Review

  • The Secret of Raven Point at first seems to be the mystery of a young man gone missing in World War II, but as the pages begin to fly by, the layers become deeper…This novel had me wrapped in the lives of the couple, who endure much personal loss and yet manage to find humanity in the darkest of times. Definitely one of my favorite reads of the year.”

    Historical Novels Review

  • “A touching tale of a sister’s love for her brother, but the underlying themes are much deeper. Readers will fall in love with the delightful Juliet, who is a smart and courageous heroine, and other hospital workers as they form friendships and struggle to accept tragedy and loss while treating their patients’ physical and mental wounds…The only disappointing thing about this book is that it has to end.”

    Library Journal (starred review)

  • “Part mystery, part coming-of-age tale, part World War II novel, Vanderbes’…moving latest…is an empathetic, oblique take on the layers of damage done during war…Unusual and affecting.”

    Kirkus Reviews

  • “Vanderbes graphically depicts the gruesome nature of battlefield injuries, both to the body and to the psyche, even as she shows Juliet’s courage and strength. The skillful Vanderbes’ aching depiction of Juliet’s struggle to maintain her humanity amid the army’s callous bureaucracy and the horrors of war works as both an homage to our armed forces and a moving personal story of emotional growth.”


  • “The time, 1943; the place, an Italian field hospital at the front; the characters, unforgettable as performed by Susie Berneis. She narrates this story of loss and healing with passion and poise. Juliet Dufresne, a seventeen-year-old American nurse, searches for her missing brother, Tucker, while treating patients wounded and traumatized by war. Dr. Henry Willard, a psychiatrist, studies those hurt and battle fatigued, particularly Christopher Branaby (who served with Tucker) as he seeks to heal them. Berneis performs this complex story with inflected tones that match the emotions of each scene. Accents range from soft Southern vowels to hard New England cadences, each perfectly matched to the character. Berneis never misses a shift in action, drawing the listener inexorably into the story. Winner of an AudioFile Earphones Award.”


  • Winner of an AudioFile Earphones Award
  • Selected for the February 2014 Indie Next List

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About the Author

Jennifer Vanderbes is the author of the novels Easter Island and Strangers at the Feast, and she is the recipient of numerous awards, including a Guggenheim Fellowship and a New York Public Library Cullman Fellowship. Her writing has appeared in the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, the Washington Post, and Granta and has been translated into sixteen languages. She lives in New York City with her daughter.

About the Narrator

Susie Berneis is a professional voice-over artist. She has a BA in English and theater from the University of Michigan and more than twenty years of community theater experience. Her audiobook narrations include The Secret of Raven Point by Jennifer Vanderbes, which won an AudioFile Earphones Award in 2014.