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Extended Audio Sample Unfinished Desires: A Novel, by Gail Godwin Click for printable size audiobook cover
3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (880 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Gail Godwin Narrator: Kimberly Farr Publisher: Penguin Random House Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date:
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From Gail Godwin, three-time National Book Award finalist and acclaimed New York Times bestselling author of Evensong and The Finishing School, comes a sweeping new novel of friendship, loyalty, rivalries, redemption, and memory.

It is the fall of 1951 at Mount St. Gabriel’s, an all-girls school tucked away in the mountains of North Carolina. Tildy Stratton, the undisputed queen bee of her class, befriends Chloe Starnes, a new student recently orphaned by the untimely and mysterious death of her mother. Their friendship fills a void for both girls but also sets in motion a chain of events that will profoundly affect the course of many lives, including the girls’ young teacher and the school’s matriarch, Mother Suzanne Ravenel.

Fifty years on, the headmistress relives one pivotal night, trying to reconcile past and present, reaching back even further to her own senior year at the school, where the roots of a tragedy are buried.

In Unfinished Desires, a beloved author delivers a gorgeous new novel in which thwarted desires are passed on for generations—and captures the rare moment when a soul breaks free.

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Quotes & Awards

  • “Godwin captures brilliantly the subtleties of friendships between teenage girls, their ambivalence toward religion, and their momentous struggle to define people—especially themselves.”

    Publishers Weekly

  • “A strong story populated by a host of memorable characters—smart, satisfying fiction, one of the author’s best in years.”

    Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

  • “Reserved yet powerful…Godwin has created several deeply affecting characters.”

    New York Times

  • A 2010 Washington Post Best Book for Fiction
  • An Indie Next Notable Title, January 2010

Listener Opinions

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 by Frances Wood | 1/22/2014

    " Okay - so many things that I like! A Catholic girls school, in a fictionalized Asheville NC, historical as well as physical setting, multiple voices, characters developed in depth. This book may not be to everyone's taste, but I liked it, a lot. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 by Ellen | 1/21/2014

    " Despite its sensationalist-sounding title, Unfinished Desires is a solid, thoughtful novel about power, control, adversaries and friends in a Catholic school in North Carolina in the early 1950s. Godwin does a good job traversing time and intertwining the lives of the characters, adding dimension and sympathy for all. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 by Rachel | 1/13/2014

    " Double story told in flashbacks and in the present of drama among high school girls and head of a Catholic girls boarding school. I was never that interested in any of the characters- tedious read. Unless you have an interest in Catholic boarding schools and nuns. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 by Rita Andres | 12/7/2013

    " I enjoyed this book, although many of my friends found it hard to get through the first 100 pages. The relationship between the girls at the Catholic boarding school and their teachers (Sisters) was the best part. I loved the end of the story. It is always great to find out what eventually happens to our classmates. But, don't look ahead! "

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