The Phoenix Syndrome

Claire Gem,
Narrator: Sharon Cline

CONTEMPORARY/WOMEN'S FICTION:  Tristan Allard is the drummer for the progressive metal band, Dreamwish.  His wife died of cancer several years earlier, and they perform a benefit concert in her honour each year on the day she died. She was his muse, and he doubts his ability to write music now.  He is lonely and ready for a relationship.  Lannie Marvin gave up her dream of becoming a pianist/composer 22 years ago when she became pregnant with her son.  She is still trying to bring that dream back to life, when a mouse being treated with an experimental drug bites her.  This is shortly after she has a horrible 40th birthday, and discovers that her husband is leaving her.  Her life implodes, and she takes time away from work to deal with things.  Her son wins VIP tickets to see the Dreamwish benefit but is unable to use them.  Lannie procures the tickets and meets Tristan.

Lannie has been hit hard with multiple changes to her life in short order.  She has stereotypical reactions to things that Tristan says, and makes assumptions that may or may not be true.  She is cynical at times, and at other times, she is a dreamer.  This odd juxtaposition is endearing.  Tristan is a delightful protagonist.  He is conflicted at times, yet also steady and mature.  The challenges Lannie faces, after the mouse bite, are original and compelling.  The plot is paced well and believable.

There are enough variations in the voice characterizations to keep the listener engaged.  The narrator was able to keep these distinctions throughout the recording.  At times the narrator spoke a little too carefully and slowly, but she remained consistent, regardless — clear and free of distractions.  

Carey Sullivan