In this sweeping and powerful epic the journey begins in the "terrible beauty" of Northern Ireland during a time when conflict reigns and no one is spared from tragedy and sorrow, the time known as The Troubles.
It is the spring of 1968 in Belfast and James Kirkpatrick has just lost his father under suspicious circumstances, Casey Riordan is released from prison after five years and Pamela O'Flaherty has crossed an ocean and a lifetime of memories to find the man she fell in love with as a little girl. All three lives are on a collision course with each other against the backdrop of the burgeoning civil rights movement and a nation on the brink of revolution.
They come from disparate backgrounds - Jamie a wealthy aristocrat whose life is like an imperfect but multi-faceted jewel-brilliant, flawed and with a glitter that is designed to distract the observer. Casey, a card-carrying member of the Irish Republican Army, who must face the fact that five years away has left him a stranger, a misfit in his own neighborhood where not everyone is sympathetic to a convicted rebel. Pamela, who has come to Ireland in search of a memory and a man who may not have existed in the first place.
Through it all runs the ribbon of a love story: love of country, the beginning love of two people unable to resist the pull of each other regardless of the cost to themselves and those around them, and the selfless love of one man who no longer believes himself capable of such emotion.
It is an electrifying tale of a people divided by religion and politics, a tale of love and danger, of triumph and tragedy. Ultimately it is the story of that "terrible beauty" herself - Ireland - and how nation is bound to one's identity, woven into the weft of all we become.
Love the series and was anxiously awaiting the audible version so that I could have this intriguing and beautifully descriptive novel read to me by someone with a lovely Irish accent! Home run - the narrator is just perfect and I’m thrilled so far. May update after I’ve listened to the entire thing, but I’m sure it will only be to heap further praise upon both the author and her excellent choice of narrator!
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What made the experience of listening to Exit Unicorns the most enjoyable?
Gary Furlong, as the narrator made the listening experience incredible. I loved his voice and he was absolutely brilliant in his reading of the book. He literally made the characters jump out at you with the voices he put to them. The narrator can either make or ruin the books you listen to. I've had several good story's ruined, just by the narrator that was chosen for that particular book. Not so in this case!
What did you like best about this story?
I love that this story was based on true historical events in Ireland, in the not so distant past. Though the characters are supposed to be fictional, they could have actually been real. I enjoy the way Cindy Brandner writes her stories, you feel everything from heartache to passion and everything in between. For me, reading / listening to the book, took me directly to Ireland and placed me in the midst of the story.
Which character – as performed by Gary Furlong – was your favorite?
My favorite character performed by Gary, had to be hands down....Casey! Though I love Jamie, Pamela & Pat, just as equally. The voice he gave Casey, was exactly how I would have expected it to be from when I first read the book several years ago.
Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?
To pick only one or two moments in the book that moved or captivated me is almost impossible. From start to finish, it gripped my heart strings and never let go.
Any additional comments?
Being a huge Outlander fan, I had a hard time finding books that really touched me deep within after reading the series. I accidentally stumbled across The Exit Unicorn Series, and was hooked from the very first book. Cindy is an exceptional and heartfelt writer, she is in the same league as Diana Gabaldon, as far as I'm concerned.
Using Gary Furlong, as the narrator was simply genius! I loved reading the book series, but listening to him read, was such a marvelous experience, it made me love the book that much more. I cannot wait for Mermaid in a Bowl of Tears to come out.
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This has been the best Audible book I've ever enjoyed. I've been listening to Audible books for years now, and have read this series several times before the Audible version of Exit Unicorns came out.
While anxiously and patiently (yes, it's possible!) awaiting the next n the series I had the opportunity to download this unabridged version and enjoyed revisiting the beginning of the series.
I read fairly fast, and tend to gulp books down without chewing (so to speak). Listening to a book, however, enables me to slow down and really grasp all the nooks and crannies, the nuance, the flavor.
Preferring descriptive writers, I have been enormously satisfied to crawl into this book and live there for a time.
As the characters became known to me I became invested in them. At times I've wanted to slap them silly, warn them, comfort them or even offer advice. I've never felt that way about a fictional character before, just been a passive observer. Perhaps it is in part the most excellent narration by Gary Furlong, someone I've never listened to before. It's unbelievable that a man can so distinctively narrate so many different characters. I've had no problem keeping the dialog straight in my mind so far as who was whom in the conversations.
Politics in novels has not thrilled me in the past, and my knowledge of Irish politics was next to nothing. Only vague memories of the bombings in London in the mid 1970's. This book got my curiosity whetted and I've done some further non-fiction reading since.
Like any long and descriptive book, there were a few parts that didn't light my fire, but in all fairness I can say that about Diana Gabaldon's Outlander series, and also Mary Stewart's Crystal Cave series, two favorites of mine.
That an indie writer is even comparible to a mainstream author is testimony to her talent. I hope to see much more of Cindy Brandner, and hear much more of Gary Furlong.
Great characters that stay with as you wait for the next book. Audible adds an extra layer to the story.
I already loved the written novel, but listening to it narrated by Gary Furlong has made all the difference. His ability to speak with a different inflection for each voice was wonderfully done. Many of the scenes seemed even more emotional while listening to them than they did when I read it originally. I would whole heartedly recommend this audio book. It was both enthralling and poignant.
I'm not always a fan of audio books. The voices don't always work for me. This one works! The book itself is amazing. The voice by Gary is some of the best I've heard. His inflections and characters were very well done. His ability to change accents so quickly is admirable! I truly enjoyed the story and voice. Well done Cindy and Gary!
Would you listen to Exit Unicorns again? Why?
I plan to listen to this over and over and over.... LOL I absolutely love Gary's voice and it has helped give sound to a story I absolutely love. I have already read the entire series and I find myself enjoying it again with a different perspective now that I have a voices for my favorite characters.
Which scene was your favorite?
There are so many it's hard to choose for many different reasons. However, I only have one thing to say.....Father Joseph Jesus Mary Bunratty. Brilliant, just brilliant
Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?
The entire series takes you on an emotional roller coaster ride that does not disappoint. I've screamed at the characters, laughed, cried with and for them and still can't get enough of their story. There is so much life in the pages it's almost as if you are in the story with them.
Any additional comments?
I have recommended this series to everyone I know and I anxiously await the next in the series as well as the next Audible release. This is definitely a go to on my re-read list every time.
I have read each of Cindy Brandner’s books in the Exit Unicorn series more than once and I now know that I will be listening to them more than once as well. I was thrilled to learn that Exit Unicorns was going to be an Audible book and wasn’t sure what to expect but Gary Furlong brought Cindy’s characters and their stories to life in a way that I could not have imagined. I understood Pamela, Jamie, Casey and Patrick on a more profound level when I heard Gary vocalize their words, thoughts and emotions with a beautifully authentic Irish accent. Cindy is supremely adept at writing the characters so that they feel like real people to me, and so their stories linger with me long afterward but with the audio, it’s like everyone comes to life in a different way, with a new dimension to them and all of that gives me new perspectives and insights into The Troubles. Along with the characters, the plot, the dialogue and the setting in Ireland have deep roots in history and are all what I have come to love and appreciate in Cindy’s novels. I’m always sad when I come to the last page of a book because when it is written with such craft as Cindy’s, I want to turn another page, read another sentence and now, I want to listen to Gary utter just one more word. I recommend Exit Unicorns for both readers and listeners who love getting caught up in a masterly written and narrated story.
Where does Exit Unicorns rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?
I'm new to audiobooks so I guess it was a good place to start.
Have you listened to any of Gary Furlong’s other performances before? How does this one compare?
No but I will look for his name when I order new audiobooks.
Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?
No - I listened while driving to and from work.
Any additional comments?
I enjoyed this and will be looking for more in the future. I can't wait for the next one in this series.
What a great story woven through a fascinating period in Irish history. the Narration is superb!
Everything was fantastic. I love this series. The narrator brings the story to life. A must read/ listern to those who love historical fiction. Gripping all the way throughout.