Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews

Gilbert and Sullivan Set Me Free Audio

Gilbert and Sullivan Set Me Free Audio

Kathleen Karr
Fiction
For ages 12 and up
Unabridged audiobook (MP3 CD)
Performed/read by: Carmen Viviano-Crafts and performed by the Full Cast Family
Brilliance Audio, 2015   ISBN: 978-1501235924

Libby feels humiliated beyond anything she thought was possible. They have taken away her beautiful clothes and her lovely hat; they have deloused her as if she were a dog or cat taken off the street. Now she has to spend her days working in a laundry next to a woman who murdered her husband, and her nights in a tiny cell. Life could not possibly get worse. What Libby discovers, to her surprise, is that it can get better, something she never even considered. Hope comes in the form of a new chaplain, a Mrs. Wilkinson. This extraordinary lady believes in trying to improve the lot of women prisoners, and the way she thinks this can be done is through the power of music.

Thus begins,for Libby and the other women who are involved in the musical performances at the Sherborn women's prison, an incredible journey of renewal, friendship and discovery. as we get o know them we learn what these women have done to end up in the prison, and we hear Libby's own terrible story of abuse and misery. Hers is a truly horrifying tale that will set teeth on edge and it that supports that old cliche that "life is not fair." At first we wonder why Libby hides the nature of her crime to herself so possessively. Did this quiet and genteel young woman do something truly monstrous? Then we wonder if she is going to survive in this harsh prison environment. So many obstacles are placed in her way, and even worse, old fears resurface.

Without a doubt this is a thought-provoking, heart-felt, and fascinating picture of a time and place that we never hear about when we read our history books or historical fiction. Although Libby herself is a fictional character, many of the other characters in the story were real people, and many of the events, including the 1914 performance of Gilbert and Sullivan's The Pirates of Penzance, were real.

Wonderfully narrated by Carmen Viviano-Crafts, and performed by the Full Cast Family, this audio title is a sheer joy to listen to. Listeners will quickly loose track of time as they seemingly 'watch' the story unfold before their eyes. They will truly feel as if they have been taken back to the past as they listen to Kathleen Karr's unique tale.

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