Audiobook Review: The Cavanaugh House by Elizabeth Meyette

 The Cavanaugh House

Author: Elizabeth Meyette
Narrator: Amy McFadden
Length: 10 hours 35 minutes
Publisher: Elizabeth Meyette
Publication Date: March 28, 2016
Genre: Mystery/Thriller

When Jesse Graham unlocks the door to the deserted house she inherited from her Aunt Helen, she doesn’t realize she’s unlocking secrets that had lain dormant for years. Reeling from a broken engagement to acclaimed musician Robert Cronmiller, Jesse wants to leave the city where her name is linked to his in all the society pages. Her best friend Maggie, aka Sister Angelina, convinces her to take a job at a private girls school in the pastoral Finger Lakes region of upstate New York.

Anticipating a quiet, revitalizing life in her aunt’s deserted house, Jesse is instead thrown into a maze of danger. Questions about her aunt’s death lead Jesse to investigate events surrounding it and the people involved, but she uncovers a web of deceit that reaches far beyond the occurrences of over two decades earlier.

Still dejected from her broken engagement, Jesse finds it difficult to trust anyone, even her self-absorbed mother. Joe Riley is irresistible, but secrets obstruct involvement with him until Jesse can solve the secrets of the Cavanaugh House.

Someone doesn’t want those secrets unearthed and will stop at nothing, even murder, to keep them hidden.

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At the point of despair and ready for independence, Jesse moves to the peaceful town in upstate New York. Desperately wishing to push her broken engagement to Robert behind her, she decides to move into a dilapidated, mouse-infested home inherited from her Aunt Helen.  After moving into the home and dealing with the furry squatters, she is given a teaching position at an all-girls school and is afforded the chance to spend time with her best friend, who just happens to be a nun. With a penchant for the 60’s women's liberation movement and an inordinate thirst for beer, Jesse almost feels like her life will turnaround.  But, just as this feeling arises, she unearths family secrets that shake her to the core and place her life, and those around her, in danger. 

Meyette created well-developed characters; however, they were predictable. The realistic dialogue helped the listener follow the story, though at times easily forgetting the 1960’s setting.  Without the author’s vivid worldbuilding and keen attention to detail, the setting would be lost to the listener.

Inhaling the Jesse’s essence, McFadden breathed life into her character.  Further, she skillfully captured Jesse’s fear, apprehension, and, at times, corny humor throughout the story.  Moreover, she provided unique vocal personalities for each of the major and minor characters. While McFadden succeeded in her vocal characterization, she fell short in disguising her 21st century voice. As I mentioned above, if it wasn’t for the author’s skillful descriptions, the reader would surely forget they entered the 1960’s.

While this quaint story was published several years ago, it falls neatly into the bevy of new paranormal cozy mystery releases. With a warm and nostalgic tone, this suspenseful tale was indeed hard put on pause.

The Literary Apothecary Rating: 
Overall ★★★★
Performance ★★★★
Story ★★★★★

Disclosure: I was provided a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. 

About the Author  

Poet, blogger and believer in dreams-come-true, Elizabeth Meyette’s journey has taken her through a career in education to a career in writing. Elizabeth put her first novel, Love’s Destiny on the shelf while she taught English, Journalism and Library Science/Technology.

Upon retiring from teaching, she dusted off Love’s Destiny, polished it and submitted it to Crimson Romance, who published it in June 2012. Unlike her first novel, the sequel, Love’s Spirit took only seven months from inception to submission, and was published in April 2013.To coin a friend’s phrase, she didn’t retire, she “refired” and loves her second career as a writer.

Elizabeth’s mysteries are set in 1968 in the Finger Lakes region of upstate New York. An Amazon Bestseller, The Cavanaugh House, and its sequel, Buried Secrets, are available as audiobooks. She has also published poetry and freelance articles.

Elizabeth is a PAN member of Romance Writers of America, a member Sisters in Crime, Capitol City Writers Association, Greater Grand Rapids Writers Group and Society of Children’s Books Writers and Illustrators. She and her husband Richard live in the West Michigan. They made an agreement that she cannot cook on writing days after he had endured burnt broccoli and overcooked chicken. Fortunately, Richard is an excellent cook.

About the Narrator

Amy McFadden has narrated over 250 titles in many different genres with a focus on Comedic Fiction, Romance, and not-super-violent Thrillers. She is an Earphones Award winner, and a four-time Audie Award finalist in Humor, Mystery/Thriller and Literary Fiction.

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