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The Guest Book

A Novel
Written by: Sarah Blake
Narrated by: Orlagh Cassidy
Length: 16 hrs and 42 mins
4 out of 5 stars (7 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

"Orlagh Cassidy narrates Blake's beautifully written multigenerational story of love and lies with consummate skill. Elegant and clear, distant yet passionate, she helps listeners discover the quirks in characters' personalities and explore their motives, both evident and hidden." —AudioFile Magazine, Earphones Award winner

This program includes a bonus conversation with the author.

“Sarah Blake is such a beautiful writer she can make any world shimmer." (Paula McLain, New York Times best-selling author of The Paris Wife and Love and Ruin)  

The thought-provoking new audiobook by New York Times best-selling author Sarah Blake

A lifetime of secrets. A history untold. 

No. It is a simple word, uttered on a summer porch in 1936. And it will haunt Kitty Milton for the rest of her life. Kitty and her husband, Ogden, are both from families considered the backbone of the country. But this refusal will come to be Kitty’s defining moment, and its consequences will ripple through the Milton family for generations. For while they summer on their island in Maine, anchored as they are to the way things have always been, the winds of change are beginning to stir. 

In 1959 New York City, two strangers enter the Miltons’ circle. One captures the attention of Kitty’s daughter while the other makes each of them question what the family stands for. This new generation insists the times are changing. And in one night, everything does.

So much so that in the present day, the third generation of Miltons doesn’t have enough money to keep the island in Maine. Evie Milton’s mother has just died, and as Evie digs into her mother’s and grandparents’ history, what she finds is a story as unsettling as it is inescapable, the story that threatens the foundation of the Milton family myth.

Moving through three generations and back and forth in time, The Guest Book asks how we remember and what we choose to forget. It shows the untold secrets we inherit and pass on, unknowingly echoing our parents and grandparents. Sarah Blake’s triumphant novel tells the story of a family and a country that buries its past in quiet, until the present calls forth a reckoning.

©2019 Sarah Blake (P)2019 Macmillan Audio

What the critics say

"Sarah Blake has managed the extraordinary feat of writing both an intimate family saga and an ambitious excavation of the subterranean currents of race, class, and power that have shaped America. This is a vivid, transporting novel, written by a master conjurer of time and place.” (Jessica Shattuck, New York Times best-selling author of The Women in the Castle)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Very thought provoking family saga

This story following three family generations makes one think about so many issues in our history and in life today -- the Holocaust, how we treat "different" in our culture whether it be colour, religion or sexual preference, and the the sub-plots in all family life. I wanted to slow down my reading as I absorbed it all.

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  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars
  • rebajes
  • 2019-05-19

Most boring book ever

Author drones on with setting but is really weak on character development I loathed it gave it one star as it is a book

12 of 12 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
  • Paige
  • 2019-05-21

Nice writing, unsurprising story

My main issue with the book is that all of the characters are such stereotypes, The book puts everyone in a box and the characters do exactly as expected. Overall I didn't love it.

10 of 10 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
  • Catherine Newton
  • 2019-05-19

Reader mispronounced too many words

Dear Audible editors: It really threw me out of the story each time the reader mispronounced a word. These were not terribly difficult words. Skein. Inexorable. There were others. I know Orlagh Cassidy is a popular narrator for audiobooks and this is a product put out by Macmillan and not you, but someone should be paying attention.

27 of 29 people found this review helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Johnny Kibler
  • 2019-06-23

It slowly evolves into "Who cares"

So much plot. So many subplots. Skips through time. It should be riveting but ultimately the class collision loses any of its relevance and you just see the protagonist as kind of ridiculous. I lost my way and didn't finish after almost the whole book. The island? Who owns it? Who cares?

7 of 7 people found this review helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars
  • Kindle Customer
  • 2019-05-23

Start at chapter 34

The writing is excellent, the story is just long without much plot. At the end, I was tired of the characters. Finishing this book took a great deal of effort and left me exhausted.

23 of 25 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
  • Tina B
  • 2019-06-16

Hard to get into, but good once I figured it out

This is one that is probably do better reading rather than listening. I had trouble getting the characters figured out as it traversed between 3 generations. I found myself going backwards often, but once I got the characters figured out, I enjoyed the story. Although I felt some of the plot lines weren’t completed. Overall- 7 out of 10...

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Barbara
  • 2019-06-14

Better second part

I had trouble keeping track of the characters in part 1.. I found the second part much more enjoyable

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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    1 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars
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  • Stephanie Epps
  • 2019-06-07

Utter overly descriptive drowning

This story should be 10 pages long. Instead, it goes on and on in a wordy, choppy fashion for 500 pages. I could (and did) doze off and miss nothing. Horrible.

4 of 5 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Isabelle Salgado
  • 2019-09-24

A true story about America and Americans

I was floored. This book so smoothly and aptly captured the essence of the American experience in a story of the pride, glory, and optimism that is the prerogative of the elite on one hand, and the nuanced, painful story of those who are shut out of that bright beautiful WASP world on the other. First set in the context of Europe right before WWII, this stylish Upper East Side clan face an unbearable, buried tragedy that marks their evolution over several decades -painting a sharply accurate portrait of the anti- semitism, racism and sexism that is perpetuated by well meaning people who feel
justified in their every action. This story captures so clearly how these mindsets were created and sustained, and the damaging ripple effects they have on several family members and others in their orbit. It’s a story of materialistic privilege but also of the intangible privilege that comes the form of the unquestioned belief that what is received is always deserved. And it depicts a paradox of the pain that is caused by holding those ideals, and preserving the myths upon which such entitlement is built, at the expense of allowing for true human connection across tribal lines. A rich, vibrant and well-told story with many well developed, complex characters. Loved it.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • CFR
  • 2019-09-13

We all have family secrets, don't we?

Loved this book! And the narration by Orlagh Cassidy is stellar. I loved the story's various settings, that it spanned over generations therefore we came to know an entire family, and that it grappled with anti-semitism, racism and the conscience issues around helping those abroad who need our help. The time switch was a bit confusing, but that's a minor thing.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful