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When Will There Be Good News?

A Novel
Written by: Kate Atkinson
Narrated by: Ellen Archer
Length: 11 hrs and 18 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (17 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

On a hot summer day, Joanna Mason's family slowly wanders home along a country lane. A moment later, Joanna's life is changed forever.

On a dark night 30 years later, ex-detective Jackson Brodie finds himself on a train that is both crowded and late. Lost in his thoughts, he suddenly hears a shocking sound.

At the end of a long day, 16-year-old Reggie is looking forward to watching a little TV. Then a terrifying noise shatters her peaceful evening. Luckily, Reggie makes it a point to be prepared for an emergency.

These three lives come together in unexpected and deeply thrilling ways in the latest novel from Kate Atkinson, the critically acclaimed author who Harlan Coben calls "an absolute must-read".

©2008 Kate Atkinson (P)2008 Hachette Audio

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Excellent narrator that can’t do accents

Amazing story.
Wonderful narrator.
However, her poor Scottish accents and inability to provide a range of tones/voices for characters just simply have to be accepted and ignored to enjoy the audio book.

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Wrong narrator for this book

Good book, I enjoy Kate Atkinson’s quirky take on the detective genre. But the American narrator’s attempts at regional British accents were very distracting, to the point of being annoying. Probably less of an issue for a non British reader.

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
  • J
  • 2019-08-19

Really enjoyed this book.

Not a page turner but a really good story which is beautifully written. Some might find that the detailed development of the characters makes the narriative slow moving but Kate Atkinson’s writing makes this book well worth a listen. I also really enjoyed Ellen Archer’s narration. Don’t be mislead by the review that called the narration “appalling”...far from true.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Loved this!

Well constructed storyline and interesting characters. Narrator struggles with male voices but otherwise a nice performance. Not a real “mystery”, more of human nature in adversity and the things not said. Give this a listen.

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Great story, APPALLING narrator

Kate Atkinson does it again! By god what a terrible narrator, why on earth she was cast I do not know. Would recommend reading rather than listening to this one, I had to stop after about an hour because her accent was plain ridiculous.

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Suze Weinberg
  • 2009-01-22

Quite brilliant

I started it once, couldn't get the gist of it or pick up on the the momentum so I said Id start again, give it one more try and stick with it. It was so well worth it.
You become so interested in the complexity of all the characters and how they intertwine, especially toward the end. fascinating..to me anyway,
I had NO objections at all to the reader. She really helped place me in the land of the characters. I'm not all that critical about the accents & dialects. I loved her voice and the way she read the story.
Now Im going to seek out more by this author.

11 of 11 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Sara
  • 2015-11-22

Mystery Series With Complexity & Depth

I recently stumbled upon Kate Atkinson's writing when I read and loved Life After Life. Next I came upon and devoured her mystery series which, so far, has four books. Book one--Case Histories, book two--One Good Turn and then this third book--When Will There Be Good News. I am reviewing the first three books in the series as a group here--viewing them as a unit.

As with all of Atkinson's writing the stories are complicated and she bends time to suit her whim. Once you get the hang of the "two steps forward three steps backwards" approach and understand the author's take on time--the storytelling takes on a life of its own. Characters weave in and out of each novel and their lives grow and change. Facts are revealed from multiple angles and in gradual degrees. To me, this captivates and keeps things really interesting.

I love the Jackson Brody character. I particularly enjoy seeing how his life plays out with the outlandish troop of extras that Atkinson deftly captures. These are not neat and tidy books. Good guys blend with bad guys and at times nothing is as it seems. All the makings necessary for excellent mystery/crime writing are present here. To me, Atkinson does not disappoint.

Highly recommended--but do read the series in order--as one book builds on the next. Oh, and yes, you need to pay attention to small details and give the stories time to play themselves out. I think it's worth it in the end.

39 of 42 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Jean
  • 2011-08-09

My favorite Kate Atkinson yet

I've loved all of her books, but I've never fallen in love with her characters like I did in this one, especially Reggie. The ending was especially satisfying. As to the narrator's accent, I can appreciate those who are natives of the British Isles finding her accents irritating (I'm from New Orleans and readers who commit brutalities against those accents are maddening.) Non-Brits will surely enjoy Archer's narration, as I definitely did.

8 of 8 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Richard
  • 2008-10-19

Kate Atkinson pleases again.

If you've read (or listened to) Case Histories and One Good Turn, then When Will There Be Good News? is just what you'd expect from Kate Atkinson. If this is your first experience with this author, be prepared. Her characters and their predicaments will draw you in to the point where you'll find yourself sitting in the driveway or tuning out your family to find out what happens next. Jackson Brodie is back along with the string of misfortunes that have been plaguing him since Case Histories. In addition, we get better acquainted with DCI Louise Monroe and meet the ineffably persistent Reggie Chase. The mysteries in this book are compelling and, as always with Kate Atkinson, twisted together in ways that do not all become apparent until the very end of the book. When Will There Be Good News?, along with Atkinson's other Jackson Brodie books, are mystery thrillers for people who don't like mystery thrillers. The characters are as intricately developed as the plot line. The dialogue is natural, never forced. The endings are like good chocolate--satisfying, but leaving you wanting just a little more. The reader does a creditable job of managing a variety of British accents and both male and female voices.

33 of 37 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Amy
  • 2008-11-19

Surprising, moving, enthralling

Kate Atkinson is a gifted and completely original writer, and her work lends itself particularly well to being read aloud.

The beginning of this novel is both shocking and heartbreaking, and it's hard to imagine where the story will go from there. But don't let that deter you from continuing to listen. The story quickly moves into several complex, intertwining layers, all featuring characters who are instantly memorable and worth getting to know. Reggie, the teenage girl who is more or less at the center of the various plots, is smart, unexpectedly funny, endearing, and completely captivating, and the other characters (including ex-detective Jackson Brodie, who appears in other books by this author) are just as distinctive.

Ellen Archer is an effortlessly talented narrator, and I would not have enjoyed the book as much without her. She makes a valiant attempt to capture the various Scots, Irish, and regional English accents used in the book, and though she doesn't always succeed, her attempts add to the book's appeal. She is particularly good at conveying the attitude and spirit of Reggie, who might not be quite as vivid a character without the narrator's voice.

I've ignored people's recommendations of Kate Atkinson's work in the past, but now that I know what I was missing, I plan to read and/or listen to all of her other books.

25 of 28 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • KA McNamara
  • 2015-10-29

Wonderfully crafted - round characters twisted plot

Read the book and then listened to it. Never grows old. Found a new appreciation for the author at every turn. The beauty of word choice, passages quoted from nursery rhymes and bits of poetry, fables and psalms - all well chosen. Well done - written & read. Archer is a gem; Atkinson an artisan.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Sixty Some
  • 2009-01-27

Plucky Teenage Heroine

Steven King listed this on his "Best Books of 2008" list and I borrow my title from his review. Reggie, the teenage heroine, is my favorite character, but all characters are wonderfully portrayed. There is a wonderful dog in the story and happily, the dog does not die! It is amazing how it all comes together in the end and quite satisfying. I had no problem with the narrator and thought she did an excellent job. I will be listening to her other books.Highly recommended.

12 of 14 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Fiona Y.
  • 2018-10-01

Jackson Brodie books

Unfortunately, I think the story teller’s reading was really bad. Sorry, but her attempts at the English and Scottish accents were dreadful, sounding like a bad rendition of Irish, Cockney and Australian. When she was just reading, her “British “accent was only just bearable. Such a shame because Kate Atkinson has a wonderful turn of phrase in her story telling.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • jean
  • 2016-05-28

Dreadful accent

Would you say that listening to this book was time well-spent? Why or why not?

I did listen to it all but was very perplexed by the reader. Why couldn't you get someone like Davina Porter to read who switches between a Scottish & English accent with conviction.

What was one of the most memorable moments of When Will There Be Good News??

The train crash.

How could the performance have been better?

The book was utterly spoiled for me by the abysmal Scottish accent. I was trying to place what it was supposed to be because the reader sounded Australian /Irish then I realised that since the story was located in Edinburgh it must be supposed to be a Scottish accent.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • sandra
  • 2015-09-24

Beautiful story with exquisite narration

Would you consider the audio edition of When Will There Be Good News? to be better than the print version?

I didn't read the book, but I believe Ellen Archer's narration added emotional depth to an already very moving book.

Did the plot keep you on the edge of your seat? How?

Yes -- by switching back and forth between cliffhanger situations. Often the peril was psychological as much as physical.

Which scene was your favorite?

Any scene with the detective Brody is a favorite.

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

Yes -- it was so compelling I didn't want to turn it off.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful