Review copy was received from NetGalley, Publisher. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
Hello Stranger by Katherine Center
Narrator: Patti Murin
Published by MacMillan Audio, St. Martin's Press on July 11, 2023
Genres: Contemporary Romance, Life Fiction
Length: 10 hours, 15 minutes
Format: Audiobook, eARC
Source: NetGalley, Publisher
Amazon, Audible, Libro.fm, Barnes & Noble, Apple
Sadie Montogmery has had good breaks and bad breaks in her life, but as a struggling artist, all she needs is one lucky break. Things seem to be going her way when she lands one of the coveted finalist spots in a portrait competition. It happens to coincide with a surgery she needs to have. Minor, they say. Less than a week in the hospital they say. Nothing about you will change, they say. Upon recovery, it begins to dawn on Sadie that she can see everything around her, but she can no longer see faces.
Temporary, they say. Lots of people deal with this, they say. As she struggles to cope—and hang onto her artistic dreams—she finds solace in her fourteen-year-old dog, Peanut. Thankfully, she can still see animal faces. When Peanut gets sick, she rushes him to the emergency vet nearby. That’s when she meets veterinarian Dr. Addison. And she’s pleasantly surprised when he asks her on a date. But she doesn't want anyone to know about her face blindness. Least of all Joe, her obnoxious neighbor who always wears a bowling jacket and seems to know everyone in the building. He’s always there at the most embarrassing but convenient times, and soon, they develop a sort of friendship. But could it be something more?
Hello Stranger was a journey of personal growth for Sadie. I didn’t figure out her name until later in the books because a person doesn’t call themselves by their own name. We are mostly shared her thoughts and point of view. Sadie had a rough childhood with her mother’s death, her father’s withdrawal into grief and then the evil stepmother and stepsister.
She loves art which is her mother’s legacy, and treasures some of her mother’s things. Then she needed brain surgery or she might die suddenly like her mother did. I really appreciated how kind and positive she stayed with all the past and present problems she has. I don’t that I would have been so strong. But some of the family issues seemed a bit over the top. How could they be so evil?
Even though part of her development has her thinking she didn’t give enough, somehow she had her amazing friend Sue and her parents so she wasn’t without any support or love. Her reluctance to accept help or tell anyone about her challenges seemed believable. Thankfully, she has Peanut to calm any distress.
Like most other books by this author, the heart is this character Sadie and how she struggles, survives and even triumphs in her life. The romance is a bit of a side story. I liked how helpful Joe was and eventually connected him to his profession while Sadie didn’t. Their miscommunication was miserable and sad. Really, Sadie was so honest and forthright, it felt unfair.
I really enjoyed Hello Stranger and recommend it. The emotional ride while sometimes a bit silly or unrealistic, is also inspiring. It was so easy to root for Sadie all along.
I’ve listened to Patti Murin previously. She infused Sadie’s voice and thoughts with emotion and this was an emotional time for her. All the voices, male or female, were distinct and seemed appropriate. I enjoyed her performance. I listened at my normal 1.5x speed.
Listen to a clip: HERE
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