Friday, January 25, 2019

Audible Review - This Bright Beauty by Emily Cavanaugh narrated by Cristina Panfilio

I snagged This Bright Beauty back when regular readers could get in on audible's daily deal. It was my first by this author and I know it won't be my last.

This Bright Beauty

By: Emily Cavanagh
Narrated by: Cristina Panfilio
Length: 10 hrs and 11 mins
Unabridged Audiobook
Release date: 03-01-18
Language: English
Publisher: Brilliance Audio


Franci and Lottie may be identical twins, but that's where the similarities end. Franci has always been the stable one, while Lottie has bipolar disorder, constantly battling depression and mania. After years of taking care of her sister, Franci moves across the country to build a life for herself. Now, all the two share is distance.

But when Lottie gets in an accident, Franci reluctantly steps back into her familiar role as protector. She returns to find her sister's life in complete disarray and makes a shocking discovery: Lottie has an infant daughter she never told Franci about. Although Franci swore she wouldn't get sucked back in, she can't leave the baby alone in Lottie's care.

As Lottie further unravels, a secret is revealed that she has kept since childhood - one that has the power to reframe the sisters' entire relationship, forcing Franci to ask herself if the secret was too much for Lottie to bear. Was the accident really an accident, and who has been protecting whom all these years?

My Review:

This Bright Beauty
Emily Cavanaugh
Narrated by Cristina Panfilio
Cavanaugh’s poignant family drama highlights love and loss, the bond of sisters, of twins, the tragedy of mental illness and the heartbreak of its heredity. Hidden in the pages of this fantastic fictional novel are frighteningly real mental illness details, the white and black of bipolar disorder, the bleakness of depression the limitlessness of loved ones reaching out a helping hand and the sometimes powerlessness of the victim to accept the help. The author’s using only first names somehow makes the characters more intimate, her portrayal of Lotty’s mania is hauntingly genuine while her portrayal of Francie is grounding. The story moves quickly via a fluent powerful narrative that’s both hopeful and helpless both full of joy and full of sadness that will pull on reader’s heartstrings with an ending that will break reader’s hearts but with a clear message to never give up.

The narration of Cristina Panfilio is amazing, articulate and emotion filled. Her voices of Francie and Lotty are fantastic and her men’s voices are good too, but when it comes to the voices of the children characters this narrator rocks! 

Identical twins Charlotte (Lotty) and Francie spent the early years inseparable where older by minutes Lotty always took care of her younger more fragile sister. But when they lose their mother at seventeen to a terrible accident the roles reverse when Lotty is diagnosed with bipolar disorder and Francie suddenly becomes the stronger twin. Life changes again when Francie moves across the country to begin a life without her sister yet knowing she’s leaving Lotty in the capable hands of her longtime boyfriend, Whit. When Lotty has an accident and needs help, even though they’ve been estranged for the past year or so, Francie wastes no time leaving behind her own twins and husband in Boston to head to California to once again care for her sister. When she arrives she’s gobsmacked by how Lotty’s life has changed since they last spoke and the surprises just keep on coming.

Listen to a Sample:

About the author:Emily Cavanagh is a writer, teacher, and mother. Her work has been published in Grain Magazine, Transfer,The Vineyard Gazette, and Martha's Vineyard Arts and Ideas among other online and print publications. Emily lives on the island of Martha's Vineyard with her husband and their two daughters. Her second book, THIS BRIGHT BEAUTY, released in March (Lake Union Publishing). She is also the author of THE BLOOM GIRLS.
Facebook: @emilymcavanagh77
Twitter: @emilymcavanagh
Instagram: @emilycavanaghauthor

About the Narrator:Cristina Panfilio is a voice talent, audiobook narrator, and actor whose credits include Fallen Angels at Indiana Rep, The Merchant of Venice at Notre Dame Shakespeare, Twelfth Night at Chicago Shakespeare, Mirandolina, Seascape, Laughing Stock at The Milwaukee Rep, and Memory House at Renaissance Theaterworks. She was also part of touring productions of A Midsummer Night’s Dream and Romeo and Juliet with the Utah Shakespeare Festival and five wonderful seasons with the Riverside Theatre Shakespeare Festival in Iowa City.


  1. Even though the ending sounds rough I love that it has a great message at the same time. Wonderful review Debbie! Hope you have a nice weekend!

  2. Ah just added this one to my wish list at Audible after reading the review. I think this is a book I'll really appreciate.

  3. I think I could listen to this, and be sad too

  4. I love that. I have a family member that is bi-polar so I understand.

    1. me too Mary it has answered a lot of questions for me

  5. I don't listen to many audiobooks of my choosing (mostly the ones my kids pick) so this will be a splurge for me. I'm adding it to my list.

  6. Mental illness of any kind is such a horrible disease. The fact that it has a stigma, only makes it harder to treat. I have a mother-in-law with bi-polar disorder. She doesn't want to get help. She likes the way she is. It's hard. We want to help, but she doesn't make it easy. Sounds like a good book.

    Melanie @ Hot Listens & Books of My Heart

    1. It is a good book Melanie and one I really think you can relate to since this disease is so close to you. My Daughter In Law isn't the manic/depressive bipolar, luckily her symptoms are much milder unfortunately it is hormone related and started when she had children. xo

  7. I'll have to check out this narrator. I don't recall seeing her name before.

  8. An emotional read. I like that it has a positive message.