When Will There Be Good News by Kate Atkinson


Imagine you are a little girl and you are out walking with your family along a country road on a summer day.  Now imagine that a strange man comes out of nowhere, and wielding a knife he kills your mom, and siblings.  You, Joanna are the only survivor of that tragic day.

Flash forward thirty years.  Joanna is now a doctor and married with her own baby.  Reggie is Joanna’s nanny and loves her job.  She loves that Joanna calls home every day to talk to the baby and to the dog, she loves how attentive Joanna is to the baby when she comes home and how carefully she plans out what the baby will eat. 

Things appear to be going as planned and leading to a wonderful rest of their lives…


The man put away for the killing of Joanna’s family is up for parole.




Why did I want to read this book?  I won this audio quite a while ago and finally decided it was time to listen to it.


*sigh*.  I think I am going to be in the minority on this one.  I did not know going into this audio that the detective and other characters were from other Kate Atkinson books.  And maybe, that doesn’t even matter… but later on when I talked to people about the book and they discussed the reappearing characters I wondered if that is where my disconnect started….

Yes, disconnect.

This is one of those books that I am wondering if it would have been better for me to have read as opposed to listen to on audio.  I never felt connected to the story line… in the audio it felt “piecey” to me and I spent way too much effort trying to figure our Joanna’s story and then Reggie’s and then a detective Brody as well as a boatload of others.  Never a big fan of bunches of characters as I find them too hard to keep track of.

Throughout this audio I never felt connected to anyone… and honestly, this may have been more me than the audio/book.  It is not always easy to pick up all the details in audio – especially when I listen to the audio in my kitchen player which is by far where I am the most active while listening (cooking, cleaning…). 

In the end, I was not a fan of the audio.  I felt lost most of the way through.  Plot wise it was too overloaded, too over detailed… and for me just too much.


Other reviews from trusted book lovers:

Rhapsody In Books Weblog

Farm Lane Books Blog

Reviews By Lola

A Bookworm’s World


21 thoughts on “When Will There Be Good News by Kate Atkinson

  1. Patty

    Probably better read…for ome reason I thought this was the first book in this series…am I wrong?

    I remember liking it…I think!

  2. This was actually the first Kate Atkinson book I read, and realized that it was part of a series afterwards…then I had to read the others. I could never have listened to it…too much detail that would require use of my “visual” senses to decipher.

    I became a fan of the series, though. I would definitely recommend reading the books rather than listening.

  3. I sometimes find that going in with an expectation, whether knowingly or not, I can be disappointed for no other reason than I wasn’t expecting the type of read, or story etc. Sounds silly, but I think you might know what I’m trying to say 🙂

  4. boardinginmyforties

    I think the premise of the story sounds appealing (well maybe appealing is the wrong word considering the subject matter) but the audio didn’t do it justice. I’d be curious to see what you might think of it if you read it rather than listened but maybe the whole premise breaks down either way!

  5. Good to know that I would do better to start with other books in the “series” first. She is much buzzed about in my reading circles, so at some point I will check her out.

  6. I couldn’t have read past the first page, due to the storyline. I would live with a knot in my stomach through the entire book worried for Joanna and her family! I am sorry this one was such a disconnect for you. I have a bunch of her books on my shelf, but not sure where to start! I do hear great things about Kate Atkinson, though, so I’m thinking it’s a series problem, not a book problem…does that make sense?

  7. Too many characters or too many points of view are a problem for me too in audio. And when they are recurring characters in a series I’ve not read before… it’s even worse. However, I have heard good things about Kate Atkinson and have picked up a few of her books (print ones) at the library sale. So eventually I will be reading them.

      1. I have the first book, Case Histories, but there are so many other print books in line to be read that I haven’t gotten to it yet. It needs a push to get it to the front, like a read-a-long. LOL

  8. I haven’t tried audio for any of these. It does seem as though the world-weary tone and the shifting perspectives would be hard to convey on audio. I think they are definitely better read in order too, so you know who Jackson Brodie is a little better.

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