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Audiobooks have become a popular medium for readers who want to enjoy a book while on the go, and “Carry the One” by Carol Anshaw is no exception. In this audiobook review, we will dive deep into Anshaw’s poignant novel about love, loss, and the connections that bind us together.

Key Takeaways

  • “Carry the One” by Carol Anshaw is a thought-provoking novel that explores the complexities of relationships and the lasting impacts of tragedy.
  • Anshaw’s writing style and narrative approach are both effective and engaging, drawing listeners in from the beginning and keeping them hooked until the end.
  • The audiobook narration adds yet another layer of depth to the story, bringing the characters to life and enhancing the emotional impact of the novel.
  • Overall, “Carry the One” is a must-read (or listen) for fans of contemporary fiction and anyone who wants to explore the intricacies of human connection and loss.

Overview of “Carry the One”

In “Carry the One,” Carol Anshaw crafts a compelling story of love, loss, and the ties that bind us together. The novel begins at a wedding party in rural Illinois, where three siblings, Alice, Carmen, and Nick, along with their respective partners, Tom, Maude, and Olivia, are celebrating the union of Carmen and Matt. After the party, they pile into Carmen’s car and hit a young girl on the way home, changing their lives forever.

The aftermath of the accident is felt throughout the story as the characters navigate their guilt, grief, and relationships with each other. Alice, a budding artist, struggles to find her place in the world and maintain her sobriety, while Carmen grapples with her sexuality and desire for Olivia. Nick, the youngest of the siblings, becomes a successful mathematician but remains haunted by the accident and his complicated feelings for Carmen. As the years go by, their lives diverge, but the accident remains a defining moment.

“Carry the One” is a poignant and thought-provoking novel that explores themes of family, love, and the consequences of our actions. Anshaw’s narrative skillfully weaves together the various storylines, creating a rich and layered portrait of its characters and their struggles.

Writing Style and Narrative

In “Carry the One,” Carol Anshaw employs a unique writing technique that engages the reader with its impactful storytelling. Known for her exceptional writing abilities, Anshaw uses a narrative approach that is both introspective and thought-provoking, capturing the readers’ imagination from start to finish. The seamless flow of the story and well-crafted moments of tension and emotional depth showcase her prowess as a writer.

Anshaw masterfully utilizes a third-person omniscient point of view, which allows the reader to experience the story from the perspectives of all characters. Through the technique of flashbacks, Anshaw weaves together a narrative full of rich detail that unfolds consistently while building intrigue and empathy toward the characters.

This creates a sense of intimacy with the characters and invites readers to fully immerse themselves in the world she has constructed, ultimately delivering a poignant and soulful story. Her writing style is truly captivating and a testament to her considerable talents as an author.

“Anshaw’s ability to convey so much emotion through her writing is truly remarkable, making ‘Carry the One’ an unforgettable read.”

Character Development

Carol Anshaw’s characters in “Carry the One” are intricate and distinct, with each playing a vital role in progressing the storyline. Anshaw’s portrayal of each character is masterful, affording the reader insight into their pasts and motivations.

Anshaw explores different aspects of her characters, from their personalities and relationships to their flaws and struggles. Each character embarks on a journey of growth and self-discovery throughout the story, aided by their interactions with others.

Anshaw’s ability to develop realistic and relatable characters is evident throughout the novel and contributes to its overall success. The characters’ depth and complexity resonate with readers, making them more invested in the story and the characters’ outcomes.

“Anshaw’s character development is unparalleled. Each character has a unique voice and journey, and the portrayal is both authentic and compelling.” – The Chicago Tribune

Themes Explored in “Carry the One”

In “Carry the One,” Carol Anshaw explores complex themes of love, loss, and relationships. These themes are interwoven throughout the narrative, forming a poignant and thought-provoking story that engages readers and listeners alike.

The theme of love is examined through the varied relationships between the characters in the novel. Anshaw explores the different forms of love – romantic, platonic, familial – and how they evolve and change over time. Through the interactions between the characters, Anshaw highlights the importance of love in their lives and the impact it has on their decisions and actions.

The theme of loss is also prominent in “Carry the One,” as the characters confront the various ways in which they experience and cope with loss. Anshaw portrays loss as a universal human experience, demonstrating how it shapes our perspectives and relationships with others. The novel explores the different stages of loss, from shock and denial to acceptance and healing, providing a nuanced and emotionally impactful portrayal.

Lastly, Anshaw delves into the complexities of relationships, examining the bonds that tie us together and the challenges that they present. She portrays the evolving dynamics between the characters, showcasing the multifaceted nature of human relationships and the impact that they have on our lives. Through this exploration, Anshaw presents a powerful commentary on the human experience and our search for connection and meaning in life.

“Carry the One” intricately weaves together themes of love, loss, and relationships, presenting a captivating and emotionally rich story that is sure to resonate with readers and listeners alike.

Setting and Atmosphere

Carol Anshaw masterfully creates a rich atmosphere within “Carry the One” that draws readers into the story’s world. From the first few pages, the environment is skillfully woven into the narrative, establishing the post-wedding reception setting as a catalyst for the events that follow. Anshaw’s vivid descriptions of the rural surroundings and the characters’ surroundings create a palpable sense of place that allow the reader to fully immerse themselves in the story.

The novel’s setting also serves as a metaphor for the characters’ emotional states, with the rural environment reflecting a sense of isolation and distance from society.

“…Anshaw’s vivid descriptions of the rural surroundings and the characters’ surroundings create a palpable sense of place that allow the reader to fully immerse themselves in the story.”

Anshaw’s attention to the environment throughout the novel enhances the emotional resonance of the story, particularly during moments of grief, featuring powerful descriptions that plunge readers into the depths of mourning and despair.

Audiobook Narration

One crucial element of the audiobook experience is the narration, which can significantly impact the listener’s engagement and enjoyment of the story. In Carry the One, the narration is skillfully performed by acclaimed voice actor Candace Thaxton, who brings each character to life with distinct voices and nuanced emotions.

audiobook performance

Thaxton’s impeccable audiobook performance elevates Carol Anshaw’s already compelling novel, providing added depth and resonance to the storytelling. Her expressive voice captures the complex relationships and emotional nuances between the characters, enhancing the overall listening experience.

Pacing and Plot Structure

One of the strengths of “Carry the One” by Carol Anshaw is its well-crafted storyline and narrative flow.

Anshaw’s plot structure is carefully constructed, with events unfolding at a steady pace, keeping readers engaged from beginning to end. The seamless transition between different timelines, points of view, and settings is impressive and adds to the story’s overall appeal.

The novel expertly manages to maintain tension and suspense, keeping readers intrigued and invested in the characters and their relationships. Anshaw’s ability to balance the pacing with emotional depth is a testament to her exceptional writing skills.

Overall, the pacing and plot structure of “Carry the One” demonstrate Anshaw’s mastery of storytelling, making it a compelling and engrossing read.

Emotional Impact

“Carry the One” by Carol Anshaw is a novel that strikes a chord with readers due to its emotional depth and resonance. Anshaw masterfully crafts a narrative that explores the complexities of human relationships, portraying her characters with authenticity and vulnerability. As readers follow their story, they are drawn into the emotional turmoil that arises from their experiences of love and loss, finding themselves deeply invested in their fates.

The emotional impact of “Carry the One” is significant, as it explores themes that are relatable to readers across cultures and time. The novel’s ability to evoke various emotions, including sadness, joy, and empathy, is a testament to Anshaw’s skill as a writer, making it a work that stands out in the literary world. The story’s authenticity and the emotional depth of its characters leave a lasting impression on its readers, prompting them to reflect on their own experiences of love and loss.

Readers have responded positively to “Carry the One,” praising its ability to connect with them on a deep emotional level. Many have expressed that the novel has touched them in a profound way, leaving them with a sense of understanding and empathy for the characters’ struggles. The novel’s emotional impact is undeniable, and its ability to connect with readers is a testament to its timeless appeal.

In conclusion, the emotional impact of “Carry the One” by Carol Anshaw is what sets it apart from other novels. Its ability to resonate with readers on a deep emotional level is a testament to Anshaw’s mastery of storytelling and the authenticity of her characters. The story’s themes of love and loss are relatable to readers across cultures and time, making it a work that will continue to endure in the literary world for years to come.

Critique and Controversies

While “Carry the One” has been generally well-received by readers and critics alike, there have been some criticisms and controversies surrounding the novel. One such issue is the handling of drug use and addiction, which some readers have felt is depicted without enough nuance or sensitivity.

Additionally, some have taken issue with the novel’s ending, which some feel is abrupt and unsatisfying. Others, however, have praised the ending for its ambiguity, which allows readers to interpret the story’s resolution in their own way.

Despite these criticisms, it is important to note that “Carry the One” has also garnered significant praise for its poignant exploration of love, loss, and the ties that bind us together. The novel’s raw emotional depth and richly drawn characters have been particularly lauded by many readers.

Audience Reception

Since its publication, “Carry the One” has garnered a range of reactions from its readership. A majority of reader reviews praise the novel’s beautiful prose and the depth of its characters, with many describing it as a poignant exploration of love and loss.

However, a smaller number of reviews have criticized the book’s pacing and the overall direction of its plot. Some readers found the story to be slow-moving, while others felt that certain plot points were unrealistic or unnecessary.

Despite these criticisms, the public response to “Carry the One” has been largely positive. The novel has received critical acclaim from numerous publications, and its inclusion on several prestigious book lists has helped to cement its reputation as a must-read for fans of literary fiction.

“‘Carry the One’ is a tour-de-force examination of the human heart and its capacity for both love and loss. Anshaw’s writing is both lyrical and thought-provoking, and her characters are so finely drawn that they feel like old friends by the end of the book.” – The New York Times Book Review

Publication Review Score
Publishers Weekly ★★★★
The Guardian 8/10
Kirkus Reviews Positive

Overall, it’s clear that “Carry the One” has struck a chord with readers and critics alike. Its nuanced exploration of love, loss, and the human experience has cemented its place as a thought-provoking work of contemporary literature.

Impact and Legacy

Since its publication in 2012, “Carry the One” by Carol Anshaw has left a lasting impression on the literary world, with its poignant themes and masterful storytelling earning critical acclaim and numerous accolades.

The novel’s influence can be seen in its impact on contemporary literature, inspiring a new generation of authors to explore the complexities of love, loss, and relationships in their own works. Its long-term significance within the genre is evident in its continued relevance and widespread popularity among readers and listeners alike.

Anshaw’s ability to evoke raw emotion and capture the complexities of human nature has cemented “Carry the One” as a timeless masterpiece in the literary canon, ensuring its place as a staple for years to come.


Overall, “Carry the One” by Carol Anshaw presents a beautifully crafted and emotionally resonating story that explores themes of love, loss, and the connections that tie us together. Anshaw’s writing style and narrative approach effectively engage the reader/listener and maintain a consistent pace throughout the novel.

The characters are well-developed and relatable, and the audiobook narration enhances the overall experience. The setting and atmosphere add depth to the story, creating a mood that enhances the reader’s emotional response.

Although some may criticize the plot structure and pacing, “Carry the One” has received positive reviews from its target audience, and its long-term significance within the genre is undeniable. It is highly recommended for readers/listeners who enjoy thought-provoking and emotionally rich stories.

Overall, “Carry the One” is a remarkable literary achievement that deserves recognition and acclaim.


What is "Carry the One" by Carol Anshaw?

“Carry the One” is a novel written by Carol Anshaw that explores themes of love, loss, and the connections that tie us together.

Can you provide an overview of "Carry the One"?

In “Carry the One,” Carol Anshaw tells the story of a group of friends whose lives are forever altered after a tragic accident. The novel delves into their individual struggles with guilt, grief, and the complexities of relationships.

What is Carol Anshaw’s writing style like in "Carry the One"?

Carol Anshaw employs a captivating writing style in “Carry the One,” blending vivid descriptions with introspective storytelling. Her narrative approach is immersive and draws readers into the lives of the characters.

How are the characters portrayed and developed in "Carry the One"?

Anshaw skillfully crafts the characters in “Carry the One,” providing depth and complexity to their personalities. Throughout the novel, readers witness their growth, inner conflicts, and the impact of the accident on their lives.

What are the main themes explored in "Carry the One"?

“Carry the One” delves into themes of love, loss, and relationships. Anshaw explores the various ways in which these themes intertwine and shape the lives of the characters.

How does the setting and atmosphere contribute to the story in "Carry the One"?

Carol Anshaw creates a rich and atmospheric setting in “Carry the One,” which enhances the overall mood of the story. The environment plays a role in influencing the characters’ experiences and adding depth to the narrative.

What can you tell us about the audiobook narration of "Carry the One"?

The audiobook narration of “Carry the One” is expertly performed, immersing listeners in the story. The narrator’s delivery and tone enhance the overall listening experience.

How is the pacing and plot structure in "Carry the One"?

Carol Anshaw’s skillful pacing and plot structure in “Carry the One” maintain tension and engagement throughout the story. The events unfold seamlessly, keeping readers invested in the narrative.

What is the emotional impact of "Carry the One"?

“Carry the One” evokes a range of emotions, capturing the rawness of grief, guilt, and love. The story has the power to resonate deeply with readers/listeners, eliciting a profound emotional response.

Are there any criticisms or controversies surrounding "Carry the One"?

While “Carry the One” has received critical acclaim, there are some criticisms and controversies surrounding certain aspects of the novel. These include discussions about the portrayal of certain characters and the handling of sensitive themes.

How has the target audience received "Carry the One"?

“Carry the One” has garnered positive reception among its target audience. Readers have praised the compelling storytelling, relatable characters, and thought-provoking themes explored in the novel.

What is the impact and legacy of "Carry the One"?

“Carry the One” has made a significant impact on the literary world, establishing Carol Anshaw as a talented author. Its poignant exploration of human connections and emotional depth has contributed to its long-term significance within the genre.

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