DNF at 4 hours
I was intrigued by the blurb and a chance at a new to me author and new to me narrator. The opening for this story produced a good strong plot and intriguing characters, but it didn’t stay that way for me.
The general plot remained of interest and that is what kept me listening- a young woman being forced by her father to marry a revolting man, a father with secrets and reasons for his actions, a rakish yet very much in love hero, engaging siblings to both leads who wanted their brother and sister to be together for love. But…
I do want to point out that what turned me off fairly early on will possibly not be an issue for others. It will be all in what attracts you to a heroine. If you like your damsels in distress types then you will not mind so much what started to grate on my nerves and only got worse as I progressed.
See, Gwen MacAlistair was the type of heroine that pretty much got in her own way of happiness and then got stubborn with the wrong people (bad guy- she turns spineless; good guy- she’s a bull terrier) and that’s on top of her stupid moments.
Her father is a mean, manipulative man who has driven off one son and is in a constant discord with the other one. He was hard on his wife and his kids, but little ‘head in the clouds and believing in unicorns’ Gwen is dead set on earning that man’s ‘well-done’ by throwing herself on her sword and marrying a lecherous fop that makes her skin crawl. Sebastian comes along and offers her escape because he loves her and wants to marry her and supposedly she loves him too (hard to tell the way she was acting). She is mulishly determined that their marriage would ruin Sebastian so ruthlessly lies to him and says she can’t marry him because she doesn’t trust him not to stay away from other women. The blow of her words and that the woman he loves thinks this of him was hard to get through for me as the reader. Let’s just say she’s lucky I couldn’t get a hand on her for realsies because her stupid lie led to Seb doing something dumb and so forth. When Sebastian goes on to play her hero and keep her from the jerk she was to marry, she gets mad about a lie Seb tells to get her father to agree so that little miss stubborn’s need to not cause a scandal is appeased. She holds onto the mad waaaay too long and turns into a shrew with Sebastian.
Yeah, that was when I pulled the plug. I was so angry with Gwen at this point that not even a miracle big-time romantic selfless move was going to redeem her for me. It all felt so senselessly dramatic and the conflicts began to feel contrived.
The best thing about the story for me was the narration. I thought Susan Duerden did a fantastic job with the English accents and the variety of male and female character voices. I could clearly see the story in my head as she narrated.
In summary, this was not for me, though as I said, those who don’t get upset over a certain type of heroine probably won’t be as irked and will do fine. The build of intrigue about the family secrets does make for a good strong plot thread and is what kept me going longer as well as the solid audio work of the narrator.
My thanks to Audible.com for providing this book in exchange for my honest review.
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