Waiting for the Flood by Alexis Hall #AudioReview #AfternoonDelight

Waiting for the Flood by Alexis Hall #AudioReview #AfternoonDelightWaiting for the Flood by Alexis Hall

Narrator: Alexander Doddy
Genres: Contemporary Romance, M/M Romance
Published by Riptide on May 23, 2016
Length: 2 hours 51 minutes
Format: Audiobook
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four-half-stars      three-flames

Complex, poignant, worthy, and satisfying!  This author packs more into a short novella than some authors can achieve in a five hundred page novel.  As my second outing with the author, but in a whole different genre, it was almost like starting fresh.  But then I happily heard the familiar writing style and settled in for the promised story.

The story opens with dreary, gray, and flat Edwin Tully learning that his neighborhood in Oxford is under flood advisory.  Edwin has been going through the motions for the last few years since his partner of a decade walked away from their life together.  Edwin’s love was not returned and it left him more than bereft.  He had love and no object for it and he has not recovered.  Oh sure, he goes through the motions of work and home, but does not engage with the world around him.  A severe stutter has been with him his whole life and has been worse since Marius left.

But now, with the rising river waters and rain, comes the hint of change.  Edwin doesn’t even recognize it as such seeing only a big, rough, yet caring stranger who comes from the agency in charge of flood management.   Adam’s wholesome and honest acceptance of Edwin’s quirky social skills and stutter even while he genuinely is interested in Edwin starts to work on him.  But Edwin has been burned- and badly.  Adam’s presence is restoring feeling and, after numbness, feeling hurts and dredges up old feelings of fear and inadequacy as each hour brings the flood waters higher and closer to the home he loves.  Edwin was not enough for Marius so how could he hope to hold a rescuing hero type like Adam?

Alright, so this is a shorter piece, but it is a fully developed, well told tale.  Edwin is the sole narrator and the focal character of the story.

In fact, only Adam and Edwin’s old lady neighbor along with a phone call with his ex’s mom and a brief howdy-do with a newer neighbor break up Edwin being alone with his thoughts.  And I thought that was a brilliant move.  The narrowness of the setting and limited amount of characters and interaction forcefully paint the picture.

Because that is the point at the beginning- Edwin is dismally alone.  The reader feels all the pain of his rejected love and the isolation that his tied-up tongue has brought him.  Adam is the catalyst.  Edwin starts to consider braving up and leaving his isolation.

The relationship is tentative and fragile not even really there for most of the story.  Edwin has to have his ‘dark of the night’ epiphany moment before anything else can happen.  But just when the romance lover in me was starving for something good and special for Edwin?  The author didn’t let me down.  Oh, and that choice for the ending.  Sheer brilliance!

I’m going to interject here before the end with a late preface.  I don’t see this having universal appeal particularly if the reader is in the mood for or expecting a standard romance even in short story format.  This is more of a man’s personal, internal journey to finding himself, to knowing himself.  Edwin is not the smooth, easily engaging hero.  But for those who either are open to something different or can adjust to it, this will be a quietly triumphant story that does lead to love and happiness.

As to the narration, Alexander Doddy was a first encounter.  This was a story set in Oxford and I thought his narration of the Brit accent (no idea if it was the proper local accents that would require more than this ignorant American ear could detect) and in particular his narration of a man with a stutter was unexceptionable.  I felt he captured the spirit of the story and the moods.  His pacing and timing were excellent.  I would definitely listen to more of his work.

All in all, this was another excellent, strong outing with the author and I will return for more of his books.  I would recommend this one to those who enjoy thoughtful, character-driven, gently paced M/M Contemporary Romance.

My thanks to Riptide Publishing for the opportunity to listen to the book in exchange for an honest review.

Challenges Met:

Romance Roundabout #200 LGBT
Audio #24

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I was born and raised near Sacramento, CA. I have read since I was four years old and developed tastes that run the gamut of literature. I went away to college and have a degree in education, a certificate in family history research, and a certificate in social work. I worked for a non-profit agency with low income families for 20 years which included being responsible for the children’s library and promoting/teaching adult literacy. I have lived in Southeast Michigan for the last 18 years and I am currently a book addicted homemaker with a cat and husband who keep me grounded. Recently, I made it a challenge to review each book that I have read as a favor to author friends who said reviews are important. I have done reviews for Good Reads, Amazon, eBay, and Smashwords, but mostly at Goodreads and Amazon.
  • I think only having so much interaction with other characters or settings does make a short story better than some full novels. It really let’s you get into what little story the author is telling, rather than trying to tie up ends here and there. Glad you loved this!

    • That’s a good point and you’re right. This one lasered in and did a better job of development as a result.

  • I love your reviews because they tell me so much about the story and I can make up my mind whether or not I’d like to read it.

    • Wow! That’s a great compliment. I’m really glad b/c as you know that’s what reviews are all about. Okay, and the chance to ramble about what I read. LOL

  • Interesting! A short but compact and well-written story is always great to see, when it comes to novellas. I honestly have never heard of this one and probably would pass it straight, given its somewhat boring cover (yup, I am totally judging the cover right now, can’t help it!). I’m glad you enjoyed this book so much, Sophia! =)

    Alyssa @ The Eater of Books!

    • LOL! You are not the only one influenced by covers. I’m more a blurb person, but I’m not immune to covers that attract or repel me. 🙂

  • Wow that is some impressive praise: “This author packs more into a short novella than some authors can achieve in a five hundred page novel” I will go listen to a sample

    • It’s the tone and feel of the story that the author gets. It really surrounds me even when it’s a simple story. Sometimes there is just such a good connection between reader and writing. This was me. 🙂

  • I am glad this was such a great listen for you! For a novella this sounds like it kept you enthralled and that’s really not the usual thing for a shorter listen/read. While I feel empathy for the characters loss of love and for the stutter, I don’t think this would be one for me. Wonderfully detailed review!

    • It surprises me whenever I pick up a short story or novella and it has depth and development and feels complete. It shouldn’t b/c I know a story doesn’t have to be long to be good, but there are so many that aren’t. 🙂 Oh, that’s alright. As I read this one, I knew it wasn’t going to be one for everyone. Some books, it’s easy to see that there will be wide appeal while others not so much.
      Thanks, Lorna!

  • That’s a great cover. I’m glad you enjoyed it so much even though it wasn’t quite traditional 🙂

    • I do like that cover especially for the tone of this book. It was something different and I appreciated it as a change-up.