I've listened to all the other audiobooks in this series, enjoyed them and usually looked for opportunities to listen while driving, making meals, etc. For this latest, I really didn't care if or when I finished the book.
As others have mentioned, Goldie seems like an entirely different person in this book. Tom and Marla are almost absent. Arch may be a teenager, but he's turned into a selfish, bullying brat. Goldy is supposed to be the former victim of domestic abuse who learned to stand up for herself, but she's bullied constantly by Arch. I kept thinking: come on Goldy, where's your backbone? The bridezilla is nothing but a stereotype and some of the things Goldy does are either stupid or contrived or both.
When this book came out, I was glad I'd have another Goldy story to read, but less than halfway in I just stopped listening. I finally came back to finish the book, but doubt I'd read any additional releases in this series.
Over 30 years ago I read almost everything Agatha Christie ever wrote. This year I've been listening to my favorites from Audible, but I thought I'd skip this one because I remembered the plot and thought I'd be bored. Was I ever wrong. Not only does 30 more years of living help me appreciate the setting and the characters, but David Suchet's narration is nothing short of extraordinary. I kept forgetting that there was ONE narrator. Suchet captures not only Poirot, but over a dozen characters-men and women, old and young, of various nationalities. Even if you know the plot by heart, it is worth it to purchase this one just to enjoy Suchet's art!
There are only a handful of books I've ever read that made me wish I'd never come to the end. This book is one of them. I will admit I'm a dog lover and every dog I've ever had was either a shelter dog or a dog that would otherwise have ended up in a shelter, so maybe I was primed for this tale. A few parts are very difficult to listen too--they describe pretty horrible acts by dogs instigated by horrible humans--but the book is truly a story of redemption--of dog and of human. I felt many different emotions as I listened to this book--and wanted more when I got to the end. I couldn't ask for more.
I've "read" all of Nicholas Sparks' books as Audible downloads. Yes, there is some predictabiity, but I appreciate that in recent books, Sparks has included characters dealing with complex experiences without pat handling of those experiences. You can read Safe Haven as simply a romance novel. Or you can read it as a more nuanced story of a woman rebuilding her life after years of abuse. I enjoyed the book, the narrator was excellent, and I was reminded once again that there is nothing one dimensional in being "a widower", "an abuse victim (or survivor)", or even "an abuser." Looking forward to the next Sparks novel . . .
I've listened to all of the other Goldilocks catering books and have really enjoyed the characters, the plots and the recipes.
Not this book--it's taken me weeks to get to the end of part 1, and I'm not sure I'm even going to bother to listen to the second download. Arch has been transformed from an interesting multidimensional kid to a brat and a bully--and Goldie is the prime target of his bullying. Goldie's response is to chalk it up to Arch being a teenager--and then she buys him the expensive birthday gift he's bullied her about. This is supposed to be the woman who survived the Jerk and learned to be assertive. I kept waiting for her to show-or grow--a backbone. Goldie repeatedly breaks the law while doing her sleuthing. Tom is nothing more than prop who cooks while she's playing detective, and even when he discovers that she's done something grossly illegal, he gives her a hug and goes back to making dinner. Marla is almost absent, and Julian is only slightly more prominent(so far). More than in any other book, we hear ad nauseum about rich people in fabulous houses who send their kids to Elk Park Prep but don't seem to have the slightest bit of sense abouut running the businesses that supposedly support their sumptuous lifestyles. While I prefer Barbara Rosenblatt to Joyce Bean, a change in narrator wouldn't fix all of this. I agree with the reviewer who questioned whether Diane Mott Davidson actually wrote this. If I download part 2, it may be just to get the recipes at the end--at least the spice cookies. I don't CARE who did it or how Goldie figures it out. I'm glad I read all the other books in this series before encountering this one, or I would never have considered reading another. I haven't submitted a review on any of the other books, but I'd recommend ANY of them over this one.
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