I thought the premise was interesting, but about 10 minutes into the book I was cringing and soon I felt ill. Despite that, I listened for almost 3 hours, hoping it would get better. Initially it was the Republican politics in the book that was making me uncomfortable, so I decided to push through and try to be open minded. There is a lot of political beliefs that are stated. There were also a few things that made me think this was written in the 80s, not months ago.
Spoilers to follow:
This is the first Diana Palmer book I've read, so I don't know much about her writing, but soon I was thoroughly disgusted. Within the first hour, every woman in the book but Bodie, the main character is portrayed as a whore. Then, Bodie is accused of being a whore by the man she apparently loves (who is a violent alcoholic, over 10 years older than her, and deeply resents women). Then Bodie is extorted and sexually harassed by her step-father and his friend. Luckily, she's saved by the main love interest and his brothers before she can be raped for money on camera!
All of this is sprinkled with an almost liberal sensibility ("even if I were gay, I wouldn't be ashamed of it", "why can't the government provide us with the help we need", etc) but they were put forth in such a clumsy, backwards way. Bodie is supposed to be a strong, independent character who dreams of getting a PhD in archeology, an admirable dream, but then she also states "why does every woman have to be a high powered executive, or a top politician? Isn't having a family enough?" Pretty much every belief in this book is hypocritical and maddening. Rape shouldn't be used willy-nilly as "character development", or a chance for the woman to be saved by her "hero". If Palmer is going to write about heavy subjects like abuse, maybe she shouldn't demean her characters quite so much by using it as a writing tool.
She could have been a better feminist to her main character.
He was okay. He has a nice voice, but his "voices" creeped me out.
I don't usually get so caught up in stories. I hardly ever feel anxiety about the ending when I read a romance, since most romance publishers require a happy ending. This story is well-written and gripping, and feels different than the normal genre-conforming romance short stories I've read. I became so invested in the characters that I had to skip ahead to the end before I could continue with the story.
I think Ted is a great character, and much of the reason I felt so much anxiety during the story is it would be just as easy for him to break completely as it would be for him to find redemption. I also quite like Jem, and find him sweet, though he is not as convincing as Ted.
He did a fantastic job with the accents in the story, using slightly different tones and inflections for each character. It was a little difficult to get into his reading of the story at first, however, as his voice is not my favorite, hence the four stars instead of five. He's a talented voice actor, though, and I think most people will enjoy his reading of this.
Wish there had been more sex, but as the story is only about 3 hours long, I GUESS it was a reasonable amount.
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