This was a poor introduction to the legendary Nora. I was disappointed that her writing was so poor: cliched phrases, repetitive sentences, and so much "head-hopping" I was confused who's POV she was in most of the time. On top of it all, the characters of the Irish parents were terribly stereo-typed. Don't waste your credit! Spend it on something better written, like Sugar Daddy by Lisa Kleypas.
I loved Tommo and Hawk and eagerly bought this, the third in the series. I was terribly disappointed by the abrupt change in style. The cliff hanger ending from T and H wasn't addressed right away and this was a recurring theme throughout the first third of the book I managed to slog through: dramatic event, chapter break, advance 20 years. The pacing was frustrating.
I also think the Courtenay's strengths lie in the first person narrative. In this volume of his trilogy, as with the first, he is using third person. We don't get inside the head of his characters enough to truly care. T and H was told from the brothers' perspectives and was a much more engaging read.
Rarely do I abandon a book mid-listen, but I did in the case. The only reason I finished Part One (and the reason for two stars) was Humphrey Bower's superb narration.
Wow. If I were Nora, I would make sure all future contracts included a clause that Ms. Quigley never, ever, ever was within a mile of her novels. I'm sure she is a perfectly lovely woman, but Ms. Quigley has chosen the wrong profession. Her readings have. Periods in the wrong. Places. It is nearly impossible to discern the subject of a sentence because of the poor emphasis. In addition, all the male characters sound alike. She has totally ruined a quality novel. Harsh, I know, but true. Spend your credit on Tribute instead. I wish I did.
The only thing that saved this one was great narration. The writing was cliched, the characters flat, the plot predictable. Billie is a punching bag through the whole story and never grows into herself. I kept listening to see if she'd grow a backbone, but nope. It's hard to root for a character like that.
Lisa Kleypas has written an unusual contemporary romance with strong characters, an interesting plot, and a vivid setting. I thoroughly enjoyed this story. The only reason it doesn't have five stars is because of the narration. It feels too rushed, and it lacks procity at times, like it's told by a robot on high speed. It's still a worthwhile listen if you can get used to it.
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