Marriage gets less convenient when love is involved.
It started simple: Ondrej Kovac marries Archie Katsaros so Ondrej can stay in the US, away from his judgmental family in eastern Europe. Archie marries Ondrej in exchange for the money to bail out his failing company. It's a fraud neither man is convinced he can pull off.
But as Archie introduces Ondrej to New York society and Ondrej proves his skill in the office, they start to discover a connection between them. Can they overcome the rocky foundation their relationship was built on, meddling immigration agents, gossip columnists determined to out their deception, and an aggressive executive set on selling Archie's company out from under him? Only if they can prove to each other their love is worth fighting for.
©2016 Kate McMurray (P)2016 Dreamspinner Press
I received a free copy of this audiobook to listen to and review for Wicked Reads.
McMurray has added an interesting twist to the green card marriage theme in The Greek Tycoon’s Green Card Groom. Not only are both partners in the marriage men, but the money exchange is far above the “going rate” and the American groom, by all appearances, doesn’t need the money. Unbeknownst to the public though, Archie Katsaros’s business is failing due to his father’s poor decisions. As such, both men have something the other needs – an American spouse for Ondrej and money for Archie’s business. What neither man knows is that they both want the same thing from their new spouse – the chance at a real relationship. Granted, in the beginning, the sexual attraction seems easy enough to admit to and indulge. Yet as they spend more and more time together at the office, at home, and in bed, they each learn that there’s more to the man he married than he ever expected to find or dared to hope for.
My biggest issue with the book was Archie. I understand wanting to protect one’s heart, but there are times when he is so bullheaded and convinced he’s right, that he forgets that Ondrej isn’t America. There was one scene when Ondrej was having trouble explaining himself, goes so far as to tell Archie that he’s having a hard time saying what he means, yet Archie gets his feelings hurt and sulks. That peeved me off, but what really ticked me off was that when Ondrej tried to explain it better, Archie blows him off, refusing to listen. It’s as though Archie forgets that despite Ondrej’s grasp of the English language, English is not Ondrej’s native language and things get lost in translation. As a man who engages in international business dealings, his failure to give his spouse the benefit of the doubt regarding his misspeaks seriously irritated me. However, despite Archie’s “the world revolves around me” attitude, the romance between him and Ondrej was enjoyable, once Archie got out of their way and let it finally happen.
In regards to the narration, once again, Rusty Topsfield has impressed me. I had completely forgotten who was narrating The Greek Tycoon’s Green Card Groom until I reached the end of the audiobook and it was announced again. His vocal talents are such that I don’t always recognize his voice and there have been times I haven’t been able to listen to an audiobook because the characters’ accents were too good, too realistic, and thus, too annoying (for me). Topsfield did a great job creating voices for Archie and Ondrej, as well as all the side characters, making this a truly enjoyable listening experience. I found The Greek Tycoon’s Green Card Groom audiobook to be very entertaining and I look forward to experiencing more of McMurray’s and Topsfield’s work.
Ondrej (pronounced Andre) has inherited some money from his grandfather and has a desire to leave his oppressive Czech home to explore New York. He gets an internship with Archie’s company and enjoys his work there. When his internship ends and he fails to get another job to extend his visa, he and Archie work out an agreement wherein he gets a green card and Archie’s company gets a cash influx.
Now the two, who were never even interested in one another before, are forced into a relationship that has them in the public eye.
This story, with it’s forced marriage trope, should have been one of my favorites. I love the idea of “arranged marriages or marriages of convenience” but this just didn’t work for me as much as I’d like it to. It’s not easy for me to put my finger on my issues with the story, but the one thing I can think to say is it lacked a “passionate” feel. It wasn't a bad story - not at all - it just wasn't anything that made me feel super compelled to keep reading.
First, I never quite felt the chemistry between Ondrej and Archie. It was a bit too dry. Almost, “since we’re here we might as well get physical” instead of “now I have an excuse to hump you like crazy!”. Even when they are having their “marathon” I didn’t feel their passion.
Second, I didn’t like Ondrej’s character much. He was a bit too laid back for me. I didn’t see him as passionate about anything in particular.
Finally, there wasn’t much passion in the rest of the story. The angst was tepid at best and didn’t do much to keep my interest. Yes, they were worried about the company and proving their marriage was “real” but – for whatever reason – I didn’t feel any real urgency about these issues.
The epilogue was super sweet and did manage to bring up my estimation a bit, but I wish that level of passion had been kept throughout the story.
The writing was technically good and I didn’t find editing errors, but I wasn’t that compelled by this couple. It might just be a matter of taste or timing, and if you like the trope you might have a different feel, so I urge you to read other reviews and see if it appeals to others in a way that didn’t work for me.
Rusty Topsfield narrates this and he attempts to give all the many different characters a unique and authentic voice. His accent for Ondrej doesn’t sound Czech to me (but I’m no expert) and it tends to come and go throughout the story. I did like Archie's voice, solid, natural, and warm. Sometimes the other characters sound a bit more like caricatures (cartoonish) than authentic people (like big booming Banker-man voice and OTT Socialite voice) but it does keep the book entertaining. His non-dialog reading still tends to end on an upswing, like a lilt, that bothers me at times, but after awhile I was able to ignore it.
I think this is a good way to listen to this story but I don’t think it adds much to the overall experience.
3 of 5 stars for both book and narration
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