Bridging the hatred of centuries did not come easy for Freyrík Farr and Ayden Vaska. As prince of a war-torn human province, Freyrík could ill afford to fall for an enemy. And Ayden, an elven warrior with 300 years of bitterness in his heart, wanted no part of love. Yet they came together despite themselves and the wills of their peoples, joining hearts and minds to fight a race of Dark Beasts threatening the extinction of mankind.
I eagerly anticipated this sequel after reading through the first book, Counterpoint, and coming up against that astonishing ending. Sometimes its not a good idea to really anticipate a book because then you're setting yourself up for disappointment, but in this case there was no disappointment. This was a strong sequel from beginning to end. Like the first one, this book challenges the emotions with many of the dark events in this odyssey-style story.
This is a continuation story so needs to be read in order behind the first one, Counterpoint.
The story continues from the point where the High King or Aegis sends his emissary to bring Freyrik and Ayden to the capitol. Freyrik is under the Aegis' disapprobation because he didn't immediately send Ayden to him as a slave. Ayden is also worried about what has been going on in the capitol that keeps his brother from returning home to his own kingdom.
The hardships continue for Rik and Ayden. They discover that surviving the Surge, Ayden accepting the punishment of lashes and that finding love together is not enough. Now Ayden is forced into a true slaveship with his elf magic bound while Freyrik is placed in a no win situation that makes him choose between his brother and the Aegis. Either choice will bring betrayal and disappointment. Under it all, the prince and elf still have each other and they will face an epic adventure once again- together.
I don't have a wide range of knowledge when it comes to fantasy romance, but I was fascinated by all the creative twists and turns that the magical world the author thought up.
The plot was riveting. I was already vested since the first story, but most of the times I got so caught up in the story that I couldn't have turned it off to save my life. Just when I was sure it was going to go a certain way, it twisted and took off in another direction. I loved not knowing what was going to happen next. There was a feel that certain things like a few minor characters' fates that I would have liked to have seen neatly tied up in the end because I was curious about them, but in no way did this take away from a superior plot that focused on the fate of the world and specifically the two heroes.
These two heroes- Actually, I could just sit here and gush, but I doubt anyone wants to read that. Heh heh! Truthfully, I found them more than engaging and splendid examples of what good main character should be in the first book. It just got better with the more hardships that were thrown their way in this story. They are tough and strong enough to weather the storm of life without a lot of angst, but they are also tender and there for each other when it counts.
I enjoyed this one in audio format and listening to narrator, Giles Barron, for the first time. I was wary since the narrator is different from the first book, but no need. He handled my well-loved characters like a pro. His British accent worked for this human high court/ elven fantasy story. He captured timing, tone, emotion, and the most intense moments of the story very well. I will definitely be watching for more of his work.
In summary, this was an amazing conclusion to the Song of the Fallen story. I could wish there was more in this world for the side characters, but I was well-satisfied with what I got. I find that this duo of stories, Counterpoint and Crescendo, are terribly easy to recommend to those who enjoy high epic fantasy adventure.
Cillian works for the mysterious Special Branch 20: an organization that runs black ops commissioned by the British government. His specialty is deep undercover assignments with virtually no support. He's been alone for so long that he no longer knows anything else. Mal's also used to being alone. Wanted in several states and even more countries, he's not allowed in the vicinity of any of his former Navy SEAL teammates. And his current assignment is to track Cillian in order to discover the spook's endgame. Except he's no longer sure which one of them is getting played.
With great anticipation, I settled in to listen to this latest book that brings together two of S.E. Jakes recurring characters from the Hell or High Water series and I was not left disappointed. This is a quick read, but it delivers on the raw sensuality and danger. I was left squirming from the heat Mal and Cillian generated even as I worked through all the twists this one delivered. And that last twist? Holy Bejeebers! I am so in need of book two here!
I thought I liked the Hell or High Water series, but this parallel series is going to give it a run for its money. Cillian and Mal are something else together. They can scorch up the IM board more than most people can do in a bed. They are both dark ops, lethal men who barely have a conscience after all they've done. Their passions run along those same lines and just... yeah, I need something cool to drink after listening to these two sex messaging. I can't wait to have more revealed over the next few books. Surprises have already jumped out, but I just know there is so much more. And how do they recover from that reveal at the end of this one?
The narration work was done by favorite narrator, Dorian Bane. He caught the twisting, gritty, and sweltering tones of this shorter story. There was that something extra that really made this story come to life. Those final moments when both characters got the big shocking news had me riveted and he captured so much both action and emotion that was there.
If you enjoy exciting, dark and gritty m/m romantic suspense, you really need to pick this one up. Actually, start with the Bound series and then the Hell or Highwater which leads into this one so you'll get the best out of it all and not feel like you're dropped into the middle of something.
2 of 2 people found this review helpful
Blue is a thief who lives for adrenaline and danger. And when he meets Mick, a mercenary, he's hit with a buzz of attraction like the rush of a high-rise job without a safety rope. But after making plans to get together, Mick leaves him hanging, and Blue vows never again. A year later, Mick watches helplessly as Blue stumbles into the middle of one of Mick's jobs. Risking his cover and their lives, Mick saves Blue and cares for him as he recuperates, but neither man has any idea how to handle the intimacy this forces them into.
It has been some time since I devoured each new release in the author's Hell or High Water Series and a few books loosely attached to this world, but there was one story I had not taken the opportunity to visit until now. Encountering it newly released in audio format with a favorite narrator was just the kick in the pants I needed to grab it.
As I indicated, Free Falling, is something of a crossover book. It bridges the Men of Honor and the Hell or High Water series. I've not read the Men of Honor series and encountered Mick and Blue as associates with Prophet and Tom in the Hell or High Water books. After listening to this one, I don't think it would work as a standalone or a prequel, very well. There is not much introduction to the world of the book and I felt like there was an assumption that the reader is already familiar with the series setting and the characters.
Free Falling is the story of how Mick and Blue came together through a series of encounters- some on and some off page- and gave more of their background.
While I'm as up for a lot of gritty and hot loving as the next person, I felt the plot suffered as a result of the device used to reunite this pair and give the motivation of the plot. I felt the relationship suffered because not once, but twice (making it nearly half the book) we spend with one or the other of this pair out of their minds due to some super-charged date rape drug that puts the poor recipient into a lust-filled craze for hours. The first time it happened it was defying belief (medically, particularly), but to have it occur again? Wish the plot could have gone with something else to have this pair working together in and out of the bedroom.
But for all my frustration with the date rape drug, I did feel this pair had some good chemistry. So opposite and so much more than they seemed to each other. I had a good time when they were locked away together in Mick's place driving each other nuts with their snark and Blue's antics. I was gulping back emotions when Blue was with his sister in the hospital and Mick came to support him. I would definitely love to see more of this pair working together.
As to the narration work, Dorian Bane was a great fit for this pair of rough and tumble guys, the dangerous world, and sizzling encounters. I had no trouble imagining what I was hearing from the characters to the storyline itself.
In summary, I was glad to finally get Mick and Blue's story, wish the drug hadn't been a part of it, but loved the action scenes and the pairs' chemistry. Those who are fans of either/both the Men of Honor and Hell or High Water series will love getting this story.
1 of 1 people found this review helpful
Dane was her first kiss and the only man she ever loved...until their marriage crashed and burned. Now Audra has built a quiet life for herself running a flower shop she's put her whole heart into. But Audra is left reeling when an unexpected circumstance brings Dane back into her world. He's still as breathtaking as he ever was, and he still affects her more than any man she's ever known. Yet learning to trust him again could be a matter of life and death....
This story... this story broke my heart and put it back together again. My first time with the author's writing so I didn't know what I was in for- maybe it was the topic, maybe it was out of character for her, but I hope not. Dane's Storm was an accurate title for this book in more ways than one and the new to me narrators did it justice.
A standalone work, Dane's Storm is told from Audra and Dane's point of views in both the past and the present. In the present, they are both limping along in their separate lives trying to get over the loss of their stillborn child, the break up of their marriage, but the end of a love affair.
My feelings were all over the place. I've been a caseworker for years so I knew better than to start taking sides when this started out all from Audra's perspective. The funny part is that it wasn't Audra I was siding with. No, I wanted to give her a kick in the pants and frog-march her toward the nearest grief counselor. It is obvious she is broken and refusing to cope with her grief and anger and guilt. She blames Dane, his family, but also herself and she does self-flagellation rather well. Of course, I knew there were several factors in the demise of her past love with Dane- and a ton of it can be chalked up to the pair of them being very young and coping alone without the support of older and wiser people for various reasons.
Fortunately, a vicious act of cruelty from Dane's grandmother is the catalyst to bring Audra and Dane into confrontation after years apart. Dane's grandmother is laying claim to the ownership of Audra's building where she houses her floral design business and rents to other wedding/event style businesses all because of a pre-nuptial Audra signed.
At this point, the story goes from typical contemporary romance settings to an amazing life-threatening survival situation and setting in the high mountains. I. Was. Riveted. Here it was. Isolation, danger, and maybe, a chance to do better than come out alive.
Dane's Storm explores how a marriage can break up because of the loss of a child. I thought the author did a fabulous job of showing how men and women- or just people- can grieve differently and it can be easy to get judgy and resentful when communication is not there. And, because its grief, people pull back and isolate themselves so that- yep, that communication isn't there. With this story, tack on the fact that the pair of them were young. Audra wasn't even twenty and Dane wasn't much older. The reasons, seasons of grief, and the after effect of non-healing and poorly coping was handled respectfully, but honestly. This was a tough one for me, emotionally, though it wasn't undue.
As to the narrative work, Lance Greenfield and Erin Mallon were new voices for me. I liked what both brought to this story. They both leaned on the emotive side, but it worked with this writing. They had me seeing both Audra and Dane so well in my mind that I easily lost myself in the story. I thought they excelled when things got truly dire in the survival situation.
All in all, this new to me book was an all around win. I will not hesitate to pick up another book by the author or the narrators. I think this is best recommended toward those who want a hard-fought romance, difficult elements for the conflict, and a passionate love.
As a child, Morgan Edwards marveled at the faery tales spun by her beloved grandmother, stories of the magical beings hidden in the heart of ancient Wales. But now Morgan is all grown up, a veterinarian who believes only in what science can prove - until the night a massive black dog saves her from a vicious attack. Suddenly a stranger stands before her, the man of her dreams made flesh and blood, not by science, but by a magic that could bring them their hearts’ desires...or cost them everything they have.
After enjoying Storm Crossed, the fourth book in the Grim series, a chance to return to Dani Harper's fae world was not to be missed. I hadn't read/listened to the earlier books, but after completing book four, it was not an if, but a when.
I was tickled to see that Storm Warrior was offered as one of the Amazon Prime member loan books, oh, but I did that one better. I borrowed the book in electronic print version and then paid the slight additional fee to add the Audible edition which is now mine to keep since I love the narrator's work.
Storm Warrior begins with a prologue set two thousand years before and tells the bittersweet tale of a Celtic Warrior determined to drive the Romans out of his little corner of Britain. He is captured, made to become a gladiator, escapes, and then is cursed by the fae to become a grim- a harbinger of death. Then, the story leaps forward to contemporary times and an American veterinarian, Morgan, is on vacation in Wales to draw comfort after her grandmother's death in the country and culture of her gran. She encounters a grim, a huge dog that legend says heralds death to the one who sees it. And later, she accidentally frees the grim dog from his curse.
I was delighted by this story of skeptical Morgan (at first) and honorable yet befuddled Rhys who has to get used to the modern human world. He might have been a tad confused about the whole clothing (not) optional in public part or why wielding weapons of war is reduced to games at a Ren Faire. I enjoyed all of the engaging and fun side characters including Morgan's vet friend, Jay and his wife, Star, and Rhys' newfound elderly friend, Leo, the animals, Rhys' warrior action at the Renaissance Faire and the adorable way Rhys takes Leo's advice about women and sets out to court the stubborn and willfully blind Morgan.
The fly in the ointment hit about half-way for me. It was Morgan's unbending stubbornness about not even giving Rhys a chance. Oh, I get that it shouldn't be instant that an intellectual science-type believes in fairy wings and unicorns, but days and weeks go by with more and more inexplicable evidence piling up that can only be explained if Rhys told her the truth. Her friends and coworkers believe in him, but of course they'll believe anything, she convinces herself. I got the impression that even if she didn't think he was a crazy liar, she had abandonment issues and would have pushed him away all those times anyway which, again, was frustrating because she's attracted and likes him and he has done all he could to show he cares for her and she sees it- gifts, fixing up her farm, and standing by her when she keeps shoving him away (and then gets hopping mad or wistful when she thinks he actually left).
I loved this story, don't get me wrong, especially when the fae made it interesting, but the romance element was pretty much a bust for me because it was all one-sided. In fact, Morgan's issues made the whole middle of this book slog by as she had the heart vs. mind mental battle every few pages, it seemed. She just put it off too long and then came surging forward in the end when a certain full on fae spectacle finally forced her. And, then, I had to laugh because she went from completely stubborn about their non-existence to completely Xena Iron wielding princess to the rescue against a bunch of magic wielding fae. That ending was definitely the most exciting and page-turning part of the book and balanced things out after the middle slow parts.
The narration was in the hands of the fabulous Justine Eyre. I've enjoyed other books she has narrated and this one was just as well done. She does male and female, accents, timing, and emotion quiet well. There is a real sense of the fae as separate from the human and she makes it easy to hear the Welsh and the fae words.
So, all in all, I was glad to have gone back to the beginning to get Morgan and Rhys' story and meet several of who would become series side characters like Leo and Ranyon. Those who enjoy a good solid backstory and legend of faerie in their paranormal romance should definitely pick this series up.
Concerned that technology is about to chase mythological creatures out into the open (how long can Sasquatch stay hidden from Google maps?), the League for Interspecies Cooperation is sending Jillian to Louisiana on a fact-finding mission. While the League hopes to hold on to secrecy for a little bit longer, they're preparing for the worst in terms of human reactions. They need a plan, so they look to Mystic Bayou, a tiny town hidden in the swamp where humans and supernatural residents have been living in harmony for generations.
My first Molly Harper book! I've said for a few years now that I was going to read her books. Well, I spotted this title (what a hoot, by the by) and then that it was the launch of a new series. So, I headed down on the bayou for some crawfish boil, anthropology studies, and a sexy dragon.
How to Date Your Dragon is part of the Audible Exclusive series. If it's like another I listened to, I suspect it will release in print and electronic on a delay so no worries for the non-audio group.
The book opens with Dr. Jillian Ramsay reassigned to southern Louisiana to study and report to the League of Interspecies Cooperation on a small bayou town that is fully integrated with humans and supernaturals living aware and side by side in, well, mostly harmony. I mean you've got your peeping tom gator shifters, gossipy bears, cranky brownie bakers, and a suspicious dragon sheriff, and some odd things going on back in the swamp but no town's perfect, right?
Jillian is on her first field assignment and she might be a tad anal about her organizational habits and a whole lotta stubborn to do what it takes to get her research notes, but she is soon sucked in to Mystic Bayou life. The suspicious sheriff doesn't even deter her even though she has no idea what his species is which drives her nuts because she has a crazy need to know things. They snip and snipe their way past irritation and suspicion into something more though Jillian still has the handbrake on because she is afraid of relationships after a gaslighting ex did a number on her. Bael had his work cut out for him and I enjoyed that the author took the time to have him think like a dragon who is trying to understand human ways and get the human to understand him.
The story meandered at a slow pace while introducing the Mystic Bayou world, the quirky and fun characters, and setting up for the rest of the series, but I was kept entertained with the sparks coming off Jillian and Bael, the sheriff. Then, things pick up the pace when Jillian discovers that Mystic Bayou is keeping a big secret and there is also a killer on the loose.
This was light and fun for the most part. I had a good time with things in Mystic Bayou even if I was wary of Jillian in the beginning until I saw how she was going to be portrayed. It is just a preference issue I have about people who, personally or for their careers, get snoopy and insist one share all, in this case, its for science. She actually turned out to be strongly ethical and kind.
The murder was easy for me to suss out. My guess was right on from the moment there was a murder. I have no idea why my mind went there first, but I had who and why instantly. I'll bank that one against later failures.
It will be interesting to see how the town's secret affects matters as the series progresses. I really hope Jillian's best friend Sonya (child of a brilly professor and a cold war spy) gets her own book. Oh, and yes, we need our bear shifting mayor's story.
This was a dual narrative work and I took a deep breath and plunged in. Dual narration is an iffy thing with me because I find it distracting no matter how wonderful both or either narrator might be. But in this instance, once I got used to Amanda Ronconi and Jonathan Davis swapping off, I actually quite enjoyed both their work. They both come with natural unique qualities to their voices that I liked and they embraced the spirit of the story, the characters, the pace and emotions well.
All in all, this was a great first outing with this author and I will definitely be going back for more. The narrators will also be those I will keep my eye out for. Can't wait for the next light and fun paranornal romantic adventure down in Mystic Bayou.
1 of 1 people found this review helpful
A Signature Performance: Kenneth Branagh plays this like a campfire ghost story, told by a haunted, slightly insane Marlow.
Somehow, through required reading and my own pleasure reading through classics in high school and college age, I missed Joseph Conrad's works. His writing is well over a century old now and he wrote contemporary work in a time when colonialism and imperialism ran rampant, when there were still unexplored places in the corners of the earth, and where men could go on adventures that returned them changed both inside and out.
Heart of Darkness is novella-length, but it leaves the listener with much to ponder during after the reading. This is an old-style adventure story about a man who tells a tale of his youth when he naively went up the Congo for the first time and encountered native and foreigner, slave and oppressor, cunning and mad, ambition and sorrow, alike, in others and in himself. It's also a mind bender thriller when Marlow encounters Kurtz and the temptation is presented to succumb to the darkness of greed and power.
The story was front-loaded with foreshadowing in the beginning when Marlow begins to regal his listeners and then the ominous shadowing grows through the story until the darkness is nearly choking. This was good storytelling.
But, the story is also a window into the historical setting of that time. As a reader, I cringed for the arrogant thinking and the horrid treatment that a human can enact against another human. This was not easy to read or stomach. There was enough of an omniscient narrator mindset that looked upon this all as a cautionary tale which redeemed it somewhat for me. The writers and his characters are products of their time. This is not cleaned up for modern sensitivities and 'enlightened' thinking, but the unvarnished thinking of the time period.
It wasn't just that I had the sudden urge to sample writing by a classic author I'd not read before that led me to Heart of Darkness. No, it was that this was a gem of an Audible Exclusive. I picked up a handful of them- classics narrated by celebrity actors. In the case of Heart of Darkness, I enjoyed the rich, trained voice of the fabulous Kenneth Brannagh. He captured the essence of Heart of Darkness so well that I got the shivers at times and my stomach knotted up from anxiety like I was right there along with Marlow.
So, it was well-worth delving back into classic English Literature, pondering the thinking of the day, appreciating great writing and a strong story, but also one of the most talented actors of our day.
In the summer of 1916, Private Daniel Baker marches into battle with the boys of Nova Scotia's 25th Battalion. Out of brutal necessity, Danny has steeled himself against the trials and horrors of war, but he is completely unprepared to meet the love of his life in war-torn France. Audrey Poulin has the soul of an artist. She lives alone with her grandmother in the quiet French countryside, where her only joy is in her brush and palette. When by chance she encounters Danny, the handsome young soldier captures her heart and inspires her painting.
A war-torn and weary soldier, a woman who crosses an ocean to be with him, and a hard-fought, gritty story of love surviving so much. The deep-felt storytelling of the author paired with a new to me narrator bringing WWI era Canadian Maritime history to life made this a fabulous listening experience.
Tides of Honour is a standalone story of war, love, darkness, and healing. It's not an easy story to hear and brings to life the light and dark of this critical time in history. The first part of the story is told split narrative and split time line as it is in the present and then looks back to show how Danny and Audrey meet and then what became of them before they come together in Canada.
Most of this story swirls around the personal story of Danny and Audrey. Their romance is there, but its only the stepping off point as they have to work and suffer to keep it alive. Danny Baker, disillusioned, shell-shocked, amputee returns from the war with his pride in tatters and feeling less of a man when faced with his worried family and faithful young, and naive wife. Audrey Poulin married Daniel because she sees so much more in him than he does in himself after she is left to shift for herself in the world after her own painful past. He has to figure out what he will do with his future as he works the rough world of the Hallifax docks even as Audry has her artistic talent and dreams of something more. They have a strong love, but love is not enough when Danny is losing himself and Audrey must face her own temptation and struggles. The author wrote the pair of them with flaws and strengths and placed them in the crucible of war and disaster and personal darkness.
The historical backdrop was painted well whether it was the portions of Danny out on the battlefields of Europe, Audrey at a suffragette meeting in London, or the pair of them fighting to survive the explosion that rocked Halifax and played such a crucial role in the story. Danny and Audrey and the rest of the cast were people of their time so that the whole of this story wove together so well.
Fajer Al-Kaisi narrated Tides of Honour and did a wonderful job of a large cast of characters, emotions, and accents. I thought he caught a nice balance in how much emotion to portray especially when some scenes got very intense. I would definitely listen to more of his narration work.
So, all in all, this was a gripping, many times heartwrenching, but hopeful historical romance set against a dark time in history. I highly recommend it to those who like a strong historical foundation, authenticity in the plot and characters response to their situation, and a well-developed romance.
Anthony Talbot is in Anchor Point to visit family, but after two days of strife, he needs a break. A local gay bar is calling his name. When Chief Noah Jackson sees that red head stroll into the club, he immediately wants him. They’re perfectly matched, and before long, they’re burning up the sheets. Noah can’t get enough. Anthony can’t stay in Oregon for long, but as soon as he leaves, he’s counting down the days until he can fly back for more.
Anthony Talbot is climbing the walls during a tense family obligatory visit and takes his sister's blessing to get out for a bit leading to a hot encounter with smoldering Navy Chief Noah Jackson. I enjoyed this latest in the Anchor Point series particularly since, like before in the series, the author touches on a relevant issue for men in the naval service- or pretty much an issue with any relationship.
Chief's Mess is the third of the Anchor Point series. These books loosely tie together so they can be enjoyed in order or standalone. Chief's Mess ties to the previous Afraid to Fly through Anthony being the hostile ex-brother in law to Clint Fraser, hero of the earlier book. For those who loved Clint and Travis, this has some follow-up scenes and for those who are starting at this book, the encounter works fine, too.
Anthony and Noah start out hotter than a firecracker together. I will say this, LA Witt can write some heat. I was hot and bothered only minutes into this book. Whew! The torrid and sizzling sex blew my mind. They definitely had chemistry in the bedroom and that was the foundation of what was to come in their attempt at a long distance relationship. Skype? No this was Porny Skyping between a pair of dirty talking guys who knew how to rev each other past the red line.
At first, I was concerned that the hot bedroom (and non-bedroom) antics were going to be all there was to this one and I did skip of ton of those scenes when they were just lining up like dominoes and I was actually growing numb to it. But, after a time, the pair realized they wanted a relationship and of course, that was also when Anthony stopped denying the hints he was seeing that Noah had a drinking problem. This was when the book started showing its depth and heart for me.
Noah is what in my past we called a functioning alcoholic. He drank a lot and often, but he was staying just sober enough to get through his life. I thought the alcoholism element was handled about right as were all the characters involved. Noah's addiction is the main conflict in the story, but this is not a men's fiction novel so it's in the right balance with the relationship development It wasn't focused on, but I also feel like Anthony had his own demons to deal with. I thought it was interesting that the spotlight was not on Noah only through this, but also Anthony. Like any person in a relationship with a recovering addict, the addict isn't the only one with his life on the precipice. So yes, this book dug deep and really shone when it hit the depth of the conflict for this pair.
Chief's Mess was narrated by Nick J. Russo. I felt he did an incredible job whether it was taking me right into this horny pair's bedroom scenes or leaving me crushed and teary-eyed when Noah and Anthony hit their lowest. He captured the pace of the story, its elements, and its characters fabulously.
In summation, Chief's Mess delivered a hot pair of lovers and a difficult situation that had me earnestly engaged to see it all end well. Those who enjoy spicy m/m military romance should definitely give this book/series a chance.
3 of 3 people found this review helpful
Young, beautiful Amélie Belliveau lives with her family among the Acadians of Grande Pré, Nova Scotia, content with her life on their idyllic farm. Along with their friends, the neighbouring Mi'kmaq, the community believes they can remain on neutral political ground despite the rising tides of war. But peace can be fragile, and sometimes faith is not enough. When the Acadians refuse to pledge allegiance to the British in their war against the French, the army invades Grande Pré, claims the land, and rips the people from their homes.
Set against the tumultuous time of 1755 in Acadia, this sweeping family saga and love story tells of the waning days of the French controlling Canada, the British battle to take it, and the poor Acadian farm families caught in the middle. Graham's authentic, heartwrenching, yet hopeful tale focuses in on one Acadian family, the Belliveaus, and a war-weary Scot caught between love, honor, and duty.
Amelie Belliveau watches in horror as the British take everything from her and her family and shatter the loving family who are forced in many directions to survive even while she is conflicted about the feelings she has for one of the soldiers who understands all too well, having been a Scot who survived the English rushing over his Scottish lands and family. Connor MacDonnell swears a promise to her that she holds onto through so much heartbreak and misery. Connor will sacrifice anything to keep that promise and does.
This book had me crying so often that I'm glad I listened to it in the privacy of my own home. Lands, the tears I shed. This was such a heartwrenching story. I've read about the Acadians who were forced off their land onto ships that took them away with little more than the clothes on their backs only to find they were unwanted where they were dumped off elsewhere. I knew it would not be an easy or light story and it wasn't. I was deeply impressed with the author's attention to historic and cultural details and the depth of each character. This is a saga so there are so many characters with Amelie and Connor the central figures. All sides were represented in the cast of characters and I loved seeing it all.
The story is mostly told from Amelie's perspective. She starts off naive yet impetuous and headstrong. Then as events unfold she is forced to mature and grow strong in this trial by fire she endures. Connor, too, is an exceptional man. The pair needed a break and I was really rooting for them. It seemed each time they were going to get their chance, it was not to be and noble sacrifice was called up. Now, I might have cried my eyes out, but I also felt so much more. This was heartwarming and romantic in an understated way. Connor gave so much out of love and Amelie did as well. Others were getting their stories in the background and I was engaged with that, too.
As to the narrator, Alexis Quednau, was a first encounter for me. She had the job of French Acadian accents, British, New Englander, Native American, and oh so many characters with all that glot of emotion, too. I thought she told this one so well. She took the right tone and hit a good balance between inflection of emotion and the distance a good narrator needs so the listener isn't distracted.
So, this was a powerful story that has stayed with me afterward. I've read the author before and know this is not a fluke. She has a way of making history come alive and makes one feel attached to her characters who go through so much.
1 of 1 people found this review helpful