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Sweetwater

Narrated by: Dorian Bane
Length: 7 hrs and 34 mins
4 out of 5 stars (51 ratings)
This title is included in Audible Escape

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Publisher's Summary

Wyoming Territory, 1870.

Elijah Carter is afflicted. Most of the townsfolk of South Pass City treat him as a simpleton because he's deaf, but that's not his only problem. Something in Elijah runs contrary to nature and to God. Something that Elijah desperately tries to keep hidden.

Harlan Crane, owner of the Empire saloon, knows Elijah for what he is - and for all the ungodly things he wants. But Crane isn't the only one. Grady Mullins desires Elijah too, but unlike Crane, he refuses to push the kid.

When violence shatters Elijah's world, he is caught between two very different men and two devastating urges: revenge, and despair. In a boomtown teetering on the edge of a bust, Elijah must face what it means to be a man in control of his own destiny, and choose a course that might end his life...or truly begin it for the very first time.

©2014 Lisa Henry (P)2016 Riptide Publishing

What members say

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

SO full of angst!

Ok. So, first if you know Lisa Henry, she writes dark stories, full of angst and pain. This is NO DIFFERENT. I’m not sure what I was thinking – I guess I got suckered in by the deaf part and saw that Dorian Bane was narrating and figured it would be good? Ok, it’s not that it’s not good – it is. Lisa Henry can really write. But man it was painful. Really, really, really, really painful.

Especially for someone who doesn’t like/appreciate BDSM.

Elijah only feels shame at his desires, so he uses pain in his sexual encounters to help “atone”. Even with Grady, who treats him nicely, he wants it rough. For me, that’s uncomfortable. So be warned.

Since it’s the Wild West, the gay thing is kinda accepted – sort of. Elijah’s upbringing makes him feel guilty – like going to hell guilty – but he’s got all sorts of other things going on to make him feel even more guilty – so – yeah. More pain.

Their courtship is what you’d expect from two guys living on the verge of death. They can’t really spend a lot of time and energy on feelings, but there are some. Again, sort-of.

I guess this is like a hurt/comfort romance without a lot of comfort. Grady tries, but Elijah’s pain runs deep and Grady only has so much he can do. Couple it with the fact that Grady lives outside the law for most of the book and he can’t make a lot of promises or do a lot to change things for Elijah. When Elijah finally takes matters in his own hands – in a way that was very unexpected! – he sort of has an epiphany that things will have to change and he wants to do that for them both.

Dorian Bane has the best “western” accents and he did a great job setting the dusty trail, saloon-door bangin’, twang that you’d expect from these guys. He shines with dialog, and does a fair job with the non-dialog parts. I wish he’d done more to alter Elijah’s voice – Elijah wasn’t born deaf but I do think he’d sound different… But that’s a small niggle.

All in all, I think if you know the author and what that means as far as a story line goes, expect only a HFN – because really, with the time period, etcetera, only a bald fairy tale would offer anything different – and you don’t mind/like BDSM type stories – this will be up your alley.

If you were expecting anything remotely light and comforting, keep looking. As for the audio, I think it’s a great way to experience this story and I recommend it as such.

I’m gonna have a hard time rating it because I don’t like how dark it was – so it wasn’t my taste – but it’s not because it’s a bad story- the contrary really, since the author did such a good job of showing us the pain Elijah’s life is.

I’m gonna go with 4 of 5 – for the book and audio.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Gently Paced Tough and Gritty Western Romance

If you could sum up Sweetwater in three words, what would they be?

Surprising, Deep, Emotional

What did you like best about this story?

I enjoyed the depth to the characters, the development of the characters, setting and tone, the narration.

Have you listened to any of Dorian Bane’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

Yes, I have! It's a bit of something special when I listen to a story he narrates. This one stands up well with the four others I heard and loved.

Who was the most memorable character of Sweetwater and why?

Obviously the hero, Elijah, but I'm going to put a plug in for a more ambivalent character, the town saloon owner, Harlan Crane. He's harsh and hard on Elijah, he looks out for number one, and he doesn't really have the usual morals. But, there is something about him. There are glimpses of who he could have been and that comes out in his dealings with Elijah. Harlan reads people well and that includes Elijah. He doesn't treat him well, but he understands him like others cannot. He also doesn't think less of him for his deafness. Can't say he 'brightened' the scenes he was in, but he made me take notice.

Any additional comments?

This book was provided for me by Riptide Publishing in exchange for an honest review.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Great !

Where does Sweetwater rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

This is one of the best audio book. Dorian Bane brings the old west to life.

Have you listened to any of Dorian Bane’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

I've listened to many of Mr. Bane's narrations. If you like stories about cowboys, you will love what he does.

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

If I could have, I would have listened in one setting.

Any additional comments?

Mr. Bane makes the listener feel like they have gone back in time.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Brutally Honest View of the "Old West"

If you could sum up Sweetwater in three words, what would they be?

Thought-provoking hopeful

Who was your favorite character and why?

Both Grady and Elijah - both had a conscience - both were honest and I love that Grady was true to himself and had the humanity to help and stretch outside the norms of the old west

Which scene was your favorite?

Where Grady tells Elijah I'm keeping you and nothing and nobody will get between us.

If you could rename Sweetwater, what would you call it?

Hope

Any additional comments?

Narrator was great, story was great, I would've liked more ending - or an epilogue, but i loved the book through and through.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

This is not a simple western, it makes you think.

4.5 stars mostly, but see below. Very good narration.

I must have skimmed the blurb when I marked it to read. Then I added it to my Audible wish list and then it popped up on my Romance package and I thought, great lets listen. All of this without really knowing what the book was about.

So it starts out OK with Elijah Carter and his adopted dad, Doc Carter BUT Elijah is participating in cattle rustling/butchering, not so good, plus he is being verbally abused by the men involved with this. Then Elijah goes to the Empire Saloon and meets Harlan Crane, a most depraved man. Yet Elijah is mesmerized by Crane who "sees" Elijah. But what he "sees" is a boy he can dominate, humiliate and sexually exploit and get away with it. For some reason, Elijah is desperately wanting someone to "see" him and he is weirdly drawn to Crane and allows Crane to do all these things to him. This is why I almost DNF or marked the book down to not liking or some other drastic thing.

At this point I am freaking out as I didn't think I wanted to continue, so I read all my friend's reviews and got a little education. I also cheated and read part of the epilogue which made me realize it will all turn out OK in the end. I have liked a lot of Lisa Henry's works so I thought she would tell a good story if I can just get past this. So I continued. It did not get that much better as Elijah was so compromised by the demons in his mind and his deafness which cause him to be subservient. So hard to stomach. But then he meets Grady Mullins, who is a cattle rustler (so not so good), but is respectful of Elijah's deafness and respects his need for having sex with another guy and does not dominate him (very good). This is confusing to Elijah, but gives him a choice in men, a drastic difference between being treated well by Grady and terrible by Crane.
So the plot thickens with a death and I almost stopped reading. This is why it sometimes takes a while to read or listen to a book, I reach a place where I have to walk away from it to calm down.
The story continues and ends in better place than it started.

I know life is hard in 1870's Wyoming and the entire "wild west", and boy this book drives that home. I would entertain a continuation of Elijah and Grady's story, how everything turned out in say 1900

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • HyperLittleNori
  • 11-03-18

A beautiful story of finding strength...

A beautiful story of finding strength and rising up after being beaten down after so long. Lisa is one of my favourite authors and this does not disappoint. She writes angst/heartache with such stunning accuracy that draws you in, yet what makes her my favourite is that she always delivers on the ending. It's always worth it and you never feel cheated, you always get what you need to feel satisfied, to make the heartache worthwhile for us and the characters she inevitably makes you fall in love with.

The way she showcased the world and the time were just immaculate. She didn't paint a rose-tinted picture of the west like many authors do, she didn't shy away from the difficult opinions, views and actions people of this time possessed. She didn't sugar coat it which I liked. She kept the gritty, even with the characters you liked, which made them so much more real. It gripped me from start to finish and even though Grady and Elijah don't interact much for the first half of the book, the world building, and the building of Elijah's character and Dr Carter's the whole world was so engaging I honestly didn't care. Yeah I longed for the moments when they came together but that's just what a good author does. My heart swooped with Elijah's when it did, and plummeted at the 'bad' parts in all the right ways. Just a stunning story from beginning to end that I actually looked forward to getting into my car and starting the commute to listen to more to.

The narrator did an amazing job. It must've been hard to decide how to read for a deaf character but I think he did it well, portraying how sometimes Elijah would be more coherent than others, it just made sense, since he wasn't deaf from the start. The characters all had their own voice, I really loved his take on Grady's in particular. And his voice of Crane's had the ability to make you loathe the character before he'd even really done anything. Was just perfection. His tone and accent really brought the feel of the story to life and couldn't recommend his read of this story more. 5 stars!