What the Stubborn Viscount Desires

Lords of Happenstance, Book 1
Length: 10 hrs and 14 mins
Categories: Romance, Regency
4 out of 5 stars (15 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

Stubborn hearts might be the last to fall, but when the hard tumble comes, it'll last forever.
 

Jonathan Banshire, Viscount Trewellain, has become a bitter, sarcastic lord and against anything remotely smacking of romance. Though engaged to a woman whose hand he'd won in a game of cards years ago, he hasn't thought of her in years. But he's also a king's agent, and as his duty to the Crown, he's being sent to Spain to track down a missing peer. He goes to escape his personal life. 

Miss Sophia Wickham is tired of men deciding her future. She's on a mission to live her life on her terms, but can't due to an ambiguous engagement to the Viscount Trewellain. Determined to gain her freedom, she sneaks on board the ship intent to have Jonathan release her from that old promise. When he refuses in a fit of pique, she's stuck as stowaway, bound to the one man she can't stand.

In Madrid, they search for not only the missing lord, but also stolen Spanish crown jewels and an ancient relic. Through crashing a glittering ball to hunting down clues to exploring the hidden catacombs and caves beneath Barcelona, the unlikely pair comes to an understanding. Vulnerable and trapped, truths are revealed as well as the fragile state of their hearts. But machinations of a madman bent on revenge could destroy a budding romance, and when the specter of death makes an appearance, Jonathan must finally decide what it is he desires the most.

©2018 Sandra Sookoo (P)2019 Sandra Sookoo

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

EXCELLENT READ!

I absolutely loved it! This book is full of suspense, adventure and romance.The narration is superb and gives the story that extra flair. It and will keep you entertained. This author does a great job with the character builds and plot. This was my first book by this author but definitely not my last. I look forward to reading more books in this series (can't wait)! I was given this free review copy audiobook at my request and have voluntarily left this review.

3 people found this helpful

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

A Tale of Two Narrators

I loved the sexy scene in the boat at the beginning - even loved how Jonathan is with her after. I love a good amount of angst and the more the better. I also love a good win-the-girl-with-a-bet storyline. If you're ready to charge headfirst into a dangerous mission, a fantastical treasure hunt, and a romantic romp this book is for you.

On the narrators:

4 Stars - Logan McAllister has a great voice. Very deep, which is why I believe he was cast so he would sound like how Jonathan is described. I could easily listen to him across other books and genres. I feel he would have paired better with a younger female narrator, since Sophie the heroine was so young.

2 Stars - Anneliese Rennie overly stressed/pronounced her 'S' sounds so much so that it was distracting. This aspect of her narrating disappeared by the middle to end half of each chapter only to resume at the start of the next. Additionally, viscount was mispronounced in the book, a lot, like every time, which I feel someone should have caught.

2 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

Not bad, but not perfect, either...

First things first: it's a little above 3 stars for the story (but not totally 3.5), and the stars for the narration are split - 4 to Mr McAllister, 2 to Ms Rennie, which makes it the overall 3 star rating for the performance...

The story has potential, quite a lot of it, and some parts are really well done - some of the dialogues are funny, the treasure hunt is good, the developing feelings of the main characters towards each other nicely done. But... there are a lot of choppy scenes, leaving you with a feeling that you have just missed an important part of the book, as if something that is essential for the development of the story has been cut out - it happened to me at least two or three times that I found myself not knowing why something was happening or how it had come to be and wondering whether I might have lost focus for like 5-10 seconds without realizing it... but no, going back and listening again didn't help, so it's not me, it's the book:)

The plot itself is quite interesting although at times the characters do behave in a rather implausible, unrealistic way, and I wanted more than once to slap Jonathan in the head and tell him "get to grips with yourself, man":) Sophie is a bit too modern with her disregard for social propriety, though on the other hand she's not a young debutante any more and officially she is engaged, so... I can forgive her; after all she just wants freedom at first and doesn't see any other way to get it...

What I think is the weak point of the story is the villain and the whole "mission" part; the "mission" seems more like a pretext to have Jonathan and Sophia alone, to convince the reader that because of the great danger it entails Jonathan must protect Sophia - but somehow this whole set is a bit ridiculous (why not simply leave her at an English Embassy? it wouldn't be so hard to think of a plausible explanation for her circumstances) and lacks conviction, especially with other king's agents not worrying in the least of what's going on...

So I'd say it's an OK romance with rather unconvincing, unbelievable historical background - still, it's a fun listen so give the book a chance, but rather in its printed form.

As for the narration, I'd rather have the book read by Mr McAllister alone. I liked his voice, his pace of reading and the voices he gave all the characters. Ms Rennie, however, is not the narrator I'm likely to return to. I really didn't like the way she read the dialogues or the "inner thoughts" of our characters', especially Sophie's. She made Sophie sound like a seductive nasty harlot, which she definitely was not. But maybe I need to listen to something more by her to make a reasonable decision...
In general, I think it's preferable to have one narrator reading the whole book, or, if there are male/female narrators they should read male/female parts respectively - the constant change of the characters' voices when two people read them can be annoying and confusing, and leaving the listener with the feeling of those characters having a split personality disorder...:)

DISCLAIMER: I was given this free review copy audiobook at my request and have voluntarily left this review.

2 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars

Missed the mark

This novel of Sandro Sookoo’s has all the elements needed to tell a good story: romance, mystery, driven characters and historical intrigue, but it turned out rather choppy and lack luster. I’m always willing to extended believability in romance novels, but this one just didn’t make sense in regards to the character’s motives vs. their actions. There were also a lot of backstory that was told to us to help develop a character’s persona but it was choppy and used too often.

It ended as expected but I wasn’t satisfied.

Narrator Anneliese Rennie‘s narration was too breathy for me liking but delivered at a fine pace and not overly dramatic.

Narrator Logan McAllister’s narration was truly fitting his role: Robust and Arrogant sounding. I think I would have enjoyed it more had he narrated the entire book.

Overall, I’m disappointed it didn’t reach the mark.

This audiobook was given to me in exchange for an honest review.

2 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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Enjoyable romance

What the Stubborn Viscount Desires was a good book. With romance and intrigue and some hot moments it did keep me listening. When Jonathan Banshire, Viscount Trewellain wins Sophia Wickham in a card game from Sophia's father Jonathan's aim is to release her of this, and Sophia doesn't want it either. When they are thrown together, (Sophia stows away on a boat to convince Jonathon to release her of the obligation, they end up together. As luck would have it.. they do fall in love.. but they also go through a lot of intrigue first as they are in search of the Holy Grail.

I did not enjoy the dual narration. Logan McAllister was good, but I had a hard time listening to Anneliese Rennie's narration.
I was given this free review copy audiobook at my request and have voluntarily left this review

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

An entertaining Regency romance and spy romp

What the Stubborn Viscount Desires is an entertaining Regency romance and spy romp that reminds me of movies like Romancing the Stone. I enjoyed the book, though I do have to wonder about the plausibility of some of the action, particularly considering the Viscount’s handicap. Contains graphic sex scenes.

Having a male and female narrator is an effective way to bring the book to life, and both narrators did a good job.

I received a complimentary copy of this audiobook. This is my honest and voluntary review.

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Loved it!

Loved the story and enjoyed the duel narrative of intrigue and romance. Strong heroine and a hero who learned that his flaws are not a weakness.

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

I enjoyed this book!

It took me a minute to get into it but once I did, I was pleasantly surprised.
The male narration was amazing, however, I wasn’t very fond of the female narrator. Her voice was either too soft spoken or the quality of the audio wasn’t that good. (IMO) That being said, overall, I did enjoy this book.

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

A Wonderfully Entertaining Adventure

I received this book for free. I am voluntarily leaving this review and all opinions expressed herein are mine.

This is the first book in the Lords of Happenstance series. It strongly reminds me of the Romancing the Stone moves with Michael Douglas and Kathleen Turner. It is a mystery, adventure and romance.

Here, Jonathan Banshire is a Viscount but also a King's Agent, whose duty is to the crown. He is assigned to find a missing peer and some missing jewels. When he boards the ship to start his assignment, he is confronted by his fiance - a woman he won in a card game against her father and whom he has not laid eyes on in 3 years. She demands that he either marry her or set her free. Now she is along for the adventure and very quickly proving to be an asset in his investigation.

I like this historical romance adventure - loved the globe trotting and the banter between the MC. It's a completely engaging fun story. Although, Sophia Wickham [the fiance] may be a bit modern in her thinking and quick to abandon the social mores of that time -but she was enjoyable and a good match to Jonathan.

This book has two narrators - male and female - who alternate reading chapters. I think having two narrators was unnecessary and a bit jarring when they switched. Either narrator would have done a good job but my preference would have been Logan McCalister with his deep brooding voice which seemed to encompass Jonathan's character.

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

Don't let the goofy cover hold you back from this.

What the Stubborn Viscount Desires is a highly entertaining tale of Jonathan, a viscount who is so much more under his foppish exterior, and Sophia, his supposed fiance. Although they have never met, Jonathan won Sophia's hand in a card game with her father three years ago. Rather than facing his responsibilities, he keeps disappearing, seemingly to avoid his obligations to his high born father and to Sophia. However, underneath the surface, Jonathan has great depth of character, and I quickly realized that so many of his supposed faults come from intense grief over past tragedies and mistakes. Unlike the Viscount, I liked Sophia from the beginning of the story, when she sneaks aboard the ship on which Jonathan is traveling to Spain and demands that he release her from their engagement, so she can begin living her life. She is spunky and determined, especially for a lady of the Victorian age, and I thoroughly enjoyed watching these two headstrong people spare.

Because Jonathan is actually traveling to Spain as part of his secret role as a spy for the British Crown, Sophia and he encounter all kinds of dangers and adventures. By spending this time together traveling and then searching for an ancient relic, Sophia and Jonathan develop a friendship that is made even stronger and deeper when Jonathan reveals his past to her, and Sophia reacts in ways that he could never have expected. By the end of the book, I thought that Jonathan was the perfect match for Sophia in every way, and I loved watching them achieve a happily ever after, fairy tale ending.

The story is told in alternating chapter, dual point of view style. Logan McAllister is an amazing narrator, and he is the perfect choice for Jonathan's tough, rugged personality. McAllister has a very low, throaty voice that makes an already sensual story even sexier. Anneliese Rennie does a great job with Sophia's character, and both narrators deliver a flawless performance. Between Sookoo's excellent storytelling skills, and the beautiful narration, this is absolutely a credit worthy audiobook selection.

I received a copy of this audiobook at my request in exchange for this honest review.