The village of Stamford, the quintessential chocolate-box English scene, seemed an impossible dream for foster kid Toby Prentiss. Now he's found a home among the haystacks and village fairs as the general manager for the Duck and Drake Hotel. With the fears and demons from his youth hidden away in this bucolic oasis, he's very protective of who he lets in. Until he stumbles across shirtless carpenter Rain Engel building the hotel's new custom-designed bar.
Working in the countryside, Rain prepared to face his biggest fear: sheep. He didn't expect to deal with his second biggest fear: commitment. Toby's controlled tough-guy façade coupled with his "find happiness where you can" optimism calls to Rain like nothing before. While Rain may be an exhibitionist, his romantic history forces him to hold his emotions close. As their relationship develops, secrets from their pasts drive a wedge between them: the ex-boyfriend who tore apart Rain's trust and Toby's history with the law. But can the secrets hiding among the quirky villagers bring them together? With missing sheep, pole dancing at the winter festival, and a crippling drought, everyone is waiting for Rain.
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Hated the character voices!
WARNING: This is an entirely subjective review.
While I will not, and rightly cannot, deny Matthew Lloyd Davies delivers a good narration performance, I absolutely loathed the voices he used for the main characters. I thought he made Toby sound like a 50+ year old poncy twat, and Rain, who was supposed to be South African, at times, to me, sounded way more Germanic or Italian than South African. So it kind of ruined the whole thing for me. That being said, the rest of his narration was quite good. Timing, inflection, performance – all fine.
Told in alternating first-person POVs, we are introduced to Toby when he boots his boyfriend to the curb after the dickhead hits him. I literally cheered at this scene. It was so refreshing to see someone defend himself the way Toby does.
Some months later, Toby meets Rain when Rain and his partner, Lucas, come to the Duck and Drake Hotel (where Toby is the General Manager) to build a custom pub. After a rocky start, Toby and Rain begin seeing each other (read: blowing and jacking each other in the garden shed). While the physical part of their relationship is immediate and WHITE HOT, the emotional side is a bit of a slow burn. Both men have secrets and things they are hiding from each other, which take some time to come to light.
This story is chockablock full of sex, in every way, shape and form. It’s also chock full of a bunch of bloated side plots involving homophobic assholes, weird sheep phobias, sheepnapping, humor, pole dancing, TSTL moments, more humor, and more sex. It was a glut of extra everything, which admittedly served at times to move along the relationship between Toby and Rain, but got old. Fast. Honestly, with as much as I was hating the narration by the time it was only halfway through I was wishing it was over. Surprisingly though, it wasn’t the narration, but the story itself that managed to trip my rage switch at around 54%.
Aside from that though, it’s a funny, quirky, bit-long-winded, romance with a lot of sex. I think I might have liked it more had I been reading rather than listening. Maybe not, given the things I was ragey about though.
- Amazon Customer