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I listened to Carry Me Home, the first book in Rosalind James' Paradise, Idaho series a few weeks ago and thoroughly enjoyed it. With this second book of the series, she has totally won me over. While I found Carry Me Home quite light-hearted with lots of witty banter and humor, the atmosphere of Hold Me Close was much more serious and highly emotional. I've read several books this year that focused on domestic abuse, but this one definitely affected me the most. The way the author portrayed the fear and insecurities of the abused, especially the effect it had on a young child, was really heartbreaking. The chapters from the abuser's point of view were totally creepy and disturbing.
That said, it wasn't all depressing and sad. There was plenty of fun stuff and romance, too. In fact, there were a lot more sex scenes in this one than in the previous one, so the emphasis was definitely on romance rather than suspense. My reason for giving this 4 instead of 5 stars: Luke was a bit too perfect to be real, and the shooting of the detective was a bit of a loose end. The suspense side of it just got resolved too easily and quickly for my taste.
Nevertheless, this series is now among my favorite romantic suspense series. Some of that may have to do with the absolutely awesome narration of the audio books by Phil Gigante and Natalie Ross. Love the way the narrators stick to their gender for narrating the male and female parts and swap back and forth within the chapters. Great audio production!
3 of 3 people found this review helpful
I read and loved this book so much. The author puts a lot of emotion into her characters, and I had to wipe my eyes every time I read a chapter with the young boy, Eli, in it. That being said, the narrators were good but could have been more awesome at bringing out the emotion in the characters. I did like the male/female switcheroo; it's just the narrators seemed a bit too old for the characters.
That being said, this is a GREAT STORY. and I can't wait to read & listen to the next one in the series.
2 of 2 people found this review helpful
I have loved many books by this writer, including the first in this series, but this one disappoints. It starts really well, with a chilling depiction of how someone can be sucked into an abusive relationship, and how difficult it is to escape, both emotionally and financially. However once the h starts her new life it just gets very tedious. The story had every small town cliché possible with “good honest country folk”, lovable dogs, friendly locals who show little curiosity in life of the h before she arrived, country kids who welcome the h’s son into their fold like a long lost brother and, naturally, there is the welcoming extended family of the H who live, of course, in a picture-perfect white farmhouse with the veranda, porch swing and nearby red barn. Even the threat of the violent ex failed to raise tension as he behaved like a cartoon villain where no one questioned him as he freely abused his legal powers.
I did not finish this book as I did not really care about any of the characters. The H was too perfect to be true, as he inserted himself into every part of the h’s life and didn’t put a foot wrong as he became an instant father figure to her son. Meanwhile the h seemed unrealistically ready to fall into another relationship (while constantly denying that she was doing so). I gave up at about the 50% mark when their first date was, of course, to the stereotypical happy country fair, complete with funfair rides and corndogs. Lots of reader will love this book, but it was just too sugary sweet for me to finish.
Just not at all my type book sorry be so honest don't grip or make me many thirsty next chapters
Would you consider the audio edition of Hold Me Close to be better than the print version?
Yes, as a direct result of both the unique method of narration used for this audiobook and the performance of the actors.
Who was your favorite character and why?
Unable to choose - all the characters were so well researched, well written & had such depth to them (even the bad guy!).
What about Phil Gigante and Natalie Ross ’s performance did you like?
Amazing!! Due to the method used for the narration of this book, consistency of performance was wonderful. The acting abilities of both Phil Gigante & Natalie Rose were outstanding, and their portrayal of this book's characters made this the best audiobook performance I have ever had the pleasure of listening to.
Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?
Any additional comments?
It is extremely rare for me to write a full review of any Audible or Kindle book, and I am a prolific listener/reader. This book, however, definitely merits one.
Finally an Audible book has been narrated with the male actor performing all of the male characters, and the female actor portraying all of the female characters - just as you would hear in a movie or tv series! This is instead of the more common methods employed, where either there is one narrator doing all the voices of every character for the entire book, or the other frequently used method where although there is one male and one female narrator, these actors voice alternate chapters, one from the female characters perspective, then one from the male character's perspective. Using ether of these methods, generally the actors would do a very poor job of voicing the opposite sex; in addition, using the alternating method usually results in a very obvious lack of consistency in both character accent and portrayal. The method used in this book was much more appealing, also resulting in consistency in both character performance and accent. THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU !!! In my opinion, this is the way all Audible books should have always been produced, and I hope that all future ones will be produced with the same respect to male and female characters.
The characters in this book had great depth and were very well portrayed by the author and actors. A special mention to both Phil Gigante & Natalie Rose for their fabulous performances - their acting skills in particular really added to the overall appeal of this story and my listening pleasure. The storyline was extremely well researched and well written. In depth discussions and observations between the characters regarding their introspective views on life in general, as well as their perspectives on adversities faced, really made for a thought provoking story.
Rosalind James has created a very interesting and appealing story. The only way that she could have improved it, would have been to have included more sex scenes with greater detail (but that is simply my personal preference when it comes to the Romance or Erotica genres).
Angie (AKA - Nina Warrior Piglet!)