Narrator Natalie Ross brings terrific pace, expressiveness, and wit to Susan Mallery’s fourth and final installment of her Lone Star Sisters series. Ross makes the most of the fast-paced, snappy dialogue, as well as the satisfyingly rich emotional foundation that is the trademark of Mallery’s storytelling.
The hero and heroine are both tough, smart, and fearless. They also share a sense of themselves as outsiders whose childhood traumas left them with thick layers of emotional body armor. Ross’ perceptive grasp of their fears and vulnerabilities around love gives their romance, with its two-steps-forward-one-step-back tension, a deeply satisfying depth and intimacy for the listener.
Ross captures the complex thrill of a first kiss that also carries the realization that these two people’s hearts are suddenly in danger. Then she turns around and brings laugh-out-loud hilarity to the makeover scene where our heroine makes her first horrified encounter with shapewear.
Hot on Her Heels brings the three heroines from the previous stories back together, and Ross effortlessly differentiates between the four women. She moves easily between izzy’s boundless energy, Lexi’s warmth, and Sky’s big-sister protectiveness. And she gives depth and richness to heroine Dana Birch’s tough, self-protective determination as all four women deal with careers, family, love, and life.
it’s also a pleasure to hear how she finds satisfying variations in the raft of Texan voices, and brings a particularly light touch to the voice of Kathy, the hero’s mentally handicapped mother.
Ross conveys the emotional richness of the characters without sacrificing the dramatic tension of the suspense elements in the plot. Her pace slows nicely when characters are challenged to grow and change emotionally, picking up speed and urgency when they must take action against a villain out to destroy anything that gets in his way, including his family, friends, and his country.
Don’t worry if you haven’t read the first three books in the Lone Star Sisters series, Hot on her Heels is a wonderfully satisfying standalone story made all the more enjoyable by a clever and talented narrator. Nancy Carter