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I am a HUGE fan of the Escape to New Zealand series, Rosalind James and Claire Bocking as a narrator. I feel this reunion book is a thank you note to her fans and Claire did a great job with all the different voices. The All Blacks- old and new- are on December holiday and we catch up with old friends while they prepare for the wedding of Josie and Hugh from Just Not Mine.
At the center of the action are Hannah and Drew (Just This Once Book #1) who are expecting their third child any day. One of the most touching chapters includes Drew urging Hannah, with the help of his extended rugby family, to accept help with the household duties especially when she returns to work. The characters comments are engaging, and somewhat poignant.
Many of the wives are expecting and we get a glimpse of how things started and have continued for many of the character. This is where it became a bit cumbersome for me. There are eight players, their partners and seventeen kids. I know the series well, but although Claire does a great job with the voices, I found myself thinking, 'Whose kid was that?' Or, 'Wait, how were Ally and Nate connected to Drew and Hannah?'
There are steamy scenes with buff men in new places and with pregnant bellies involved. Some of the discourse is about making your pregnant woman feel special. James did a nice job of describing a man's love (and lust) for his pregnant wife. Thank you for that Ms. Rosalind.
It is a trip down memory lane for Hannah and Drew and I highly recommend it for lovers of the series. If you haven't heard the first books I would not recommend you start with this one. Save it, do the others first and then crack this one open.
I received a free copy of this audiobook in exchange for an honest review. I was not compensated for my review, and I was not required to write a positive review. The opinion expressed here is my own.
5 of 5 people found this review helpful
First off, this book could possibly be listened to by itself BUT the reader would probably feel like they're not completely "in" on everything since it involves history laid in the 1st six books. If a story based around rugby, more specifically the provincial,super and All Blacks teams interests you, this could be the series for you to explore. Now having said that AND having read the other books . . . it was good to "b" able to Escape to New Zealand once again. The play on the "b" is because of the background, believability, babies/pregnancies, brotherhood, bonding, beaches, bedrooms, backseats, and beginnings. It was fantastic to have details of situations from past books be filled in to really round out the stories. The book also makes the characters even more endearing because their insecurities and feelings of being "less than perfect" are revealed and dealt with in a very realistic manner. Pregnancy and babies are handled in a broad spectrum--from the issue of not being able to have biological children to should we have more to holy smokes, what have we really done & how are we going to manage another child? The interweaving of the lives of fictitious past and present All Blacks gives possible insight into the issues they might really have to deal with. The book helps to forge new bonds and strengthen old ones. Obviously the beach is going to factor into a book that is set in New Zealand in December--both in the bonding and "steamy" factor. Speaking of steamy . . . in addition to the beach, there's also bedroom and backseat happenings as well. As for the beginnings--so many to witness. From a wedding to a newly engaged couple to the growth of families. Can't wait to see how these evolve in future Escape to New Zealand installments!
As for the narration, I have to say that Claire Bocking really brought great stories to life once more and has reached a new level of phenomenal for several reasons. Her Kiwi accent is spot on and she seamlessly switches from narrator mode (her own voice) to Kiwi characters (including Paheka and Maori) to American characters. Not only that, she does a marvelous job of giving close to 20 individual characters their own voice and you can clearly tell who's "talking" even with out the prompting text/bits. We're talking a range from toddlers to young children to older children to teens to young adults to older adults. Once again, she emotes the narration and character speech with sincerity and believability. I found myself laughing, sighing, groaning and even crying because of the emotion she brings to the story. I just can't imagine anyone else doing the narration for this series of books and being so successful at it.
Now for the legal bit . . .I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. I was not compensated for my review, and I was not required to write a positive review. The opinion expressed here is my own. If you look at my reviews here, one Amazon and Good Reads you will find that I don't always leave a 5 star review. BTW--I would have gladly purchased this audio book with my own funds/credits.
4 of 5 people found this review helpful
Two things first Claire Bocking is a terrific narrator and Rosalind James can tell a good romantic story that's both interesting and enjoyable if you like plenty of steamy passages .i am no longer surprised that the AB's are not the power team that I thought as it looks , assuming the author did her research in depth and properly , they spent their energy being male nymphomaniacs . I was once told if you do it right the first time you don't need to do it all nugjt.
Yeh yeh I know it's fiction but there's no smoke without fire !!! Swing low sweet chariots . Lol
Some books seem made for audio and Just This Once is up there. In some ways, it's almost a series of conversations in that each featured couple tells an unknown aspect of their story - sometimes as a flashback, other times moving forward. It's a credit to Claire Bocking's skills once again that each character has their own voice and shading .
This book kept me company in the air on the way home from Australia - ideal because I wasn't interrupted by required work! It's fun too and we all need a little of that ...
If you have listened/ read any of the previous NZ books then you will be familiar with the
couples and probably be as delighted as I was to hear extra parts of their stories and some new developments. Koti and Kate continue to be a hot couple, ratching up the steam; Drew struggles slightly for once but true to form, squares up and Finn reveals an intuitive side that I hadn't previously discerned. Plus my favourite words of advice to Drew "show her more"!
I think this audio is best enjoyed if you have read/ listened to other books because it adds value, but it is more than good enough to stand alone and won't disappoint you.
Great expressive dialogue and writing from Rosalind James combined with top knotch reading from Claire Bocking.
I received a free copy of this book. I wasn't compensated or obliged to be positive, this is my honest opinion - I loved listening!