I needed a lighter romance with some interesting spin, and Julie Ortolon’s title managed to create that for me without issue, and it also puts a spin on the”self-help” genre (a particular non-favorite of mine) giving the characters a needed kick in the pants while actually dealing with long-standing issues.
Maddy, Christine, Amy and Jane were suitemates and friends in university: and now ten years later Jane is published with her new book How to Have a Perfect Life. Maddy, Christine and Amy are still very close, and do the right thing – appear to support a friend who has become more distant since they left school. But, when they open the book and see that they are all used as ‘what not to do’ examples in the book, they decide that they won’t stall – they make a bet that in the next year they all must tackle the fear that Jane had noted, and overcome it.
This is Maddy’s story: and recently her life has been all about recovery after nursing her husband during a long illness, and managing his business, before liquidating after his death. Maddy had always hoped to be an artist: in fact her now deceased husband had planned for her to create her art while he worked at building his accounting business. But, needs must and her personal dreams were put on hold, and her friends also have found a stalling point in their own lives.
Highlights include the interactions: the caring friends, the reconnection between Joe and Maddy, and Maddy and Mama Frasier, the owner of the summer camp that will give Maddy the space and place to kickstart her own part of the challenge. As the Arts Director, Maddy will be teaching, supervising and organizing the arts program at this New Mexico summer camp, while leaving her plenty of inspiration and opportunity to get back into the swing of a productive artist.
The hesitation from both Maddy and Joe was realistic, and the reasons that they both held anger and fears about their own broken high school love affair led into further revelations from both Maggie and Joe, and forces them to look forward to the “what next’ in their life. Not wanting to let her friends down, and actually being excited by the challenge, Maddy is willing to take those first tentative steps into her new life. Steamy hot – the emotions between the two set off sparks: some angry and hurt, others desiring yet afraid, and make their interactions full of emotion. They are electric together and their connection both physical and emotional fuels their growth.
Narration in this story is provided by Jane Cramer who uses subtle shifts and changes to define individual character voices, and they all feel natural and not over-emoted. She doesn’t over-act the voice of Joe – using a harder and quicker delivery style to present him, the perfect addition of masculine energy without presenting as a caricature. At the 1x speed, I found her enunciation felt far too ‘careful’, moving the speed up to 1.25 brought a nice conversational speed without damaging the presentation.
Stars: Overall: 4 Narration:4 Story: 4
Title: Almost Perfect
Author: Julie Ortolon
Narrator: Jane Cramer
Published by: Ortolon Publishing
Source: AudioBook Jukebox
Audio Length: 8 Hours: 21 minutes
Heat: Get Your Copy: Amazon ♦ AllRomance ♦ iTunes ♦ Downpour ♦ IndieBound
Maddy, Christine, and Amy, friends since college, are thrilled to learn their old suitemate's self-help book, How to Have a Perfect Life, has become a smashing bestseller - until they realize she used them as negative examples of how women let fear mess up their lives. The worst part is…it's sort of true. So, the three friends make a pact: They each have one year to face down their fears - and prove Miss Perfect wrong!
A free spirited artist - Maddy was always the artistic one of the group, full of life from her saucy red curls to her vintage hippie skirts. Her challenge, the friends decide, is to get her artwork accepted at a gallery. A job as arts director at a summer camp near Santa Fe - with its thriving art scene - seems like just the thing.
There's just one catch: The camp is run by Maddy's high school flame, Joe, whose heart she smashed when she chose her art over marriage to him. His anger over the breakup hasn't cooled one bit. But neither has their attraction. Old desires burn hotter than ever as Joe makes it clear there's only one way back into his heart: She has to get serious about the art career she once valued above all else. But will falling in love help or hinder Maddy as she struggles to meet her challenge?
A copy of this title was provided via AudioBook Jukebox for purpose of honest review. I was not compensated for this review: all conclusions are my own responsibility.