We all know how important first impressions are: to me they instantly set my attitude and mood for the rest of any encounter, be it a person, place or thing. While my first introduction to this author/narrator combination was more than rough, I had hopes that the second time around would be better. It was, marginally.
While I expected another in the line of a more historical feeling romance, this story held a feel that leaned to fantasy, with elements that were historically referential, but I never did quite shake that feel. All of the stories in the series refer to a tested by trial love match: where the brides are either captive or blindsided into a marriage, and the emotions and connection grow in time. A rather interesting premise if you are able to get over the ick factor in the power imbalance, but no more shocking to a historical romance fanatic than the lack of women’s power and position in the stories we love.
In this book we have Avril – captured by Hauk and brought to Asgaard, a remote Viking island that seems to hold residents in a sort of thrall. Viking lore combines with some undefined as to era historical elements that allow the relationship between the two to progress as they familiarize themselves with one another and their emotional connection does feel believable and possible. There is an epic struggle for Hauk and Avril to free themselves from the mysterious grasp of the island, and they show a solid connection that begs readers to follow along. Characters are fairly well developed, and their voices and actions feel correct as they progress through the story.
But, again we run into the stumbling block that is the narration from Julia Motyka. The introduction was more of what I had experienced in the other title: overly dramatized delivery with pauses added for effect that only served to annoy and distract. Her delivery is erratic, with emphasis placed every 3rd to 5th word throughout the first few chapters. Imagine it as this: “he went TO the market and bought A pig for (pause) dinner.” After an hour of that – you are ready to call it a day. Fortunately that overreaching delivery did lessen as the story went on, while she never dissolved to monotone, the less emphatic delivery was characterized with unnecessary pauses added for effect, with several mispronunciations and almost falters that seemed to be reason for the pauses. I wanted better. I hoped that her style was affected for the style of the first narration that I reviewed, but I am not sure exactly what her style or plan is in presentation, and honestly am no longer intrigued enough to investigate.
I think that readers who are looking for a fantasy/historic story would enjoy this title in print form. I cannot say the same for the narrated version.
Stars: Overall: 2.5 Narration: 2 Story: 3
Title: His Captive Bride
Author: Shelly Thacker
Genre: Historical Romance
Narrator: Julia Motyka
Published by: Summit Avenue Books
Source: AudioBook Jukebox
Audio Length: 11 Hours: 22 minutes
Heat: Get Your Copy: Amazon ♦ AllRomance
Originally published under the title Timeless.
She's swept away to a hidden island paradise filled with pleasures... and secrets.
Abducted from a trade fair by a mysterious warrior, Lady Avril de Varennes awakens on Asgard Island, an enchanted paradise cloaked in mists and mystery, kept secret from the world for centuries. Against her will, Avril weds her arrogant captor, Hauk Valbrand--even as she vows to escape. Hauk believes himself beyond the reach of love, until his fiery captive bride begins to melt his heart of ice. But soon he must reveal the stunning truth about Asgard and its people--and Hauk and Avril must choose between love and honor, duty and desire... now and forever.
This revised and expanded ebook edition includes additional scenes never before published. The ebook is significantly different from the 1998 Dell paperback published under the title Timeless
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.