Jill Shalvis returns to the blog today with the fifth book in her Lucky Harbor contemporary romance series, this one narrated by Erin Bennett. This one is Amy’s story, yet another of the chocoholics finds her moment in
I don’t know about you, but I can’t help but hear the old classic, in Ella Fitzgerald’s voice, every time I see this title. Amy’s story is a bit like the song: you know it’s going to be a fun and engaging story, full of romance and enjoyment, and you can’t help but feel s if you could hug this feeling to you for hours. Amy and Matt both have found sanctuary and growth in Lucky Harbor, and have started to rebuild their lives for the better, even though many issues remain And I loved both Amy and Matt, for different reasons, here is where the small-town feel and sense of community helps in their healing and coming together in ways unexpected.
Amy lost her grandmother when she was young, and this left and angry tween with a mother she didn’t really know or like, as she acted out and lied, manipulated and used sex as a tool, a tool that exploded spectacularly when a situation with her stepfather escalated, and she wasn’t believed – so she ran. Landing in Lucky Harbor, Amy has worked hard on herself, and in continuing that journey- she’s using an old journal from her grandmother to find a path to the woman she wants to be. No one in Lucky Harbor knows her full story, but she’s got friends who support and listen whenever she wants to share – and they are even a bit nudgy – pushing her forward into a relationship.
Matt is former Chicago SWAT after time in the Navy. After his life there imploded, with a partner on the take, and a wife that blamed him for doing the right thing and making tough choices, his marriage ended and he wanted a retreat. Having met Ty in the Navy, he’s come to Lucky Harbor for a fresh start and a new descriptive, “Ranger Hot Buns”. He’s still all protective male, but his interest in commitment is nonexistent: he’s not willing to risk the hurt and anguish again. He knows Amy, he eats in her diner every day, and he’s attracted to her, but he believes that she deserves more than a few no-strings encounters – so it’s all hands off.
Our couple has more issues from their past than others, and their ability to trust another person with their soft underbelly is the first of many. But with Amy lost as she followed some directions from the diary, and Matt dispatched by Mallory to go find her – their first ‘away from prying eyes’ moments happen –and things start to grow between them from there. From off the charts chemistry to the slow in sharing pasts, the two start a no-strings thing that quickly becomes something more – as they are so perfectly matched and suited to one another. A new runaway in town adds layers to both Amy and Matt – her in having the Been There Done That t-shirt, and Matt understanding the dangers to runaways and his never-ending need to protect those he’s come to know.
Erin Bennett provides the narration for this story and it was a vastly different experience from the previous book, sadly not in a good way. The performance here was more of a ‘reading from the kid at the back of the class in 5th grade.” Monotone, few inflections, no distinction between character voices and little allowance or adjustment for pacing and the need to savor some moments. Amy felt ‘older’ than her years, Riley was nothing close to a teen and the other characters were wholly missed, taking the pops of emotion and chemistry that was SO apparent in the text and failing to translate it to the audio. If you’ve ever listened to the kindle reader version of audio when a fully-produced version in audio isn’t available – you’ll get the same feeling. If I didn’t love the author and this town, I’d be hard pressed to finish this performance – but even Shalvis’ writing and care in presenting characters who you feel you must care about weren’t presented with the care or flair that they deserved.
I didn’t love the performance, and won’t actively search out more from this narrator past the books I have in queue- but the writing and the feels from this story are solidly Shalvis- and worth everyone’s time to read.
Stars: 4 Narration 1 Story 5
Title: At Last
Author: Jill Shalvis
Series: Lucky Harbor #5
Also in this series: It's in His Kiss , Lucky in Love , Forever and a Day, It Had to Be You, Always on My Mind, Once in a Lifetime
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Narrator: Erin Bennett
Published by: Forever, Hachette Audio
Published on: 26 June, 2012
Source: Hachette Audio
Audio Length: 9 Hours: 21 minutes
Heat: Get Your Copy: Amazon ♦ Barnes&Noble ♦ iTunes ♦ Kobo ♦ IndieBound ♦ Google ♦Audible ♦Direct from Publisher
HER LOVE HAS COME ALONG . . .
Amy Michaels loves her new life in Lucky Harbor. A waitress in the local diner, she’s looking forward to her first weekend hike through the mountains. But when a wrong turn takes her off the trail, she finds herself up close and personal with forest ranger Matt Bowers. And even though she’s tempted to kiss that sexy smile right off his face, she won’t make the mistake of getting involved with the town heartthrob.
A former cop whose life went south, Matt doesn’t let anyone get too close. But something about the feisty beauty caught his eye the moment he first saw her in the diner. After a hot night under a starry sky, Matt can’t deny their attraction-or the fact that for the first time in a long time, he feels the stirrings of something more. Now it’s up to Matt to help Amy see that, no matter what is in their past, together they can build a future in Lucky Harbor.
A copy of this title was provided via Hachette Audio for purpose of honest review. I was not compensated for this review: all conclusions are my own responsibility.