New to me author, Melanie Moreland is on the blog today with her unique contemporary romance featuring two issue-laden people and the things that separate them. Narrated by Tatiana Sokolov and John Lane, please read on for my review of the audio version of
Over the Fence
Nathan and Kourtney have spent their lives to this point struggling to find acceptance, self-confidence, and security in the world. Individually, Nathan has chosen solitude as a way to buttress his own safetly net. Kourtney has chosen to hide behind an almost Pollyanna-ish approach, as long as you don’t look too deeply. Neighbors separated by a tall fence, the two begin a quiet flirtation, unseen and reasonably honest. Slowly, secrets about Kourtney’s past and difficult life with her family are revealed, and an unwelcome and unexpected visit from her family sends her reeling and Nathan into ‘go mode’. Well, sort of. She’s mostly honest with him about her issues, he’s not nearly as forthcoming.
As the story is written, it’s seriously slow, as in crawling along through the better part of the book. The character of Kourtney was over-the-top navel gazing, with more energy spent in bemoaning (repeatedly) her insecurities. Ok. I get it. She has issues. And those create issues for her and Nathan. But, with little conflict created as we work through the multiple issues made my interest wane. Repeatedly. And, I will say that the frequent repetitions of words and phrases made me want to throw something. Thesaurus anyone? Bueller? That may seem harsh, but when you can predict that the heroine will “giggle” here – and she giggles often, that’s too many uses of that one word / action.
Narration for this book is provided by Tatiana Sokolov and John Lane., and to their credit, both provided voices and performances that fit the characters, and did present the appropriate affect for the emotional moments It was their portrayals that kept me listening, hoping for the story to pick up and move forward, give me some reason to see these two together, or a reason more concrete than proximity and timidity. While Sokolov managed to tone down the often-adolescent whining from Kourtney, much to my great relief, she also somehow managed to portray the solid kindness and intelligence buried under the rubble of her self-confidence. Lane used a softer and more approachable tone for Nathan, we see his humor and kindness, even as he does redirect and avoid his own personal secrets. There is a sweetness to Nathan that Lane did capture, never going overly saccharine, but dancing on that edge, often.
Overall, once the story actually became less about the individuals circling the drain with their own issues, the story did pick up incrementally, and the romance was sweet and gentle, if more than a bit unrealistic with these two and all of their own issues. Most telling, and to the overall demise of a palpable feel of a connection was the lack of conflict or struggle when issues between them (and revelations of secrets) happened. Each issue arose, was dealt with it in a very mater-of-fact manner in a total 180 degree shift from the navel-gazing that characterized the first half to two thirds of the title, and then was gone. Forgotten. Uneven doesn’t even come close to describing the changes, none actually explained by simple character growth, that occurs. It didn’t make sense, and even after reviewing my notes and feelings about this story, still doesn’t.
Uneven, disjointed and perhaps a bit too contrived for the HEA to occur, along with a serious need for editing to remove the frequent repeats of words, refrains and actions that never are resolved but disappear, this was a read that just missed the mark for me in all ways but narration.
Stars: Overall 3 Narration 4 Story 2
Title: Over the Fence
Author: Melanie Moreland
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Narrator: John Lane, Tatiana Sokolov
Published by: Self-Published, Tantor Audio
Published on: 31 January 2017
Source: Tantor Audio
Audio Length: 9 Hours: 48 minutes
Heat: Get Your Copy: Amazon ♦ Barnes&Noble ♦ iTunes ♦ Kobo ♦ IndieBound ♦ Book Depository ♦ Google ♦Audible ♦Tantor Audio
Two neighbors—strangers—with one thing in common—they share a fence.
But is that the only thing they share?
Nathan Fraser lives a solitary life, never letting anyone get too close. It’s safer that way.
Kourtney Whyte hides from the world and behind her work, too afraid to really live her life to the fullest. Rejection is what she knows best.
But one night, the sound of her soft voice and the tantalizing aroma of her evening meal, prove too enticing for Nathan to ignore.
So begins their unconventional relationship—talking, learning, texting, and gradually opening up to one another, all over the fence.
That is, until the day Nathan braves the high fence to protect Kourtney from her past, and changes everything forever.
Can they move forward together, without the buffer of the fence?
Or will their pasts prove to be too much of a barrier?
A copy of this title was provided via Tantor Audio for purpose of honest review. I was not compensated for this review: all conclusions are my own responsibility.
Reading this book contributed to these challenges: