I’m over at Dear Author with My Top 10 list of 2022 – plus a non-fiction bonus book just because. I’d love to hear from readers what books made their own best of lists.
Monthly Mini Review
A Thief in the Night by KJ Charles – B+ At just under 3 hours of listening time, this little delight was easy to squeeze into my listening schedule. Those of us who’ve read or listened to The Gentle Art of Fortune Hunting may remember that siblings Marianne and Robin were missing a brother – Toby. He’d left home suddenly some years before after a falling out with their father and, while they understood why he’d left, they missed him and wondered what happened to him. We listeners need wonder no more as here he is.
Toby isn’t so much a thief as someone who steals things when “needs must”. He’s happy to work for a living but it’s not always easy to find work and there have been times where he’s stolen or sold himself to survive. While his preference would be not to do either of those things I got the sense that he doesn’t let what he has to do sometimes get him down too much. As the novella begins, Toby meets a handsome aristocratic man in a tavern. They have an enjoyable encounter in the dark and Toby has real regret when he later steals Miles’ watch and pocketbook – but, needs must.
Miles has just returned from the war and is on his way home. He had been estranged from his own father and had hoped they could reconcile but he’s found out he’s a week too late – his father suddenly passed away. When Miles, now the Earl of Arvon, does make it home, he finds a house in terrible disarray. The land has been sold off, there’s only one horse and the house is full of junk – his father was a hoarder of sorts.
I’m over at Dear Author with a review of Sailor’s Delight by Rose Lerner. Lots to like in this m/m romance between a navy agent and a sailing master set at Rosh Hashanah.
I’m over at Dear Author with Janine and a joint review of Remember Love by Mary Balogh. I liked it better than Janine did – very possibly because of its similarities with my favourite Balogh, Heartless.
I’m over at AudioGals with a review of When Blood Lies by CS Harris, narrated by Jenny Sterlin. Great story but I did not like the narrator’s Sebastian voice.
Monthly Mini Review
Flowers From the Storm by Laura Kinsale, narrated by Nicholas Boulton – A I was inspired to listen to this one again after reading this post over at Close Reading Romance. I’ve listened before (I reviewed it here for the old Speaking of Audiobooks column when it first came out) and I’ve read it in print as well but it’s a book that reveals something more on each encounter. There is something especially about Boulton’s portrayal of the characters (most especially Maddy) that makes them more complicated and sympathetic and nuanced than even they were on the page.
The things that struck me most about this listen apart from, again that I felt more in sync with Maddy on audio than I did in print, was that the deception Jervaulx practiced on Maddy was not ever addressed. The first part was, kind of but the main one? Not at all. Maddy didn’t confront him about it and therefore Jervaulx never specifically apologised for it. Ordinarily that would be a thing that would bother me but in this case, by the end it was superfluous. My take was that Maddy never raised it because it didn’t really matter. She understood why Jervaulx did what he did. She loved him for all of his sins and, ultimately she wanted to be with him. It’s not that it didn’t matter exactly – but also it kind of didn’t matter. What the deception did was provide her with a way out and that led to her revelation that she didn’t want one after all. If not for that, she may have felt trapped forever and would never have been able to embrace her HEA. Not that Jervaulx’s actions were justified – just that it’s a neat bit of plotting to bring that silver lining out.