Back in the late 1990’s and early 2000’s, I gobbled up Julie Garwood’s books like candy. At first, it was just her historicals. Then, she released Heartbreaker, her first contemporary romantic suspense novel, and I found myself hooked on those as much, if not more than the historicals. Sadly, after about 2006, I stopped reading Ms. Garwood’s work. I can’t really point to a reason. I guess I just got caught up in other things. However, when Fast Track was released, I decided to reacquaint myself with this author’s work.
Cordelia Kane is a Daddy’s girl. It’s been just the two of them for as long as she can remember. And so, when her beloved father dies from a heart attack, Cordelia is bereft. Her grief turns to bewilderment when she reads a letter her father wrote, explaining that the mother she thought long dead was actually alive. Why was it kept a secret? Why would a mother just leave her young child behind? Unfortunately, answers aren’t easy to find. After much thought, Cordelia decides to travel to Australia where her mother lives. There, she hopes to find answers, and maybe get a little revenge in the process.
Aiden Madison has known Cordelia forever. She’s his younger sister’s best friend, after all. He likes her well enough, but he is completely unaware of the crush Cordelia has had on him since they were teenagers. When Aiden plans a business trip to Sydney, he’s pressured to take Cordelia with him. He agrees, and gets swept up in the drama and passion that ensues.
As is common in Ms. Garwood’s novels, our hero is very, very protective of the heroine. At times, I found this annoying, as Aiden treats Cordelia a lot like a helpless child. At least, he does when they aren’t having sex. I wanted him to realize how strong and independent Cordelia was, and let her fight some of her own battles. Don’t get me wrong. A little protectiveness is okay, but keeping someone a virtual prisoner in a hotel room is taking things just a little too far.
I’ve listened to numerous titles narrated by Tanya Eby. Overall, I find her to be a competent narrator. However, Fast Track tested her skills just a little. Since a great deal of the book is set in Australia, it was necessary for Ms. Eby to adopt an Australian accent. All I can say is this did not work well. I have several close friends who are Australian. None of them sound remotely like Ms. Eby’s rendering of the Australian characters in this book.
Having said that, I must also say that I found her depictions of both Aiden and Cordelia to be more than credible. She captures the subtle nuances that make these characters into real people, rather than just two-dimensional beings.
There were times when the writing kept me on the edge of my seat. However, these times caused Ms. Eby to speak in an overly dramatic way. It made it hard for me to take the danger seriously, despite what the author intended.
Although this book is part of a series, it stands perfectly well on its own. You see characters from other books, but knowledge of their stories is not truly necessary for a full understanding of Aiden and Cordelia’s story.
In terms of the writing, Fast Track is a solid romantic suspense novel. It reminded me of all the things I like so much about Julie Garwood’s writing. True, I might quibble a bit with Aiden’s treatment of Cordelia, but, putting that aside, I found myself thoroughly enjoying this book. There was a subplot involving a corrupt politician that I could have done without. Even so, I was completely engrossed.
Breakdown of Grade – Narration: C+ and Book Content: B
Unabridged. Length – 8 hours 9 minutes