Rumor Has It
I gave a lukewarm review to the audio version of one of Ms. Shalvis’ last books, Always on My Mind, and after reading Dabney’s review here of the print version of Rumor Has It (a C+), was a bit afraid this might turn into another lukewarm listen. It didn’t. I enjoyed the story (especially the quirky heroine) and loved the narration. This latest entry in the author’s Animal Magnetism series is an enjoyable listen and one I can recommend.
I’ll have to be honest, though: I wasn’t certain how the heroine Kate Evans would fare in a romance of her own. When I was first introduced to her in Rescue My Heart, I found her intelligent but socially awkward. She is also clearly a “good girl,” very sweet, with a strong attraction to her best friend Holly’s bad boy older brother, soldier Griffin Reid.
Griffin’s been away from Sunshine (the setting of the story) for most of his adult life while serving around the world in the army. He’s back now for his sister Holly’s wedding (Holly was the heroine of Rescue My Heart). Griffin’s also recovering from a major head injury that forced him to leave the army and left him with lingering health issues. Ms. White uses a rather world-weary voice for Griffin’s sections, which is appropriate given his current health and job status.
But for me, the real star of the book is Kate, and I know she won’t appeal to all romance readers. Is she almost too good to be true? Sure. Kate spends most of her time taking care of everyone else: the students in her second grade class, her widowed father, her younger siblings, and her ex-boyfriend. While doing all of this, she’s put off her dreams of attending a one-year hands-on science master’s program in California. Despite all of this, Kate has enough foibles that I enjoyed her.
Kate is a self-proclaimed science geek, and I love how she blurts out the most amusing (and often inappropriate) science facts when flustered. I also love the voice Karen White uses when Kate blurts out these facts; she makes Kate sound both embarrassed and just unable to stop herself, exactly the way I expect her to sound. I particularly love that Kate isn’t just about science or caring for others. She longs for a sex life, has friends, is addicted to ice cream, and has many other endearing qualities. But it’s that desire for a sex life that has her actively trying to seduce Griffin.
Kate isn’t the only one feeling an attraction. Griffin’s strongly attracted to Kate, but is warned off by his sister to leave her BFF alone. It’s that “BFF and siblings shouldn’t get involved rule” that seems to appear in so many romances. Aside from the rule, Griffin thinks Kate’s too sweet for him, and that she deserves a permanent relationship, something he’s not ready to give.
I like that when Kate and Griffin finally do get together in the book, Kate doesn’t abandon her love of science or her love of her family. In fact, she finds out that in addition to being attracted to her physically, Griffin really loves the science facts she spouts when nervous.
In addition to doing a great job with Kate and Griffin, Ms. White is marvelous at making each of the secondary characters sound unique and both age and gender appropriate. I was never in doubt as to which person was talking. Kate’s young brother sounds like the awkward, bright second grader he is. The voice she gives to Kate’s teenage sister perfectly matches her hormonal, pouty, and often selfish words and behaviors.
If you’ve only read Ms. Shalvis in print and haven’t yet read Rumor Has It, I’d encourage you to give it a try in audio format. The combination of Ms. Shalvis’ writing and Ms. White’s narration is a winner for me.
Breakdown of Grade – Narration: A- and Book Content: B
Unabridged. Length – 9 hours 17 minutes