Thank You For Listening
If you’re a fan of contemporary romances in audio, chances are you’re already familiar with Julia Whelan’s work behind the microphone. After turning her hand to writing romance in 2019 with My Oxford Year, she’s back with Thank You For Listening, an emotionally gripping, touching and yet fun story about two audiobook narrators who unexpectedly fall in after a chance encounter.
The amazingly-named Sewanee – Swan – Chester is proud of her job as an audiobook narrator, especially as it allows her to stretch her acting muscles while looking after her dementia-stricken grandmother. She’s largely given up on acting in the physical realm after an on-set injury killed her rising acting career, but being a famous personality in the audiobook world means personal appearances, which also means going to conventions to promote her talent. When a handsome man sweeps her off of her feet for a one-night stand in Las Vegas, she thinks that that’s all there’ll be to it.
Sewanee is surprised to be offered the chance to narrate a romance novel by a recently-deceased bestselling author. She normally rejects romance novel jobs because her first love ended tragically, but then she learns the man who’ll be voicing her character’s love interest is none other than Brock McNight. Brock is a popular voice with a mysterious past and a face the public has never seen. Sewanee naturally wants to find out more about him, so she decides to join the project. But when she learns Brock’s real identity, she’s thrown for a loop.
If you know anything about romance novels, you already know how Sewanee’s one-night stand and Brock’s mysterious self come together, but Thank You For Listening builds up a steamy, banter-filled and spicy-fun romance between them so quickly that it doesn’t matter if you get there before the story does. At least for the first half of the book. I liked Sewanee, but it was hard for me to like ‘Brock’ after a while; I mean, the man’s a non-reader who narrates books for a living! When they stooped to jumping to the worst conclusions about one another because it’s romance and ‘tis the plot, I had to groan. I wanted more of everything I liked about their relationship to stretch deeper into the book.
Also problematic is the sheer amount of plot in the book. There’s a lot going on – Sewanee’s career, her grandmother’s illness, her unresolved trauma. Add on career issues, stuff going on with her parents and a whole lot of other baggage, and it’s really too much. It could have done with being around a hundred pages shorter, which would have prevented the odd end-of-book crash. But even with that factored in, Thank You For Listening is a pretty satisfying ride overall.
Buy it at: Amazon, Audible or your local independent retailer
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Lisa Fernandes is a writer, reviewer and recapper who lives somewhere on the East Coast. Formerly employed by Firefox.org and Next Projection, she also currently contributes to Women Write About Comics. Read her blog at http://thatbouviergirl.blogspot.com/, follow her on Twitter at http://twitter.com/thatbouviergirl or contribute to her Patreon at https://www.patreon.com/MissyvsEvilDead or her Ko-Fi at ko-fi.com/missmelbouvier