Story Rating: 4.5 stars
Audio Rating: 4.75 stars
Narrator: George A. Thorn
Length: 8 hours, 37 minutes
Sonnie Frye has made a name for himself designing costumes for the Queen Victoria theater, and is given the opportunity to design a wedding dress for a rich, and dare he say, spoiled socialite. Sonnie’s dislike of his client leads to a creative block that he can’t seem to shake, until one morning, when a co-worker shows Sonny a sketchbook belonging to Penn. From day one, Sonny had bitched about Penn’s lack of experience and age, and so finding a treasure trove of design ideas, one of which would be perfect for the demanding bride, makes Sonny rethink his original position. The two men work together and realize that the stumbling block has now become locating the perfect fabric.
Penn convinces a skeptical Sonnie that his friend Riley Davis’ shop has just the thing, and if not, Riley can find it. Penn was right about the fabric, but what was not expected was how intriguing Riley would be, prompting Sonnie to make return visits to Riley’s shop across town. Riley, still mourning the loss of his long-time partner ten years later, doesn’t know what to make of the flamboyant, energetic man that Penn has introduced to his life. It is apparent that Sonnie wants more, but friendship may be all Riley can give in return.
There is something to be said for a well-placed red herring, and Kostova did the job well. I fully expected the MCs to be Sonnie and Penn at first, and when the truth came out, I thought to myself “well done!”
Sonnie struck me as a bitchy, prickly, difficult man, and although he was indeed that at work, he showed a surprisingly gentle side to himself away from the Queen Victoria. At first, I was not convinced, but in the end, his consistent behavior, both at work and with Riley, made the feeling of duplicity go away. Riley struck me as such a sad character from the beginning, appearing to make progress, only to backslide, trapped by the memories of Richard’s death so many years before. Riley’s path to self-discovery was, as you can tell, a long one, and since I don’t want to give anything away, I will say that Riley’s extreme choice to find healing and closure, and Sonnie’s unending patience sure had me rooting for a HEA.
I am not sure what constitutes “normal” in the world of professional theater, but the excitement and energy reminded me of my high school theater years, times a hundred. I did find it odd that Riley could order the perfect fabric for Sonnie, when none of Sonnie’s regular shops could do it; this struck me as odd, and did pull me out of the story a bit.
This is the third audiobook that I have listened to with a British narrator, and I would have to say that George A. Thorn is the best I have heard so far. Thorn’s characterizations were distinctive and consistent, and his accent was not so heavy as to detract from the story Thorn’s pace was also just right, and he injected the right amount of emotion into his performance, thus making a good story that much better.