Story Rating: 2.5 stars
Audio Rating: 2 stars
Narrator: David Gilmore
Length: 8 hours, 3 minutes
Sam Miller-Greene has just found out that his husband, Henry Miller-Greene, is alive. Sam and Henry had a quiet life with great careers that allowed for travel to remote locations. But Henry’s plane went down five years ago and all of the passengers were presumed dead. Yet, they didn’t all die. Henry, along with two other men and an infant they name Buddy, survived and made their way to a small, uninhabited island.
The group of four endured all of the conditions on the island, while it took Sam years to come to terms with losing Henry. He has finally moved on with the help of Nash, to whom he is engaged to be married. The news of Henry’s survival is everything Sam always wanted, but now he has to choose between Henry and Nash.
The premise of this book is everything I like to read. A disaster with survivors culminating in a reunited love story. The execution here, however, was lacking for me and the style of the book didn’t work for me in a lot of areas. One area was the narrator, but when I separated out the story from the performance, there was still way too much telling and not nearly enough showing for this type of story.
The prologue opens with Sam finding out Henry has been found alive, which I took to mean present day. Yet, the chapters then alternate between what is called present day, but is actually the five years prior to the crash. The book then moves between the history of Sam and Henry, Henry’s time on the island, and then some brief moments of Sam meeting Nash. It took me some time to get what was going on here while listening to it, but even when I did, it wasn’t the clearest delivery for me.
I was expecting a lot of angst and a lot of drama and perhaps some struggle, but I got none of that. Henry is a marine biologist and he had a great grasp on what they needed to survive. He was also well versed on the plants on the island and water and a food source were never an issue. The men all got along fine and there were minimal disagreements and even though they were stranded and we are told there are some harsh conditions, we never see them, with the exception of one storm that lacked impact for me. Henry is even severely injured at one point but his entire recovery is off page, the injury is barely mentioned again, and he was completely healed. We are also told only the barest of details regarding the other two men that Henry is stranded with and I never felt like I got to know them.
The flashbacks were meant to show the connection between Sam and Henry, but they were lackluster and the men were shown more as companions that got along well as opposed to this amazing love story we are again told that they have. We are shown a brief scene where Sam meets Nash, but their entire relationship is off page, we catch up with them when they are engaged, and there was never a connection built for the pair. Nash was a two-dimensional character that was playing the part of the fiancé as his character was never developed.
When Henry is rescued and returns home that also was lacking for me. The actual rescue is off page, although we are shown the before and after to the rescue. But, the reunion lacked the true emotion I was looking for as Sam wasn’t sure what he was going to do and had to hold himself back. The men’s reentry into society was seamless and young Buddy’s acclimation was fairly seamless as well. Sam’s dealings with Nash were once again largely off page. The style of way too much telling and skipping over key areas of showing made this supposed survival tale mundane and barely able to hold my interest, and was presented as the best case scenario of what could happen in this type of situation.
The narrator, David Gilmore, did not help showcase this book at all and worked more as a hindrance. His narrator voice was dry and rote and he sounded like he was reading a documentary. The characters did not have distinct voices and when a character would speak, Gilmore would have a voice that sounded as if he was trying to mimic someone. His voice would become higher, and all of the characters sounded exactly the same and the style was difficult to listen to. His voice for Buddy as an infant and then as a toddler was also cringe-worthy to hear. Where there was some emotion or a hint of drama when the characters were supposed to be yelling, Gilmore’s voice took on a whisper tone in a mimic of a yell and it didn’t come together for me at all. I understand that everyone hears differently, but with all of the narrator choices available, I was perplexed that he came up as the best choice for all of the dialogue required with this book. There were also two areas where it sounded like his voice was dubbed over and where the story jumped and lost continuity and that certainly did not help the whole situation. If this book interests you, I would suggest sticking to the ebook.
Story Rating: 2 stars
Audio Rating: 2 stars
Narrator: David Gilmore
Length: 1 hour, 19 minutes
This story picks up directly after ’Til Death Do Us Part as is meant to be a companion piece and not a standalone.
Henry and Sam are enjoying their time together after being reunited when Henry was stranded on a remote island for five years. Their reunion has been anything but quiet as the media is interested in the story of the survivors and adopting Buddy, who now goes by Aiden, has its complications.
The survivors become instant celebrities and there are those that are vocal about two men adopting a child. Sam and Henry have to navigate through strangers offering their opinion, as well as Aiden’s extended family trying to bond with him. Henry and Sam also want to reconnect as a couple as their love story enters a new chapter.
These audios were offered as a set for review or otherwise I would have stopped after the first one. This book reads as an extended epilogue to ’Til Death Do Us Part and has the same style as the first. Listening to this one right after the first offered way too much exposition for me as I had just listened to the story and did not need any reminders of what had transpired.
This follow up story shows Sam and Henry going through the process of adopting Aiden with resistance from anti-gay strangers. They also are trying to reconnect as a couple, but now have a child in their home and issues to deal with. Many of the issues were introduced and then resolved or dropped rather quickly and again there is a lot that is off page. It shows the men moving forward, but their connection was again lost for me after the first book.
David Gilmore is the same narrator here and his performance did not improve for me. Sam had a deeper voice in this installment that didn’t match his character from the first audio. Aiden also speaks more in this one and Gilmore’s voice for him was unpleasant for me to listen to. The intimate scene between Sam and Henry was also not something I appreciated from this narrator and he’s not the choice I would make when faced with future audio opportunities