Story Rating: 5 stars
Audio Rating: 5 stars
Narrator: Joel Leslie
Length: 10 hours, 19 minutes
Ethan has one chance, only one, to escape his abusive relationship and reclaim himself. A fire has broken out near the remote cabin his boyfriend owns. Since Ethan is there, hidden away after yet another vicious beating, when the alarm is sounded and evacuations ordered, he realizes that he can leave his past behind and be reborn if he can convince the world of his death.
Nearly a year later, Ethan is now Aubrey, having taken the name of his deceased grandfather who raised him after the death of his parents. He has followed the stars he loves so much to a small Island off the southern coast of Australia and found lodging in a worn down caravan in exchange for handyman duties. It’s there that he meets Patrick, the lighthouse keeper, and begins to relearn what it is to trust another man and offer him his heart.
Patrick, who himself is in mourning for a husband who was lost at sea, finds himself drawn to the timid, yet determined stranger. He wants to take care of Aubrey and, for the first time in nearly four years, actually feels something for another man. But with Patrick’s guilt over leaving the memory of his late husband behind and Aubrey’s past casting long shadows over the two men, they will need all the help the galaxy can offer to build something new and lasting between them.
Galaxies and Oceans by N.R. Walker is a gorgeous, slow burning romance between two men who must learn what it is to love all over again after having been hurt by circumstances beyond their control. Patrick and Aubrey are a magical couple and the time that this author takes in creating a safe and almost spiritual environment around them is just wonderful to read. From the time spent together looking at the stars, to the simple chores and odd jobs they accomplish together, you can feel the love growing between them and their hearts healing in tandem. If two men ever deserved a happy ever after, it is Patrick and Aubrey and N.R. Walker doesn’t fail to give her characters everything they deserve.
Joel Leslie is a brilliant narrator. What he does with pitch, pacing, emotional gravitas, and vocal range is a real joy to listen to every time I hear one of his performances on audio. Leslie took what could have been a slow and cumbersome book if narrated incorrectly and made it shine just as the author intended. You can feel Aubrey’s fear and experience his past pain through just the voicing Leslie gives him. With pauses and then rushed, almost terror-filled passages of dialogue, Aubrey comes alive and plucks at your heartstrings just as he should. But it is Patrick’s lower tone and gentle voice that really made my heart stop. It was a near perfect vocal representation of the character the author had so lovingly crafted. There is really no way I can find fault with any part of this narration; it was as if Joel Leslie had reached into my mind and plucked out just the right voices for the characters I had come to love. So very well done!