Story Rating: 3.75 stars
Audio Rating: 3.5 stars
Narrator: Cornell Collins
Length: 8 hours, 29 minutes
Audiobook Buy Links: Amazon/Audible | iBooks
Book Buy Links: Amazon | iBooks
Jude left in the middle of a cooking competition when his parents were lost at sea, intent on doing whatever he could to find them. Months later, he’s had no luck and reluctantly returns home to help his sister, Louise, run the family pub during tourist season. However, he’s shocked to find Rob already there and that changes have been made. Rob was Jude’s biggest rival in the cooking competition, and Jude is hurt that Louise reached out to Rob to save the failing business.
Jude doesn’t understand why Rob is offering help. Especially after Jude and Rob shared one kiss before Jude took off to search for his parents. The attraction still simmers between them, and it takes both men time to begin to trust one another. And it doesn’t help that Rob is out, while Jude has been hiding who he is for a long time.
But together, with Louise, they make a go of the new business. Family dynamics don’t end there, though, as Jude’s parents are still missing, Rob has his own drama, and secrets from the past resurface, turning everything on its head.
Con Riley excels at writing a character-driven story and this book is no exception. While there are some external conflicts, it’s mostly the internal ones that not only provide character motivation, but their actions as well. This book is about Jude’s journey, for acceptance of himself, his small town, and so much more. Rob provides a support Jude didn’t even know he needed, and their connection is evident. Jude is also able to give back that strength as Rob deals with his own family issues. I really enjoyed this aspect of the story and it definitely kept the momentum going.
I will say, however, that the banter between the MCs is not the type of banter I enjoy, as it mostly revolved around them being playfully rude to each other. For me, this caused a distance from the story. I wasn’t engaged as fully in the book, and in their romance, as I would have liked. I think this is also coupled with the fact that the history between the guys felt as if it wasn’t substantial enough to warrant Rob’s actions. So I had some trouble with this pair, especially in the beginning, though I did really enjoy where they ended up. The latter half of the book made up for some of the weaknesses I felt were in the beginning, in regards to the romance.
There’s a lot of other stuff going on in this story as well, mostly revolving around the characters’ families and the way the MCs relate to them. For the most part, I was on board with this, as it lent a believability to the characters that I really enjoyed. But with that being said, I had some issue with the way some major plot points were resolved. While I don’t want to give anything away, it relates to Jude’s parents, as well as the reason Jude felt he needed to hide. For me, it didn’t work as well as it should have and it needed more fleshing out considering the enormity of the issues.
Unfortunately, listening to this one in audio didn’t work well for me either. Cornell Collins has a wonderful voice that was very soothing, did a good job differentiating between characters, and had great pacing. However, there was too much softness to this narration for me. It felt almost like he was quietly telling me a story, which lessened the impact throughout the book. I didn’t feel the emotion as I would have liked, especially with Jude’s anger and anguish in different scenes. For this book and this subject matter, Collins narration was too soft, even gentle, and didn’t fit with the story for the more intense scenes.
If this book sounds like something you would like, I would suggest reading it and perhaps skipping the audio unless that’s the only way you can enjoy it. I cautiously recommend His Horizon to readers looking for a very character driven story.