Story Rating: 4.5 stars
Audio Rating: 4 stars
Narrator: Joel Leslie
Length: 9 hours, 15 minutes
Audiobook Buy Links: Amazon/Audible | iBooks
Book Buy Links: Amazon | iBooks
Charlie Sutton and Travis Craig are living their life as best they can. Completely in love, they navigate all the troubles life throws their way together. And things are great for them. After getting engaged last year, but not telling anyone, they are finally sharing the news. Same sex marriage isn’t legal in Australia, but that doesn’t matter; they don’t need the official ceremony.
Travis is more in love with Charlie than ever, and he feels Charlie’s love as well. Charlie has come a long way in his personal growth. He doesn’t have problems talking about his feelings, at least not much, and he’s determined to make a difference in other people’s lives as well. Travis is so proud of Charlie and supports him completely. So when Charlie decides to open his home to youth needing a little help, Travis is right there with him.
The two men move forward in solidifying their future together, even going so far as traveling to the States so Charlie can finally meet Travis’ family in person. Charlie is nervous beyond reason because he’s so desperate for the Craig family to like him. But no matter how his family feels, Travis isn’t giving Charlie up. Not the man and not his home in Australia. After everything they’ve been through, there’s no way the men will ever part. And now, both men know that without doubt.
This is the final installment in the Red Dirt Heart series. Well, at least in the main story arc, since there are a few short story extras and cameos. We’ve seen Charlie and Travis meet and have seen them fall in love, struggle, fight demons, and come out the other side stronger than ever. These guys are absolutely going to be together forever, and we get to see a glimpse of their future, and expanded family, in the epilogue.
Unlike the rest of the series, this one is told from Travis’ first person POV, and it was a nice shift to see and really get into Travis’ head for a change. I think Walker made the right choice here because this is no longer Charlie’s journey. He’s done the work and he’s grown as a person. Now it was Travis’ turn to have the spotlight, and it was a seamless shift.
What I really love here is that Walker keeps the forward momentum, in particular where Charlie is concerned, and there’s only continued growth and acting with that change in mind. Charlie has come a very long way from the broken man readers first met, and he’s put in the work to grow. There are a few blips on both the MCs’ parts, and they have moments of insecurity. But they talk to each other, and they work out solutions together. I loved that after everything, these guys are still moving forward and just getting better and better, both in their relationship and in their own growth.
Of course, after four books, these guys have a special place in my heart. Walker has crafted two MCs who stole my heart and a whole host of secondary characters that flesh out the tale and make it feel rich and well developed. The characters are familiar and comfortable, but more than that, each character brings something important to the scene.
This a story that really does feel like a conclusion. Charlie and Travis have been through a lot, and they are completely in love. But this story is about finalizing that love, settling into a future. There’s a lot that goes on, but each moment is a step toward that ultimate settling, and I loved that for them. It was everything a last book in a series should be.
Like the rest of the series, I listened to this one in audio. Joel Leslie again did a great job. Since this one is from Travis’ POV, it’s told with that Texas drawl instead of the Australian one. But the voices are still consistent across the books. I still don’t personally love every choice the narrator has made in regards to voices, as it sometimes seems a caricature instead of feeling real. But as always, the performance is on point. The emotion behind the scenes shines through clearly. In particular, the very emotional scene containing animal death and again as the story wraps up.
All in all, this a great series and Leslie does a good job narrating. I don’t think you can go wrong with this series, no matter which format you choose to enjoy it in.