sunny side audio coverStory Rating: 4.75 stars
Audio Rating: 4.25 stars

Narrator: Joel Leslie
Length: 11 hours, 37 minutes

Audiobook Buy Links: Amazon/Audible | iBooks
Book Buy Links:  Amazon | iBooks

Lily Morton is one of my favorite authors and I absolutely love The Sunny Side and, in particular, main character Dean Jacobs. He is so bright and sweet and warm, and he finds a way to help Jonas Durand open himself up to enjoy life. This is such a lovely grumpy/sunshine story, one of my favorites, and I was really excited to get to revisit it in audio. Morton does such a good job here with the dynamics between the men and the shifting POVs give us a chance to really get to understand both Dean and Jonas. On the surface, these guys don’t necessarily seem like a fit, as they are so different. But Jonas has steadfast support and confidence in Dean, a man who, for all that he is beautiful and accomplished, is full of self doubt. And Dean helps Jonas find joy in his rigidly controlled life and helps him open up to happiness instead of just existing.

I often enjoy listening to books I have already read in audio format, as it gives a chance to revisit the story from a new perspective. I actually found myself enjoying this story even more the second time around, as I felt settled into Dean as a character more than I had when I first read the book. Then I felt some dissonance between Dean in this book versus the way he is portrayed in other stories in this shared world. But reading it a second time, I felt much more in sync with him as a character and could just really appreciate how lovely and sweet he is. If you want to hear more about my thoughts on first reading, as well as more of an overview of the storyline, check out my original review of The Sunny Side.

Joel Leslie is the voice of Lily Morton’s world for me and he really brings her characters to life so well. While this book starts the Model Agency series, we meet many characters from other Morton books here and it is helpful to have the same narrator, as Leslie does a great job keeping consistency with the various side characters across books. Leslie walks the line well here with Dean, showing how he sometimes doesn’t quite get things that are going on, but without making him farcical. There is a lovely earnestness to Dean that comes through so nicely in Leslie’s narration. It took me a bit at the start to fully settle into Jonas’ voice, as his accent was stronger than I expected. The book describes him as having a “hint” of a French accent, but it felt heavier (to my very untrained ear) and so it threw me off a little at first because he didn’t sound the way I had imagined him. But once I got settled into the story, it all worked just fine and I think Leslie really captures Jonas’ character very well.

The timing was great for this re-read, as the second book in this series is coming out in a couple of weeks. So this is a great time to check out this first book if you missed it. The audio is excellent and a wonderful way to enjoy the story.