Author: Isobel Starling
Narrator: Gary Furlong
Run Time: 4 hours and 9 minutes
At a Glance: The sweet moments in this book outweigh its flaws. Buy it for the narration and try to forgive the cliffhanger-y ending.
Reviewed By: Mike
Blurb: One wedding, two best men, one hell of a love story!
Declan Ramsay’s brother Oliver was marrying Annabelle Aiken at a fairytale castle on the banks of Loch Ness in Scotland. The bride and groom decided that Annabelle’s gay younger brother would share the best man duties with Declan. Declan had never met the kid who was to be his joint best man. Sam Aiken was abroad, working as an interpreter and finishing his studies. He wouldn’t meet Declan until a few days before the wedding, so the best men communicated and planned their speech by email for more than a year.
But on meeting Sam Aiken, Declan is surprised to realize the kid isn’t a kid at all, but a tall, blond, and athletic young man. Declan is sure he’s straight, so he’s alarmed by the ferocious attraction he feels for Sam. And as the attraction is reciprocated, the events at Dunloch Castle change everything Declan has ever believed about himself.
But, is Samuel Aiken all that he appears to be?
Review: Declan Ramsey’s sister is getting married to the Boss’s son. Sam Aiken’s brother is marrying Declan’s sister. Both their siblings have picked them to share being the Best Man at their wedding in a Scottish castle on the banks of Loch Ness. Declan has only met world-traveler Sam through emails, and assumes Sam is much younger than he actually is. Their initial, in person meeting goes badly.
Over the course of the wedding week, the two grow closer and sparks fly—despite differences and because of a shared love of a particular movie. Listeners should be cautioned the movie is never named directly, so if you’re unfamiliar with it, many of the jokes will be lost on you. Because this is a romance, there are bumps and there are bruises, literally, as the two men discover a penchant for aggressive sex. As the story unspools, small reveals give us insight into the characters, and, in a few instances, contradict their expected responses to situations in the book. The book attempts to be two things, both a romance and a semi-mystery about the relationship between Sam and his father—romance fully served, mystery shorthanded and not fully realized.
The narration in this book is spot on. Accents are crisp and the posh nature of some of the Londoners is captured perfectly. The Scottish brogue is on full display when needed but is tempered during most scenes, which is how natives tend to be. Even the Agony Aunt nature of one of the female characters is almost forgivable in the hands of an expert narration. Fortunately, this narrator knows the difference and gives the listener the full range of both English and Scots inflections. Look for Gary Furlong in other books; his narrations will surely remain top quality and should get even better with proper material to work with.
A final caution to buyers: this does not feel like a complete story. While it does have an “ending”, it is not really the end of the story. The shortness of the narration, at barely over four hours, leaves listeners hanging needlessly, so be warned—you’ll be left wanting the next installment, but also wonder if the same trick will be played in book two.
The sweet moments in this book outweigh its flaws. Buy it for the narration and try to forgive the cliffhanger-y ending. Perhaps it is cleared up in the second book.
You can buy As You Wish here: