Title: Red Dirt Heart 2
Author: N.R. Walker
Narrator: Joel Leslie
Run Time: 7 hours and 10 minutes
At a Glance: N.R. Walker’s writing and Joel Leslie’s narration is a power combo that should not be missed!
Reviewed By: Lindsey
Blurb: Up until Travis arrived on his doorstep, Charlie had lived a very solitary life. He had surrounded himself with isolation; a couple million acres of red dirt, scorching sun, and loneliness. Six months on, winter has settled over the desert, and Charlie has the life he never dreamed possible. But living and working together, 24 hours a day, seven days a week, for six months straight starts to take its toll. Charlie is a stubborn, stubborn man, who tends to have more conversations in his head than what comes out his mouth, whereas Travis has no problem saying what’s on his mind. And even as they both struggle to communicate, struggle to make sense of need versus want, Charlie can see that he’s pushing Travis away – yet seems helpless to stop it. When it all boils down to whether Travis should stay or go, maybe the decision won’t be theirs to make.
Review: I fell in love with Charlie and Travis reading the first Red Dirt Heart book, and that adoration continued on as each new installment was released. I didn’t think it was possible, but I fell even harder for them when the first book was released on audio. I mean, c’mon—N.R. Walker’s writing AND Joel Leslie’s phenomenal abilities with narration?? Can we say magic?? Indeed, it was. As you can imagine, when I found out this second installment was released on audio, I snatched it with a quickness and couldn’t wait to join Charlie and Travis on the next phase of their journey together.
Charlie and Travis’ story continues in Red Dirt Heart 2, with the MCs moving on from the “honeymoon phase” (as Ma calls it) to settling into more of a routine with each other, all the while facing outside circumstances which arise and could have a huge effect on them both.
What I love about NR Walker’s writing is that her characters are so relatable, and the problems they face are written in a realistic way—the reader gets to know them, flaws and all. Charlie and Travis are fairly opposite in personalities, which makes for a lot of self-created angst. Charlie is so stubborn and has a difficult time facing his insecurities, often due to pride, ultimately creating some pretty fantastic communication problems. His fears still rule him more often than not, and he takes a long time to work through what he should do, choosing to converse with himself rather than talk to his partner. He keeps his feelings inside and lets them stew, all the while pushing those around him away, and becoming a bear to deal with. Yet, Charlie has such a huge heart, with a sensitive side that very few get to experience, and how much he loves and adores Travis just pulls at my heartstrings. Travis, in comparison, is honest and very open with his feelings, trying to face what happens head on. When he pushes Charlie, sometimes Charlie pushes right back, especially when Travis is forcing Charlie in a direction he isn’t comfortable with. Even with communication problems the two have by being so inherently different, the love they share is tangible, and when they overcome one of their obstacles it just brings them even closer.
There are a few outside obstacles that crash down around them, but they face them together. Sometimes one or both feel like the complication isn’t surmountable, but they continue to support each other, one being the strength when the other feels rundown.
Joel Leslie’s narration is top notch. Both characters have distinct accents. Charlie with his “Aussie” accept and Travis’ “Texan” accent. How Mr. Leslie pulls them both off so flawlessly is simply amazing to me. How clear and distinct the different characters are makes the story flow, and easy to follow the dialogue. Not only does Mr. Leslie narrate with distinct and wonderful accents, but he narrates with such depth of emotion. He doesn’t just read words in a book; he becomes those characters for me. I swear it feels like they are right there in front of me. When Charlie’s heart is hammering and he is breaking apart, I felt every emotion coming through so impeccably. Quite simply, Joel IS Charlie, he IS Travis, he IS Ma & George and all of the wonderfully crafted characters we meet in this series. Bravo.
So, I’m not sure if you can tell yet, but just in case you it didn’t come through loud and clear—I absolutely adore this series, and the audio is amazing. N.R. Walker’s writing and Joel Leslie’s narration is a power combo that should not be missed!
You can buy Red Dirt Heart 2 here: