Title: Trial by Fire
Author: BA Tortuga
Narrator: Rusty Topsfield
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press/Dreamspun Desires
Run Time: 5 hours and 36 minutes
Category: Contemporary Romance
At a Glance: I actually listened to this book twice to make sure I was not missing some important bit of information that would explain this narration.
Reviewed By: Mike
Blurb: One Aussie. One Texan. One baby. One hell of a fight.
When his sister and her husband are killed in an accident, Aussie cattle station owner Lachlan McCoughney rushes to Texas to rescue their infant daughter, Chloe. He expects to find his niece living in squalor with the Sheffields, a rodeo family.
Instead, Lachlan finds Holden Sheffield, a salt-of-the-earth cowboy, running a huge business operation. They want to explore their mutual attraction despite the many problems thrown their way, and together, they must find a way to give Chloe a new family and find a love that spans thousands of acres and two continents.
Review: Take one Aussie billionaire station owner, add in one Texas rodeo and ranch billionaire, add in the recently killed siblings of both men, leave behind their orphaned child, then toss in a kidnapping and four grandparents all hell-bent on controlling their recently orphaned granddaughter, and stir.
We’ve seen this story before. The main characters (Lachlan and Holden) have every reason to hate one another because their siblings have died tragically. One family had no idea their sister/daughter had died or that she had a child. The other family feels they need to protect the child and the memory of their late son and his wife because her family was distant; in fact, her family seemingly abandoned her.
Just as the familial cold war begins to thaw, a kidnapping happens. It brings up all sorts of emotions in both Lachlan and Holden from their pasts. There is no shortage of drama for both of them to work through and yet, or perhaps because of the emotion of the situation they are in, they fall hard and fast for one another.
A series of near and actual tragedies bring the two warring clans together, and the two main characters into each other’s arms. The reader is treated to some fun in among the ruins, and the speed of love, while quick, rings true.
The resolution of the kidnapping plays well because of the bumbling amateurs involved. There are some things a reader of M/M fiction may find overdone, but by and large the story is engaging. The ending is sweet and a bit more tidy than real life, but this is a romance story after all.
As a listener, I get the impression we are being set up for a sequel for two of the sub characters. They keep creeping into the story more often than need be. Some things are rushed to speed the plot, and other things get labored over. I’m not sure if the pacing is the fault of the author or of the narrator.
Now, about the audio. While it is a good quality production, the Aussie accents are so badly done that you’re hard pressed to sometimes tell characters apart, and they seem to run the range from Outback Aussie, to City Aussie, to New Zealand, and South African, often in the same monologue. Then the Texans are played without accents at all. I wish someone had taken this narrator aside and said, “Please, just read the story, your accents are killing the mood.”
I actually listened to this book twice to make sure I was not missing some important bit of information that would explain this narration. It was a series of unfortunate events and bad decisions that took an average story and made it hard to listen to. If this audiobook goes on sale, it may be a good bargain, but at full price I would have to call the narration a pass.
You can buy Trial by Fire here: