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Every Breath You Take by Judith McNaught

Every breath you takeEditor’s note: After researching, it does appear that this audio is based on McNaught’s first version of Every Breath You Take. Also, Laura Dean is listed as narrator at Audible; however, Susan Denaker narrates.

Narrated by Susan Denaker

Unabridged version

It’s been many years since I first read this book. After its original publication, it was republished in a version with some “boring” bits excised from the middle to make the pacing faster. I have no idea, which version was used here but this audiobook was SLOW. S_L_O_W. There seemed to be a lot of time without much action and there was much wordy description and backstory. In a print book, I can skim and, thus, make a slow book speed up. I can’t listen to an audiobook that way. I can’t skip bits and I can’t speed it up because then the narrator sounds like a chipmunk and any joy to be had in the characterizations would be lost.  So, I’m left to listen. To. Every. Long. Minute. Of. The. Story.

Our hero, Mitchell Wyatt is the bastard son of Edward Wyatt. He was shipped off to be raised by strangers in Europe and has only recently discovered his family roots. Naturally, he’s resentful. He’s made his own way and is a rich and powerful man in his own right and he’s not feeling all that forgiving. His half-brother, William, is missing, presumed dead, Edward fell off a balcony, and Mitchell is under suspicion regarding both events.

Kate Donovan is the daughter of a restaurateur/Irish pub owner. Her father has recently died and she’s grieving deeply. Her boyfriend Evan Bartlett (son of the lawyer who arranged for Mitchell’s excision and exile) takes her to Anguilla for a holiday. Evan is called back to the States and Kate is there alone.

Mitchell is building a house on Anguilla and he encounters Kate in the Island Club where she is staying. Over the course of a few days, they establish a deep connection but there is much that each does not know about the other. Events separate Mitchell and Kate and things pick up some years later when there is a tragic incident, which brings Mitchell back to Kate’s side.

It is a romance so there should be no surprises when I tell you there is a happy ending and all the big misunderstandings (why can’t people just talk to each other?) are resolved. Eventually. But in terms of romance, it wasn’t terribly satisfying because the protagonists were not together for most of the book (it was quite a while before they even met) and the ending, though happy was… distanced and not sufficiently long. I wanted more payoff for all the waiting around.

There were a few suspense-type plots which arose throughout the book but they didn’t sustain the tension very well. It was more like they were devices to bring the characters together or to separate them rather than anything else.

The narration saved the experience. Susan Denaker had an entertaining and pleasant tone and the characterizations were very good. She voiced juvenile and children’s characters, as well as elderly ones and they were very well done. Mitchell was American by birth but raised all over Europe. Even though the text said he “sounded American”, most of the time, he was given a British accent. This made it easy to identify him as his voice wasn’t so much deeper as more stern. I say “most of the time”, because sometimes his British accent disappeared altogether.

When I was tempted to fast forward or give up because of all the waiting around while nothing much was happening, Ms. Denaker’s narration was enough to keep me going. I’d love to hear her narrate something more pacy and romantic.

The story is a little dated now but I do feel like I’ve discovered a new-to-me narrator (although I have no idea if she’s done much more or anything recent) so it was a worthwhile experience for me.

Kaetrin


Narration:  B/B+

Book Content:  C

Steam Factor:  I’m Glad I Had My Earbuds In (but at the tame end of this scale)

Violence:  Minimal

Genre:  Contemporary Romance

Publisher:  Random House

3 comments

1 ping

  1. Lea

    I actually enjoyed the abridged version of Every Breath You Take quite a bit. It’s six hours long so its a decent abridgment. Of course, I’m a big McNaught fan and wish, wish, wish for her books in audio format so I’m thankful for this one book (her other audiobooks are two hour abridgments – poorly done – don’t suggest you go there). I can’t find a way to link to my review of the abridged audio so I’m pasting it here since it is short.

    Narrated by Laura Dean (Audible once again lists the wrong narrator – this time it really is Dean although they list Kate Miller).

    A fabulously wealthy hero (self-made of course) and a humble yet gorgeous woman meet for the first time on a tropical island and share a romance unaware that they are connected in numerous ways back in Chicago. It’s typical McNaught (and I am a definite fan) which means there is a Big Misunderstanding – this one huge. In print, this misunderstanding lasts for a good portion of the book since there is a long separation of the characters. However in the abridged audio format, the producers had the opportunity to right this wrong and they did. Most of the misunderstanding is removed as well as the separation. I actually prefer this six hour abridgement to the print version as it tightens the story and concentrates more on the romance. The ending may be a little rushed but I consider this abridged audiobook a success. Laura Dean’s narration is above average and easy on the ears with voices that are clearly distinguishable. This is another definite re-listen for the future. I’ve considered finding this one in unabridged format as well (it’s harder to find) but no longer feel the desire to do so.

    Abridged audiobook review written for 10/29/10 Speaking of Audiobooks column.

  2. Kaetrin

    I’m curious as to how most of the misunderstanding could be removed and the story still make sense. Not curious enough to listen to it but… :) I’m not a fan of the Big Mis trope. It rarely works well for me. The books where it tends to work better are usually where the misunderstanding is sorted out quickly or in a novella where it kind of has to be that way. :)

  3. Erin

    Book may have been decent, but it was hard to tell because Susan Denaker reads EVERYTHING as if it’s supposed to be suspenseful or interesting, even if they’re just setting a coffee cup down on a table. I found it very irritating. I’ll be sure not to listen to anything else she’s narrating.

  1. May Round Up |

    […] was also over at AudioGals with a review of I’ve Got Your Number by Sophie Kinsella and  Every Breath You Take by Judith McNaught. Plus, I was at the ARRA blog with a review of Trail of Fire by Diana Gabaldon.  […]

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