For those of you who watched the HBO Series Big Love, Wife Number Seven is a similar tale, but even more focused on the not so pretty side of polygamy/compound living, with a hint of suspense and a true romance weaved in between. The heroine is a young wife (a seventh wife) who begins to question the legitimacy of the religious and polygamist ways that she was born into. Longing for the freedom to establish her own identity, the beauty of this story is in how the heroine slowly begins to see the true world and her own feelings and desires all encouraged by the man who actually cares for her and awakens true feelings in her for the first time. A truly unique listen, sporting an above average narration, I highly recommend this title to romance listeners who are looking for something fresh and different to listen to.
As the blurb is impossibly vague, and certainly fails to communicate the romantic elements that make up this New Adult romance, I will have to be necessarily brief in my background description of this tale. Additionally, an undercurrent of this story relates to a suspense theme that makes it equally difficult to describe the background without giving away the elements that make this listen so engaging.
With that in mind, let me introduce you to Brinley. Although Brinley is twenty-two years old and “married,” it’s mystifying how little she really knows about her own body, needs and wants. Having been raised to please her “husband,” and “keep sweet” with her sister wives and society, Brinley has been taught never to question others and fulfill her assigned role without criticism or complaint.
But she has a strong character, and notwithstanding her outwardly appearance and demeanor, she begins to fight the establishment in her own ways. Small things at first, which eventually lead to the unthinkable, including her contemplation of leaving the only life she has ever known.
The heroine’s actions are inspired by an unlikely source: a man with his own faults, but yet the first to ever really see the real her, not just the role she is supposed to fulfill. But amid this backdrop there are invisible forces at work that are aimed at sabotaging Brinley – not just for the freedom she seeks, but also for what her spirit represents to their culture. Can there possibly be a HEA under such unusual beginnings, and, if so, just what does true happiness mean?
Bridget Haight renders an above-average narration. Her youthful voice, particularly when blended with a naive sound yet mixed with a questioning edge, worked perfectly for Brinley. Additionally, Ms. Haight was able to produce differentiated voices for the other characters. From the males to the other females, her choices of intonations were gender-appropriate and generally indicative of the underlying personality traits of the particular character.
Ms. Haight also did a good job with communicating emotions (or, in certain cases, lack thereof, at appropriate times). Her pace was also well suited to this story which ebbed and flowed between introspective moments and fast-paced action scenes.
On a somewhat unusual note, the narration included a handful of sound effects (like a real knock, door bell, etc.). I mention this because as narrations don’t typically include these effects, the first one did catch me off guard. Ultimately, however, I decided that I liked these effects which I felt added to the dramatic effect of the production at certain crucial moments.
All in all, Wife Number Seven is a special, one-of-a-kind listen. If you enjoy learning of different cultures, and rooting for the underdog, then I highly recommend this freedom-inspiring story.
Book Content: B+
Steam Factor: Glad I had my earbuds in
Violence Rating: Domestic Violence
Genre: Romantic Suspense - New Adult
Publisher: Melissa Brown
Wife Number Seven was provided to AudioGals for a review.