Take Me Back is a little unusual – it starts 2 years after the supposed Happy Ever After date of their marriage, but Kat and Dane are no longer happy. Over the course of these 2 years of marriage, a halcyon vacation-inspired relationship was destroyed by a severe lack of communication. After a chance meeting on a tropical island, they continued their long-distance relationship for months, stealing away for weekends, until finally settling down and getting married. But each of them was holding on to some important information they could have – should have – shared with the other before tying the knot. Life happens – and now that it seems almost too late, they head off for a 10-day second-chance trip, hoping to get back to the original feelings they shared.
It’s an interesting take on the contemporary romance genre – exploring whether they can overcome months of emotional separation and hiding secrets, and visiting their early relationship in short flashbacks. Kat has experienced several losses in her life – her father walked out on her and her mother when her mother was dying; then her mother died, followed not too long after by the death of Kat’s best friend. She’s internalized the grief, but she isn’t helped much by Dane, who is also holding his own emotional cards close to his chest. He follows her lead in letting her grieve in her own way, rather than prodding her to share, and as time goes by, it gets harder and harder for each to open up. He has his own grieving to deal with, but he decides to keep this from her in a wrong-headed attempt to be helpful. She doesn’t even know what his actual career is, until they take this trip, and his past turns up – you might even say roars into life.
It’s a well-done, albeit short, romantic suspense, starting with the only other couple at their island retreat turning out to be swingers – or maybe something else altogether. I was intrigued enough to sit in the car after arriving at work and home to hear a few more minutes on my commute for 2 days, and then binge-listened the last 2 hours as soon as my weekend company left! This is my first experience with Zachary Webber, although he’s in my TBL for a couple more books – and also in the queue for more reviews here. (He’s also the voice of Christian Grey in the E.L. James 50-Shades sequel Grey.) He’s an excellent partner with Andi Arndt, with Webber reading Dane and Arndt reading Kat, both written in first person. His acting is very good and he’s also got a very natural sound and pacing throughout. He tackles those hot, intimate scenes with just the right attitude, which is always a relief! There’s a South African character, an accent that is reminiscent of British, that both Webber and Arndt really just sort of hint at, and although they are in the Caribbean – specifically, off the coast of Belize – neither does any noticeable accent for the Belizean characters. This is just a comment – I didn’t really have a fixed idea of what the minor characters should have sounded like. Arndt is her usual professional self, delivering Kat’s voice perfectly, as well as doing a good job with Dane and the other characters. Both narrators create believable voices for both men and women, and the transitions are seamless as a result.
I’m giving this one a recommendation for the very good narration as well as interesting take (already married) on romance. It is really romantic suspense at heart, though, complete with creepy bad guys and scary situations, including some gore.
Book Content: B+
Steam Factor: Glad I had my earbuds in
Violence Rating: Graphic
Genre: Romantic Suspense
Publisher: Meghan March