Narrated by Will M. Watt, Charlotte Cole, and Martin Foster
What a pleasant surprise! This audiobook had a little bit of everything. I was expecting a sports romance featuring a playboy star player, but what I heard was so much more. From the witty and comical banter to the romance and even the conflict resolution which involved personal growth by both the heroine and hero, Challenge kept me tuned in to my earbuds from beginning to end. Additionally, I enjoyed the different setting as this is a contemporary romance set in London which is unusual enough by itself, and it also features the story of a rising “football” (that’s “soccer” for the Americans reading this) player who is sidelined by a knee injury at a match. But the setting is not the only fresh aspect of this listen as the narration too is done in a somewhat unusual style that also happens to be my favorite. All in all, if you enjoy quirky heroines, flirty romances with a strong dose of humor, and characters who benefit from introspection and growth along the way to their HEA, then you will likely enjoy Challenge.
Indie Porter is a doctor prodigy. Extremely smart, Indie graduated early from medical school and is now pursuing a surgery internship years before many would have this opportunity. Indie’s academic or medicine smarts have not come without a price however. For example, she has missed out on normal social experiences and has yet to be intimate with a man, rendering her somewhat naïve and innocent on the male/female relationship front for a twenty-four year old woman. However, Indie is not deterred as she has a plan for fixing this pesky little problem which she has distilled down to a list of 3 types of men who will help her become a woman and eventually lead to her HEA (her term for these types of men, by the way, is hysterical but not exactly clean, so suffice it to say that she labels them types Pxxxx #1, Pxxxx #2, and Pxxxx #3).
Camden Harris is a prodigy in his own right but on a completely different field (the football field). Since his mother passed away when he was young, his father and by extension he and his brothers have spent nearly all their time on the field perfecting the sport. In fact, it almost seems to Camden that his father has become more of a manager than a father of late, constantly focused on his and his brothers careers as football players at the expense of anything else. The good news is that this hard work and dedication is paying off as Camden is being seriously looked at as a recruit prospect for a coveted team. It is at this pinnacle in his career, however, that he suffers a devastating blow and serious injury his knee. Immediately after it occurs he is hustled to the hospital where he meets Dr. Porter and the surgeon she is interning for, who are scheduled to operate on his knee using a highly promising but as yet untried surgical procedure for repairing his ACL.
Camden being the perpetual playboy, however, determines to flirt with Indie rather than focus on this potential career ending injury and what this could mean for his life going forward. Given his and his family’s intense focus on football over the years, he really can’t see his identity without the sport. What he doesn’t realize until it is too late, however, is that what he believes to be a necessary but temporary distraction causes him to have feelings he has never experienced before and launches his journey in self-analysis, all of which requires him to for the first time consider what he truly wants for his future. The fact that the primary surgeon (who Indie is interning for) also has a crush on Indie and that doctors have ethical codes that prohibit them from having relationships with their patients, also factors into the series of events that follow. Could there possibly be a HEA under the circumstances?
I really enjoyed the narration style used in Challenge. In this audiobook, all of the female character dialogues, including the heroine’s, are read by Charlotte Cole and all of the male ones are done by one of the two male narrators. Although I can’t say for certain, I believe that the vast majority of the male parts are narrated by Will M. Watt, and Martin Foster performs more of a cameo (for the voice of the primary surgeon, who also plays the “villain” role in this plot, so having him have a more distinctive sound makes sense). This style makes the narration sound more natural, almost like you are listening to a movie soundtrack, and provides clearly distinguishable voices for each one of the characters. I really wish more audiobooks would employ this approach.
Beyond the style, however, the narration technique is also pretty solid. I have to admit that my favorite parts are Camden’s. Mr. Watt has a very charismatic voice which worked perfectly for Camden’s role and his many flirtatious dialogues with Indie. Additionally, I thought his timing was perfect which gave maximum effect to the specific mood being described by Ms. Daws.
Ms. Cole also renders a decent narration. Overall, she’s a little less vivacious, as you would expect from the innocent and smart Dr. Porter, but I enjoyed her rendition. Listening to the dialogue between Indy and Camden really drove home their differences and yet their undeniable, even if precarious, attraction.
I am so glad I listened to Challenge. Amy Daws is a new to me author, but I will definitely be looking for more of her works. Moreover, the narration was great – making this a great title to experience in audio format.
Narration: A- overall; Will M. Watt A/Charlotte Cole B+/Martin Foster B+
Book Content: B+
Steam Factor: Glad I had my earbuds in
Violence Rating: Minimal
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Publisher: Amy Daws
Challenge was provided to AudioGals by Amy Daws for a review.