Narrated by Will M. Watt and Aria Collins
I have been a fan of Alessandra Torre’s edgy, dark and twisted romances for some time now, though I hadn’t had a chance to try her earliest works yet. So when I saw that her debut series, The Dumont Diaries, which had originally been released in 5 serial novellas, was being expanded and repackaged into a stand-alone book that would also be available in audio format, I knew I had to listen to it.
I must admit that while the story definitely held my attention, and contained its fair share of twists and turns, it wasn’t as dark or as edgy and twisted as what I had originally expected given my prior experience with some of Alessandra Torre’s works (note that Ms. Torre has also written other plain vanilla romances, like Hollywood Dirt, so not all her works are of this subgenre). That said, the heat factor on Trophy Wife, for those that enjoy arrogant, alpha-hole styled heroes, is off the charts. Additionally, there is a thread of a romance triangle that will keep you initially guessing what direction the story will take, never mind a suspense angle to the plot that kept me intrigued (though the resolution was ultimately much tamer than what my wild imaginings had initially conjured up along the way, given the mind trickery that I have come to expect from Ms. Torre).
Candy has definitely hit a hard stretch in life. Originally aspiring to be an interior designer, she presently works as a stripper to make ends meet. Unfortunately those ends don’t even include her father who has come down with a mysterious illness and who is not getting the health care he needs.
Then everything seems to change when Nathan Dumont and his bodyguard Drew walk into her strip club. The next thing she knows she’s being whisked away to a whole new life and being promised good care for her father. All she needs to do is pretend to be utterly in love with Nathan, marry him, and become his “wife” Candace Dumont. In public, he plays the devoted husband, but in private he subjects her to complete disregard, except when she is servicing his body (which many times he humiliates her by forcing her to do it in public).
Fortunately, she derives great satisfaction from her personal interactions with Nathan, even if she is left completely bereft of understanding why he treats her at all other times so coldly. She tries to derive answers from Drew, his bodyguard (though she can’t understand why Nathan needs a live-in bodyguard who seems to be constantly watching her). Notwithstanding her attempt to charm and befriend Drew, however, she is left equally clueless as to why Nathan picked her out of all the possibly girls who surely could have filled this role
Why did Nathan pick Candy, and what does he really want from her? Moreover, under such suspicious circumstances could there ever be a HEA?
Will M. Watt and Aria Collins narrate Trophy Wife in my favorite duet style (where the male narrator speaks all of the hero’s and other male characters’ dialogues and narratives and the female narrator speaks all of the heroine’s and other female characters’ dialogues and narratives). This style works marvelously and allows you to feel like you are listening to a movie or an actual scene that is occurring right in front of you. Additionally, both characters are great at producing distinguishable voices for each one of the characters (even among the same gender). For example, while Nathan has an unspecified American accent, Drew has a Southern twang to his speech. Moreover, every mood is adeptly communicated via the voice and tone use by the narrators.
The only aspect that caused me to lower this narration from the “A” that it would have otherwise earned to a “B” is the fact that there were some editing issues with the sound quality of the recording. Perhaps the most noticeable is that you can hear a static (or rain) sound in the background. While I didn’t notice this when I was listening on my earbuds at the gym or in another noisy place, I did notice it especially in between chapters and while listening at home in a quiet environment. Additionally, I noticed at least two separate times that a whole sentence was repeated twice in Aria Collins’ narratives or dialogues. While these issues didn’t greatly detract from the overall performance, it’s my experience that the audio production of large publishers don’t tend to have these issues, so I felt compelled to mention them.
All in all, I’m glad I listened to Trophy Wife. While not as twisted as I had hoped, it still held my interest, and I found it intriguing enough to devour the story in just one day.
TITLE: Trophy Wife
AUTHOR: Alessandra Torre
NARRATED BY: Will M. Watt and Aria Collins
STEAM FACTOR: For your burning ears only
REVIEWER: BJBuy Trophy Wife by Alessandra Torre on Amazon