Review of ‘From the boots up & From the hat down’ by Andi Marquette, Audiobook narrated by Paige McKinney & Abby Craden
Meg Tallmadge is a veterinarian at a clinic in Laramie, Wyoming. Ranch life is her heart and soul and she cannot think any other place she’d rather be. It’s been ten years since she met the love of her life, journalist Gina Morelli, and eight since she let her go because of the difficulties of a long-distance relationship. Even though Meg had other relationships, she just cannot let go of Gina though she is adamant not to chase her past relationship. But a birthday card from Gina and a series of events will put them both in front of a second chance. Will they take it?
I’m not particularly a fan of westerns but I absolutely loved this story, I read the novella ‘From the boots up’ in 2013 and its sequel the following year. Both books are written in third person from the sole point of view of Meg, but Gina is so outspoken and extrovert that her character comes to life without issues. ‘From the boots up’ still remains to date as one of my favourite lesfic books. Its setting, the cast of characters and the freshness of the young Meg and Gina make it a very enjoyable read. ‘From the hat down’, on the contrary, is more angsty and heavier to read but makes total sense in the context of the story. My only criticism is that the main characters are separated from each other in a good part of the book and some of Meg’s routine veterinary visits could have been skipped. However, this is not a major issue and, in fairness, those scenes also help to see how Meg changed in a decade.
I think it’s very clever that Ms. Marquette joined both books in a single audiobook, at more than 16 hours length, you undoubtedly get value for your money. Prior to listening, I was a bit wary of the two-narrator performance but I’m more than satisfied with the result and, in hindsight, I think it was a good decision. Ms. McKinney read ‘From the boots up’ and Ms. Craden did ‘From the hat down’ and both narrators nailed it. Paige McKinney’s younger voice quality set perfectly the lighter tone of the first book, while Abby Craden’s performance nailed the more melancholic and angsty tone of the sequel. Even though the characters ‘change’ their voices from one book to the other, it doesn’t feel unnatural. Ms. McKinney’s accents are very well done though I cannot vouch for authenticity, judging by her authentic British accent in her narration of ‘Bridget Jones Diary’, she’s clearly a consummate professional. Ms. Craden picks up the baton effortlessly and makes the transition from one story to the other seamless. As usual, her performance of the voices and the emotions are spot on.
Overall, 4.5 stars for the story, 5 stars for both narrators. A great lesbian western romance audiobook. 5 stars.