Review of ‘If the shoe fits’ by EJ Noyes,
Audiobook narrated by Kelsey Navarro
This is book 3 of the ‘Ask, tell’ series which started with the book with the same title. The link between the books in this series is more related to the characters involved rather than the genre of each novel. I can’t remember a series with more diversity in their stories. Book one ‘Ask, tell‘ is a military romance, book 2 ‘Ask me again‘ is an angsty romance that ties loose ends of the previous installment, and ‘If the shoe fits’ is the most typical romance of them all. Even though the books are so different and you can read book 3 as a stand-alone, I recommend reading them all chronologically because you’ll understand the background of the story much better and they are so worth it.
Jana Fleisher is a divorce lawyer focused on her busy job with little time for dating. Her love life consists of seeing men casually and not for long, being too picky or easily bored. When she literally bumps into Brooke Donelly, their initial confrontation swiftly develops into a friendship. But as both women get to know each other, Jana starts to have romantic feelings towards Brooke which seem to be reciprocated. Will Jana and Brooke take the leap and commit to each other?
I was excited to read this book as we’ve got glimpses of Jana in the first two books of the series in her role of one of the main characters’ little sister. She’s a spitfire, quirky, extrovert, loyal, and drives like a lunatic. It’s a good follow-up of her relationship with both her sister Sabine and her sister-in-law Rebecca. It’s a very rich relationship of mutual trust, banter, and support, a testament of Ms. Noyes’s great character building. As we’ve seen in the previous books Jana supporting Sabine and Rebecca, now the tables are turned and it’s Jana who looks for and receives relationship advice from them. As a bonus, the reader catches up with their lives and the evolution of Sabine’s PTSD.
As much as I love Jana, Sabine, and Rebecca, I didn’t feel the same connection with Brooke. She’s a well-written character and her actions are logical in her life experience but, I couldn’t identify with her as much as with the others. The chemistry between Jana and Brooke is hot, and Jana’s realisation that she has feelings for Brooke is very well done and credible. However, I couldn’t relate to Brooke’s family conflict and I felt that its resolution was a bit fast and too ideal. It didn’t sound realistic, which is a pity because Sabine and Rebecca’s story is so compelling and powerful that minimises Jana and Brooke’s. Having said that, if you are looking for an entertaining lesbian coming out romance, you surely going to like this one as it’s well written and the chemistry is hot.
This time I’ve listened to the audiobook narrated by Kelsey Navarro. The first two books in the series have been read by Abby Craden who did a masterful job. In my opinion, Ms. Navarro has done an ok narration, but the result is not as good compared to the other two audiobooks. Partly, this is not Ms. Navarro’s fault because changing narrator in the last book of this series is like changing the cast of a TV show for the season finale, it doesn’t matter if the new cast’s performance is outstanding or if the script is flawless, the result will be disappointing regardless.
If you have listened to the first two books, you’ll have ingrained in your memory the voices and the narration tone of Ms. Craden and it’s impossible not to compare. Her performance of Colonel Rebecca Keane will be in my memory for a long time, as she’s one of my favourites characters in lesfic. While Ms. Navarro’s narration was ok, I found that her different voices for each character weren’t very distinctive and sometimes their inflections didn’t change as requested by the direct description of the text (for example, ‘she said gravely’ and the narration’s voice didn’t sound that way). The overall pace and tone of the narration were satisfactory and if you haven’t listened to the other books in the series you’ll probably enjoy this audiobook. I cannot say I did and if I come back to this book, it’ll be in written format.
Overall, an ok lesbian coming out romance audiobook. 4.5 stars for the story, 3.5 for the narration. 4 stars.
Available in Audible Escape, duration 11 hours, 36 minutes.