Review of At First Sight by Harper Bliss, Audiobook narrated by Angela Dawe
This is book 10 and last, at the moment of writing (March 2021), in the Pink Bean series which follows a group of lesbian friends who gather in a coffee shop in Sydney. Most books can be read as standalone as each focuses on a couple’s relationship but there will be minor spoilers of the previous books. This particular novel is slightly connected to book 9, More than Words, but it shouldn’t be an issue to follow this story without reading the previous one.
Jill Becket is a successful therapist whose life is turned upside down when she meets her new client Amelia Shaw who needs help to recover from severe burnout. Amelia is gorgeous and intelligent and Jill literally falls in love at first sight. Love is very low in the list of priorities for Amelia but as she gets to know Jill in a personal capacity, she starts to have feelings that had been buried inside her for a long time. Will both women find love in each other despite their professional and personal circumstances?
Throughout this series, the author doesn’t shy away from controversial themes such as alcoholism, sex workers, moral double standards, infidelity, and polyamorous relationships, among others. In this book, Ms. Bliss presents the difficult relationship between therapist and patient and the taboo of a possible intimate relationship between them. I have to admit that I wasn’t sure if the author was going to pull the romance off because of the delicate nature of this type of relationship but she did it very well.
All the stories in the series are character-driven and show a particular transformation journey for the main protagonists. Ms. Bliss is a master at creating dialogues and this particular novel highlights this fact. Slowly but surely, the author builds the leads’ relationship with what is said and what it’s left unsaid. The scenes in the therapy practice are an excellent example of this and show Ms. Bliss’s talent at her best. The author navigates the dangerous waters of the conflict between ethical professional conduct and human impulses by balancing a very tight equilibrium with proficiency. She doesn’t show magical solutions or is tempted by the “love conquers all” trope. I found the result plausible and satisfying at the same time.
Once again the audiobook version was narrated by Angela Dawe and, once again, she did an outstanding job. All the characters’ voices are distinct and the performance of the varied range of emotions that the characters go through is excellent. At the risk of repeating myself, Ms. Dawe enriches this series thanks to her fantastic interpretations. Another winner for Ms. Bliss. Here’s hoping for more stories in the Pink Bean universe. 4.5 stars.
Length: 6 hrs and 34 mins