Review of At Your Most Beautiful by Harper Bliss, audiobook narrated by Angela Dawe
The artistic partnership between Harper Bliss and Angela Dawe has produced a good number of audiobooks, all of them of great quality. A new one is always a reason for celebration.
Quinn Hathaway and Maya Mercer shared a one-night stand that they agreed to keep secret. Ten years later, they meet again and discovered that the old passion is still intact. However, the same things that kept them apart in the past are still present: a two-decade age difference and Maya’s friendly relationship with Quinn’s parents. Even though Maya is still in the closet, this time around she doesn’t want to run away from Quinn. But will they be brave enough to face their families?
It’s no news that Ms. Bliss’s favourite writing trope is age-gap romance. And not the kind with a small-ish age gap either. Many of her romances focus on the social controversy caused by big age differences. At Your Most Beautiful deals with social disapproval of these types of relationships and family rejection. There’s something to be said about the undeniable tension between what’s socially expected of someone and the irresistible pull of a forbidden attraction. Ms. Bliss plays with this tension like the pro that she is, uses the enticement of the forbidden fruit as a build-up of the characters’ chemistry and a mechanism to grasp the readers’ attention.
There’s no doubt in my mind that Ms. Bliss is one of the best writers of sex scenes in women-loving-women fiction. In At Your Most Beautiful, Ms. Bliss uses sex and taboo to tell a story about love and family ties. Quinn has always dated much older women and even though her family put up with her preferences, they are worried about her. Maya is a young grandmother who is in a completely different moment of her life compared to Quinn. Maya is in the closet, Quinn is out and proud. Maya is comfortably well-off, while Quinn shares a tiny apartment with a friend. This is an opposites-attract story that the author makes work because of the strong chemistry between them. Kudos to Ms. Bliss to make it believable and for not falling into the easy trap of social condemnation as a source of conflict. Both families’ concern and rejection come from a place of love, not from a rigid moral stance. It makes the story richer and more interesting.
The audiobook version is narrated by Angela Dawe who, as always, was brilliant and justifies her status as a rock star among lesbian audiobooks fans. Her different voices are perfect at stressing the mains age difference, Quinn sounds youthful and irreverent while Maya sounds mature and sensible. Her performance of the different emotions throughout the story is absolutely brilliant. I wish that Ms. Dawe would narrate more lesfic.
If you are looking for a hot and emotional age-gap romance, this one is for you. 4.5 stars.
Length 7 hours and 35 minutes
Available in Scribd