Review of Beneath the Surface by Harper Bliss, Audiobook narrated by Angela Dawe
This is book 2 of the Pink Bean series which follows the lives of a group of lesbian friends living in Sidney, Australia. Angela Dawe narrates most of the series (at the moment formed by 10 books) which is a great opportunity to enjoy the talent and versatility of this narrator. You can start the series at any point as the books are all standalone but there are some connections with the other books that might act as spoilers.
Kristin Park and Sheryl Johnson have been in a relationship for twenty years but Kristin’s tendency to put her career first and Sheryl’s problems with alcohol threaten to tear them apart. Will their love be strong enough to overcome the obstacles life has thrown at them?
This is quite a dark and angsty read. The story goes back and forth between the time when Sheryl and Kristin met while still in their 20s and the present time after two decades of being in an established relationship. The story is told in third person from both main characters’ point of view which is customary in this series.
Both leads are well fleshed out and complex characters and Ms. Bliss takes them on a journey where they both will grow and change. The journey itself is quite dark, Ms. Bliss pulls no punches when describing Sheryl’s alcohol abuse and her struggle to come to terms with her past of an abusive father and a depressive mother.
The ‘love conquers all’ trope is hard to pull off but I think that Ms. Bliss did a very good job at it by not simplifying or minimising the consequences of alcohol abuse for both the alcoholic and their loved ones. So, despite this is a romance, the story isn’t a light read and the characters’ journey to their happily ever after (or happily for now) is a bumpy one but the way the story is written makes it worth it.
Angela Dawe narrates this book which was a very smart choice. Very few narrators can convey the emotional roller coaster that these characters go through in a convincing way. Ms. Dawe performed all the emotional moments outstandingly and interpreted all the different characters’ voices and personalities in a distinctive way. A big part of my decision to listen to this whole series is because of Ms. Dawe’s name on the cover. Once again, she didn’t disappoint. 4.5 stars.
Length: 6 hrs and 7 mins