Review of ‘The gravity between us’ by Kristen Zimmer.
Audiobook narrated by Amy Melissa Bentley and Rebecca Estrella.
This is Ms. Zimmer’s debut and, so far, her only novel. Published in 2013, was at the top of the Amazon bestselling charts for lesbian romance around that time. It’s easy to see why as new adult romances involving a celebrity seem to be a very successful trope. Kendall Bettencourt is a 19-year-old successful Hollywood actress with a very promising career. Payton Taylor has been her best friend since childhood but is secretly in love with her. Payton knows that she cannot reveal her feelings for Kendall as her romantic feelings aren’t reciprocated by her very straight best friend. Little does she know that Kendall is questioning her sexuality and feelings for Payton…
This book is written in first person from the point of view of both main characters in alternate chapters so the reader has prime access to both leads’ headspaces, their secret feelings, their fears, and their hopes. Slowly but surely, Ms. Zimmer builds up the chemistry between Kendall and Payton and their apparently unrequited feelings for each other. The story gives a good overview of the entertainment business, the apparent glamorous life and the pressure of the media on celebrities. It’s a light and entertaining read, high in romance and low in the angst department.
I’ve read this book a few years ago and rated it with 4 stars so when I saw this lesbian celebrity romance audiobook available on Audible Escape, I’ve decided to listen to it. I was surprised to see that it is narrated by two performers. Amy Melissa Bentley reads Payton’s point of view chapters and Rebecca Estrella reads Kendall’s. The narrators have very different voices and I felt a bit confused with their very different versions of the same character. I’m far from an experienced audiobook listener so I’ve asked the Lesbian Audiobook Facebook Group whether this double narrator approach was common in lesfic. Apparently not, and I wonder which were the reasons behind this decision.
While Ms. Beltley’s voice has a youthful and higher pitch quality, Ms. Estrella sounds more mature and lower which maybe would have worked better if this was an age gap romance but in this case, it was a bit disconcerting. In my opinion, Ms. Beltley’s performance sounded sometimes a bit exaggerated though I liked her teary interpretation of some dialogues. I found Ms. Estrella’s voice more pleasant and consistent and would have been my choice for the whole book.
I think that some stories come to life thanks to a good narrating performance and even make the book better, however, I’m afraid that this was not the case for me. I keep my 4-star rating for the book but 3 for the audio version. Overall, 3.5 stars.
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