Review of ‘Season’s meetings’ by Amy Dunne,
Audiobook narrated by Nicola Victoria Vincent
Catherine Birch is a lonely workaholic who hates Christmas and would rather stay at home without celebrating it. But her best friend gives Catherine no option but to join her and her family in the Highlands of Scotland. But after missing her flight, Catherine joins the hosts’ cousin Holly Daniels on a road trip from London to Scotland. Both women are opposites in many ways but their chemistry is undeniable. When they get stranded in the middle of a snowstorm with the risk of freezing to death, they forge a pact: if they escape, they’ll make this a Christmas to remember. But will it be remembered for the right reasons?
I liked the premise of this book very much though I have some doubts about its execution. On the positive side, the main characters are well-written, Ms. Dunne builds their chemistry through natural-sounding dialogue and an increasing rapport between them. This is an opposites-attract romance and the differences in the characters’ personalities and life experiences are exploited well. Both main characters make the story shine. It’s impossible for the reader not to feel empathy towards them, most especially Catherine, whose hatred for Christmas is justified.
I found the first part of the book mostly the shared road trip between the mains, realistic, entertaining and, at times, nail-biting. However, in the second half is when the story starts to go south. In my opinion, one particular promise that Catherine made in the distant past was overestimated. While it doesn’t sound completely unrealistic, it definitely sounds forced into the story as a contrived plot device. Unfortunately, its resolution feels forced and rushed too. It’s a pity because the story was very enjoyable up to that point and without it, the final result would have been so much better.
Having read this book a few years ago, I sincerely would have passed the chance to listen to the audiobook except for my 12 Lesbian Audiobooks of Christmas Challenge. Now that would have been a real shame as Nicola Victoria Vincent’s narration is outstanding. Whoever took the decision to call Ms. Vincent to narrate this book should be praised and given a pay rise. This is one of those prime examples where the narration improves the overall result and, in this case, saves the day. While I wouldn’t recommend the written book, the audiobook narration is worth a listen.
Ms. Vincent is hands down one of my favourite lesfic audiobooks narrator and this performance confirms it once more. Her voices of both main characters are not only distinctive but, in my opinion, they are also a reflection of the personalities as written by the author. Holly sounds young and upbeat, while Catherine sounds more mature and sombre. Ms. Vincent’s performance of Catherine’s stutter is formidable providing a realistic effect that brings the character to life. The same happens with the rest of the characters, male or female and don’t get me started with all those thick Scottish accents. Absolutely fantastic. In addition to that, the range of feelings that are part of this story: fear, anger, love, and sadness are convincingly interpreted so the listener gets the whole package of narration heaven. So, if you think you can put up with some forced plot mechanisms in order to enjoy a bit of positive Christmas spirit, this might be an audiobook for you. Unfortunately, it is not available on Audible Escape or Scribd. Duration: 8 hrs and 24 mins.
Overall, a very good lesbian opposites attract Christmas audiobook. 4 stars for the story, 5 stars for the narration. Average 4.5 stars.