Author: Mary Calmes
Narrator: Nick J. Russo
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Run Time: 2 hours and 3 minutes
Category: Contemporary Romance
At a Glance: Again is another example of why Mary Calmes is the master of the novella, but for me it was Nick Russo’s narration that made the whole thing.
Reviewed By: Jules
Blurb: Six years ago, Noah Wheeler went to meet his boyfriend, Dante Cerreto, at the airport, and his world ended. Dante was kissing someone else and claimed to be in love. So Noah took his heartbreak – and the sonogram pictures of their surrogate child – and closed the door on the big picture of what he thought his life would be, focusing instead on the piece of the dream he got to keep, being a father.
Now on vacation in Las Vegas, Noah accidentally runs into the Cerreto family, and then the man himself, and learns that not only was he deceived, but Dante was as well. Now Dante wants to make up for lost time, six years’ worth, and to do that he needs Noah, the only man he’s ever loved, and Grace, the daughter he didn’t know he had, to give him a chance at happiness. Dante’s going to have to take a crash course in communication and seduction, though. Noah’s not going to fall in love just to be broken again.
Review: Wow. I can’t believe this was published in 2011, and I had never read it. Pretty crazy, considering I’m a huge Mary Calmes fan. I’m also a big Nick J. Russo fan, though, so when I saw that he had done the audio, I snapped it up. And I have to say that, after listening to it, the awesome job Nick did with the narration was a major factor in how much I enjoyed the book. I think if Nick’s performance hadn’t endeared me to Dante, I would have wanted to murder him for the entirety of the story. :-D
Again is another example of why Mary Calmes is the master of the novella. In less than a hundred pages, she can have her readers feeling such strong emotions for her characters—whether they be positive or negative—that we genuinely care about the outcome. From the very beginning I was invested in Noah and Gracie’s story, and also fell immediately in love with Noah’s sister, and his best friend, Pete. And, even though Dante was the most insufferable, overbearing ass I’ve read in a very long time, I was still charmed just enough by him to root for him to get what he wanted. I’m not kidding about the overbearing ass thing, though, guys. Dante was simultaneously both the most ridiculously overbearing and obnoxious character I’ve ever read, and the sweetest and most earnest.
I think the fact that this was published in 2011 explains a lot. I don’t think Dante’s character would have been written today the way he was written ten years ago. I think more mind would have been paid to crystal clear consent (there’s a scene in which Dante has his way with Noah, even though Noah has said ‘no’ more than once), and maybe Dante would have been less caveman-ish. But, Dante is working through not wanting to spend one more minute apart from the daughter he just found out he has, so his caveman desperation maybe makes sense on some level.
Honestly, though, for me it was Nick Russo’s narration that made the whole thing. He brings so much heart to the performance; like I said above, it kept me from wanting to straight-up murder Dante. Russo’s voices for each of the characters, including Noah and Dante’s daughter, Grace, were distinct, and matched everyone so nicely. I continue to love all of Russo’s work, as well as Calmes’s, with the exception that certain aspects of this story felt a bit dated and far-fetched.
You can buy Again here:
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