Review: Wanderlust

Sunday 18 March 2018
Wanderlust Wanderlust by Lauren Blakely
My rating: 3 of 5 stars


I purchased this book on Audible as soon as I saw that it was narrated by Richard Armitage. A British character and narrator is a rare commodity amongst the romance genre and author group that I follow so I was beyond excited to start listening to story. The story also piqued my interest because it is set in Paris and in particular the Montmartre district, an area which is steeped in history, beauty and offers a fascinating backdrop to any romance story.

We first meet Joy as she travels to Paris for work. With a nose for a scent, she is excited to be starting a year-long contract in the city doing the job she loves. Willing to embrace everything French, she excitedly tries to use what little French she knows but initially with very funny results. Fortunately for her, she has a translator appointed to support her. What Joy doesn't realise is that her new translator has already made a lasting impression on her thanks to an impromptu meeting in a boulangerie!

Griffin and Joy share an immediate attraction and it is clear from the outset that their personalities match. Joy is your typical effervescent American and Griffon is the swoon-worthy Brit with an accent that she has, to date, only dreamt about. When they realise that they are to work together, Joy and Griffon decide to become friends but their friendship grows as they spend endless hours together, walking the streets of Paris and sharing their common interests alongside the sights and sounds of the city.

With Griffon's time in Paris coming to an end, as he prepares to travel to Indonesia to complete a marathon in memory of his late brother, Joy and Griffon try, unsuccessfully, to protect their hearts from the imminent loss. Having both fallen in love with each other, they part not knowing where their respective futures will take them.

I struggled to wholly enjoy RA's interpretation of Griffon. At times, his character portrayal came across a little stilted and lacking in emotion. When added to the female narrator, their respective POVs just didn't work. I wanted to spend all of my time with RA, as expected, and that may have taken the shine off Grace Grant's contribution to the story and possibly even RA's.

Overall, the story was also a little slow and didn't really develop even by its conclusion, despite the fascinating sights and sounds captured by the author. Lauren Blakely's enthusiasm for the city was clearly evident in her writing but possibly to the detriment of the story and her characters. Also, the romantic scenes were cold and clinical and totally lost in translation in audio format. Whilst Lauren Blakely is probably not aware of RA's massive fanbase, her use of him as a narrator could have a negative effect on the book's ratings. When compared to his work on The Tattooist of Auschwitz, this story could be a step too far for his die-hard fans! I'm sure though, when the ebook/paperback releases, and Lauren's normal fan base reads the story, they will thoroughly enjoy it.

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