It’s warm outside and I am dreaming of a place far away. It’s the perfect time for a romance novel set on a tropical island.
This week, I had the pleasure of listened to the recently released audiobook of A Sudden Crush by Camilla Isley.
Joanna Price’s honeymoon is not off to a good start. The Assistant Editor has just married a gorgeous and highly successful best-selling author named Liam, but a delay at their reception has caused them to be late for their check-in.
Now she’s stuck sitting next to an ogre in first-class when all she really wants to do is sit next to her new husband.
As if the plane ride can’t get any worse, the plane crashes, leaving Joanna and “Mr. Ogre,” also known as Connor, on a deserted island, alone, waiting for a rescue to come and find them.
When they finally are rescued, Joanna has to face that her perfect life may not be as easy to reenter as she originally thought.
From page one, Isley does a good job of getting us into Joanna’s voice and head. Joanna is a sweet, workaholic who is just trying to make her honeymoon as perfect as possible. She made a bit of a bad first impression, but weddings are stressful, so I can forgive that.
There is one element of the story that bothered me, the more I thought about it, and it involves the plane crash that leads Joanna and Connor to become traded on the island.
Let me tell you one thing right off the bat, my entire basis for plane crashes comes from an episode of Grey’s Anatomy and the first season of Lost. (Maybe a handful of disaster films with their titles long forgotten.)
So basically, when a plane goes down in a work of fiction I expect something like this to occur:
Joanna and Connor’s adventure is nothing like Lost, at all. They were sucked out of the plane and they are the only ones on the island. The island is completely devoid of humanity, except them. There is wildlife, but that’s it.
There are no cannibals, no pirates, none of the cliched trappings many stuck-on-an-island books can fall into.
The accident feels extremely convenient and as they are walking around the island looking for survival tools I found specific actions that Joanna took at the very beginning of the story obvious.
I am still not entirely sure the events that led Joanna and Connor to be on the island were entirely realistic, but as Connor and Joanna’s relationship developed, the technical details took a backseat and I really enjoyed their relationship.
This is a highly character-driven story about two people in an unlikely scenario on the worst day of their lives.
The people they were before the plane crash informs the choices they make and the relationship that develops is what carries the book.
What I really loved about their relationship was that Joanna and Connor don’t spend the entire book pining over one another, nor does this book fall into the trappings of insta-love.
I think in many cases, it would have been easy to take a cliched route towards a quick romance, but Isley crafts a relationship that is believable and doesn’t rely on indulgences or overused tropes to keep readers hooked.
Connor and Joanna’s relationship forms from animosity into mutual respect and then friendship.
Since A Sudden Crush doesn’t end with their rescue, Joanna and Connor plenty of time to get together in a natural and much more believable way.
The audiobook is voiced by Tami Leah Lacey and the voices used for each of the characters is distinct and dynamic. I could see and picture the two characters in my head the entire time and I laughed a little at some of the lines.
I particularly liked Lacey’s voice for Connor, I think it captured him perfectly and stood in contrast to Joanna’s sweeter, high-pitched voice.
In the end, what really stood out to me was the relationship that formed in this book. I was able to walk away from A Sudden Crush smiling and feeling optimistic and that’s what a good romance novel should do.
FINAL RATING: 4 Stars