Author: Sofie Darling
Narrator: Mary Sarah
Length: 9 hours
Publisher: Sofie Darling
Released: Dec. 13, 2017
Genre: Historical Romance
Rating: 5 Stars
I received this audiobook as part of my participation in a blog tour with Audiobookworm Promotions. The tour is being sponsored by Sofie Darling. The gifting of this audiobook did not affect my opinion of it.
Paris, September 1824
Lord Nicholas Asquith needs his wife. Too bad he broke her heart ten years ago.
Can he resist a second chance at the love he lost?
When Mariana catches the eye of the man at the center of an assassination plot, Nick puts aside their painful past and enlists her to obtain information by any means necessary, even if it means seducing the enemy agent.
Even if the thought makes his blood boil.
Only by keeping his distance from Mariana these last ten years was he able to pretend indifference to her. With every moment spent with her, he feels his tightly held control slipping.
Can she trust the spy who broke her heart?
Mariana spent the last decade forgetting Nick. Now she has the chance to best him at his own game, an opportunity she can’t resist, even as her view of him begins to shift. Increasingly, she wants nothing more than to seduce her own husband.
It's only a matter of time before mad passion ignites, a passion never convincingly extinguished. A passion that insists on surrendering to the yearning of the flesh and, quite possibly, of the heart.
I thoroughly enjoyed listening to the voice actor as she took me on a historical adventure that our author weaves. And I can see this being on my list of books to listen to again.
Who was your favorite character and why?
I would have to say that Mariana became my favorite character. She has a strong spirit that won't accept what she's been told. She's willing to pull up her boot straps and become a part of her husband's world. A man she's not very happy with.
Which character – as performed by Mary Sarah – was your favorite?
I can't say I had a favorite. She did a great job with accents and getting me immersed into what was going on. Since some of the story takes part in Paris, she gives us French accents for some characters. I felt that she could have read the whole story in French and I would have thoroughly enjoyed - even though I would have no idea what she was saying. She was part of the driving force that had me enjoying the story that Ms. Darling has written.
Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?
I can't say that there was any scene or moment that particularly moved me. Every scene was needed to lead us through this romance and the bits of suspense our two main characters create. But then I could always go back and listen to the book again and see if I could find that moment - I certainly wouldn't mind.
Any additional comments?
Ms. Darling and Ms. Sarah are a perfect couple. Our author writes about a woman trying to turn the tables on her husband and our voice actor turns the tables on the listener. It's a case where I think the reader gets more out of the story by listening than by reading. Ms. Sarah gives voice to the characters that a reader may not be able to do justice. It's a story that left me looking forward to reading and listening to both these ladies work.
Ms. Darling reminds me what I like about historical romances and also what I miss. She transports me back to a time where I would feel out of place but it doesn't stop me from appreciating what her female character went through in her story and looking forward to more. I like strong women and those that are willing to not let a man define them. The only thing that confused me was about the children that are a part of the main character's lives.
Ms. Sarah is more than a narrator. A narrator tells us a story but a voice actor gives the reader a more interesting experience. We get to hear what a character may actually sound like. We can feel as if we are a part of the story. And they take on accents that just add to the adventure that the author is taking us on.
Sofie spent much of her twenties raising two boys and reading every book she could get her hands on. Once she realized that she was no longer satisfied with simply reading the books she loved, that she must write them, too, she decided to finish her degree and embark on a writing career. Mr. Darling and the boys gave her their wholehearted blessing.
When she’s not writing heroes who make her swoon, she runs a marathon in a different state every year, visits crumbling medieval castles whenever she gets a chance, and enjoys a slightly codependent relationship with her beagle, Bosco.
Q&A with Author Sofie Darling
- How did you select your narrator?
- Three Lessons in Seduction is my first published novel, and the task of finding a narrator felt a bit overwhelming. So I just started listening to books in my genre. It wasn’t long before I came across Mary Sarah narrating a Tamara Leigh novel, and I fell in love with her performance. Mary Sarah has a way of expressing emotion that is, in my opinion, unparalleled. She blows me away with her skill.
- How closely did you work with your narrator before and during the recording process? Did you give them any pronunciation tips or special insight into the characters?
- We worked fairly closely together. Since this was my first experience with creating an audiobook, Mary Sarah was great at walking me through the process. I provided her with character breakdowns that included details like nationality, class, rank, and a few adjectives that pinpointed each character’s defining characteristics. She’s such a pro that she didn’t need much more guidance from me.
- Were there any real life inspirations behind your writing?
- For Three Lessons, the city of Paris, both its past and its present, provided inspiration far beyond being a mere setting for the story. I had so much fun recreating locations that I’d visited in the 21st century into their 19th century counterparts. Paris itself became a fleshed-out character.
- How do you manage to avoid burn-out? What do you do to maintain your enthusiasm for writing?
- Travel is my number one way of avoiding burn-out. I must always, always have a trip booked and on the horizon. Even if the trip is nine months in the future, I know it’s there. This helps my mind sink in to whatever project I’m working on, and the ticking clock provides the impetus to complete whatever goal I’ve set. Then, when I’m on the trip, that’s when my batteries recharge, and I come home ready to write some more and book my next trip.
- Is there a particular part of this story that you feel is more resonating in the audiobook performance than in the book format?
- As Three Lessons is a romance, the emotion of the story ramps up as my hero and heroine find their way toward love. Any time Nick and Mariana are in a room together, Mary Sarah’s masterful performance makes me feel every emotional response alongside them.
- Are you an audiobook listener? What about the audiobook format appeals to you?
- I became a voracious audiobook listener a few years ago when I was training for a marathon. Bored with the same old podcasts I’d been listening to on those long runs, I decided to branch out into audiobooks. I never looked back. During marathon training season, I can listen to one or two books a week. I love it.
- What do you say to those who view listening to audiobooks as “cheating” or as inferior to “real reading”?
- I’d invite them to look back to the Greeks, where storytelling began as an oral tradition with Homer. It was only much later that the Odyssey and the Iliad were put to paper. For me, it matters less how I receive an excellent story than that I do. I love the written word, but when spoken aloud, it can take on a whole other life.
- Have any of your characters ever appeared in your dreams?
- I’m not sure that any of my characters have appeared in my dreams, but I do this thing when my alarm goes off in the morning. I hit snooze and close my eyes. Then I go into this twilight state, half-asleep / half-awake, and allow my characters to wander around my head for ten minutes, until the alarm goes off again. Sometimes, they tell me what they want to do on the page today. Other times, they tell me they didn’t like what they did yesterday, and I need to have another think about it. Either way, it provides me with a solid starting point for the day’s writing.
- What gets you out of a writing slump? What about a reading slump?
- When I’m in a writing slump, I’ll start reading in a different genre from what I’m writing. The same goes for reading. If all romances are starting to read the same to me, I’ll pick up a cozy mystery or a non-fiction title, something that resets my brain and gives me some fresh ideas.
- What’s next for you?
- Mary Sarah and I have begun recording Tempted by the Viscount, the follow-up to Three Lessons in Seduction, which releases in June.
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