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This review is also available on my blog, Bows & Bullets Reviews
Cache Calder's life will never be the same. He is still trying to get his bearings after a suicide bomber left him injured and his friends dead. It was his fault they were there, chasing a story for his photojournalism career. So when his boss shows up demanding he travel to Alaska for a new story, he tells him to shove it. That is, until he learns that his subject is Amelia Bennett, the girl who gave him the acclaim to chase the stories he wanted. Mel Bennett has left her old life as far behind as possible. No one in her new life knows that she was the kidnap victim of a religious fanatic 20 years ago. But when strange things start happening at the Edge just after Cache's arrival, her control and her grip on reality start to falter and suddenly, she has much bigger problems than the people at the lodge discovering her past.
Mel was a stubborn character! She was determined to have everything her way, regardless of the cost to her. She's smart and strong and completely enviable in some ways. After all, this woman is fully capable of looking after herself in Alaska, where the dangers range from hypothermia in the winter to bear attacks to angry poachers to just making sure you have enough food. She does everything. She hunts, she fishes, she flies a damn plane. The woman can take on almost any challenge. But it also makes you wonder how important that control over her world is. I cannot imagine the horrors of her kidnapping and the torment of being held captive for as long as she was, but I can imagine that after an ordeal like that, control is paramount. I can also imagine that she's still suffering lingering effects of PTSD. Either way, watching her fight her attraction to Cache was very amusing.
Then we have Cache himself, a character I was instantly rooting for. Once he boards his plane to Alaska, he learns that not only has Mel not granted permission to do her story, but his superiors have booked him under a false name so they can be surreptitious about obtaining her story. Being a man of incredible honor, he refuses to do this job. He'll take Mel's picture, but he won't turn them over or print a word of her story unless he receives written permission to do so. Then, once he arrives on the Edge, he sees how wonderful Alaska (and Mel) can be. He's too caught up in the world to come clean with her and then he is scared of the consequences. Things get heated, and fast and suddenly, all he wants to do is quit his job and stay on the Edge for the rest of his life. There is something about this isolated part of Alaska that has captured him. The wildlife is fascinating and the scenery is gorgeous. It's land made for a photographers eyes and he cannot get enough.
What was really great about this was the entire cast has their own story. Helmer gave you the standard perspectives of Mel and Cache, but you also got a bit of Lynette and Emily and Nicole wrapped in. The side characters each got their own mini story that was equally as interesting as Mel's. I'll admit there were times when I just wanted to get back to the main story line, but each additional perspective gave me a bigger picture of the story and that made it better.
There was nothing about this story that bothered me. It gets 4 stars because I don't adore it the way I adore my 5 star books. It was interesting and fascinating, but that magical, OMFG, this is AMAZING quality was missing. Don't misunderstand me, this book was great and I highly recommend it to romance fans, but it isn't something that I think I'll ever re-read. The mystery, I have to say, was entirely captivating. Who the hell was messing with Mel? Was it all in her head? Who is fucking with the canoes and stealing the food? What the hell is going on at this lodge?!?
The story is engrossing, the writing is great, and the tension between Mel & Cache is palpable. This has everything you could want in a romance.
This is my first Mia Chiarmonte novel. I have to say, she does a pretty spectacular job. I'm relatively picking about narrators. They can't have an over-nasal-y voice or a whiny voice. They must be able to show inflection and create different voices. I've came across some I loved (Emily Bauer) and some I hated (Justine Eyre), and some in the middle. A good narrator can make or break how I feel about a novel. The mark of a good narrator, for me, is when I forget that there is just one person reading this story because each voice takes on a different character for me. That definitely happened with Mia. She reads at a great pace with varied voices for each character. Pacing is another thing that's super important with audios. Too slow and you are bored. Too fast and you feel like you've missed something. I know Audible gives you the option of speeding up or slowing down, but I don't like doing that. I like listening to the narrator's natural pace. Mia does a perfect job. I don't have a single complaint and that is really saying something.
****Thank you to Esther Bochner at Audible for providing me with an audio copy in exchange for an honest review****