AJ: I know Dante’s story better than anyone. After all, I was the one who rescued him from his homophobic, abusive father eight years ago. Since then, I’ve kept my distance, but when I run into him at the Marian House gala and he doesn’t recognize me, I can’t resist the incredible, sensitive man he’s become.
I would do anything to protect Dante Marian, but what if his past keeps me from being part of his future?
Dante: Every new relationship has obstacles, it just turns out that ours involves my bumbling inexperience (ugh), an octogenarian naughty toy party (don’t ask), and being on the run in an RV with Aunt Tilly (it involves the Secret Service – no, really, don’t ask).
When my biological father takes his homophobic views on a national platform, the only way to stand up for what I believe in is to claim my past and confront him. So now it’s time to decide: Do I put the past behind me and walk away from AJ for good? Or face my biggest fear and fight for what’s mine?
Fair warning: Dante and AJ’s story contains frequent detailed scenes of man parts touching, little old ladies being inappropriate (this time with, ah, props), and two hearts finding their HEA when they least expect it.
While it can also be listened to on its own, Delivering Dante is the sixth in the Made Marian series. Each audiobook tells the story of one of the Marian brothers’ search for true love.
Trigger Warning: Delivering Dante includes references to domestic violence and conversion therapy.
This is a series that I only listen to because the narration is so good! As a result I think it affects my “interpretation” in that I’ve usually read a book before I listen and thus sort of made my own opinions of things. With listening, some of that is given to the narrator whose voice choice and pacing can influence how a listener “hears” the story and the narrator can thus almost change some of the story’s “meaning”.
Pauley does the entire series and I’ve been very pleased by his voice choices and his pacing. I don’t think he “interpreted” the story incorrectly, but I do think the pacing was way off.
When we start the story we are given a dark, hurtful moment in Dante’s life and then shown how it has effected him over the last eight years. I was surprised at how quickly the story jumped from his dark depths to him running away with (to him) a stranger and hoping to get into bed when he’s a virgin and has been that way by choice.
I was also surprised that AJ – who for eight years kept his identity a secret (I won’t tell you why, but I will say I DON’T UNDERSTAND WHY!) suddenly feels comfortable enough to risk the discovery.
I was also surprised at the interspersing of a totally random and strange side trip to Vegas that our MCs take and the flip flopping from emo-driven exploration of inner feelings to hot sex to goofy slap-stick comedy made my head spin.
I couldn’t catch my breath with this story. It felt very different from the others in the series in that way and I’ve previously enjoyed the others in this series (to varying degrees but mostly a lot.) One minute Dante was dark and introspective, the next he was a horny teenager hot to rid himself of his virginity, then he was a devoted family member caring about Tilly until he was lost in sex again, then he is dedicated to his LGBT cause one minute and hiding his head in the sand about his father the next. He and AJ also flip flopped back and forth between “he loves me he loves me not” so many times I wasn’t always aware if they were dating or “broken up” half the time.
One other main issue I had with this was AJ and his reason for keeping himself from Dante for so long and then when they meet again, his reluctance to reveal his past. I just didn’t get it and wasn’t compelled by his explanation.
While I wanted to love this – and parts really did touch me – it was too frenetic and had too many strange plot deviations for me to really feel good about recommending it. Fans of the series will probably want to read it and many will like it. I couldn’t connect with the pacing and it just felt too disconnected for my taste.
2.5 for the story
5 of 5 for the narration
Overall 3.5 of 5 stars
Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review