I received this book for free from in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.In Want of a Wife by Jo Goodman
Series: Bitter Springs #3
Narrator: Talmadge Ragan
Published by Tantor Audio on May 6, 2014
Length: 12 hours, 27 minutes
Audio | Goodreads
Jane Middlebourne needs a way out. In 1891, life in New York is unforgiving for a young woman with no prospects, especially when her family wants nothing to do with her. So when Jane discovers an ad for a mail-order bride needed in Bitter Springs, Wyoming, she responds with a hopeful heart.
Rancher Morgan Longstreet is in want of a wife who will be his partner at Morning Star, someone who will work beside him and stand by him. His first impression of the fair and fragile Jane is that she is not that woman. But when she sets out to prove him wrong, the secrets he cannot share put into jeopardy every happiness they hope to find...
Jane Middlebourne needs a way out of New York City. As the ward of a distant cousin, she’s destined for a lonely life of servitude. Morgan Longstreet recently bought a ranch in Bitter Springs and needs a wife to help him manage Morning Star. When Jane answers his ad for a bride, he believed he’d found the perfect solution for both of them.
When Morgan sees Jane in person, he doesn’t mask his disappointment because he thinks she’s not going to be tough enough to withstand the rugged life on a ranch in Wyoming. Jane’s discouraged as she’d hoped to find a willing partner in Morgan, in time developing affection for one another.
The heart of the story
I love western historicals and this was one of the most authentic stories I’ve read in the genre for quite some time. There was no instant love here and ranch life is tough. Morgan’s not an easy man and he doesn’t mask his feelings around Jane. She’s well educated and forthright, which made them surprisingly a good match. He’s not educated but extremely bright and savvy, though very reticent. Both had complicated pasts and Morgan’s resurfaced to wreak havoc in a major way.
Unfortunately, this was the weakest part of my reading experience. The narrator didn’t seem to have a sense of the tone of the story or understand the characters. I couldn’t tell when Morgan was being clever or caustic because no distinctions were made. Most of the performance sounded rote, almost as if it was computer generated. It just didn’t work for me and I had to go back and read the prologue from the sample to understand what turned out to be a critical passage.
The bottom line
I enjoyed the story in spite of my issues with the narration. I just had to work harder to figure out the nuances provided by the author. I loved how Morgan and Jane’s relationship developed and it’s the strength of the story. And, the ending was exciting with a strong climax. I’ll definitely go back and read the first two books in the series (this one stands alone very well as I didn’t discover it was part of a series until I’d finished) and I’ll continue it but not with this narrator.