Sunday, October 13, 2013

Shades of Honor by Wendy Lindstrom, Narrated by Julia Motyka

Former Union soldier Radford Grayson returns to his small hometown, looking for a stable and comforting place to raise his young, motherless daughter. Despite his troubled past, his hopes are to reconcile with his family and put his dark secrets behind him. But he doesn't count on falling in love with Evelyn--his brother's financee...

When Evelyn Tucker accepted her childhood friend Kyle Grayson's marriage proposal, she thought it was the best way to make her ailing father happy. But after Radford arrives home, the fiery and independent Evelyn realizes that the comfort and friendship Kyle gives her will never hold a candle to the instant, undeniable passion she feels for Radford. Now their forbidden desire threatens to shatter family ties and destroy newfound dreams--unless their love has the power to overcome all obstacles...


Fredonia, New York, August 1870

He always knew he’d come back. Everything he’d ever wanted was here.

Shades of Honor is the first book in the Grayson Brothers series. It’s a post Civil War romance, this first book being the eldest brother’s story. Radford is tired of running from the nightmares of death, pain, and destruction, and returns home to work with his brothers at the family’s lumber mill. But he arrives to find that running kept him away too long and he may no longer be welcomed home.

I’ve seen these books popping up here and there in friends reviews and had been planning to read them one day. When the author contacted me and asked if I’d review her audio book, I was more than a little excited! I’m going to break my review down by the actual story, and then the audio book.

The Book:

The Grayson world in Freedonia is lovely. Such a peaceful post war time when things and families are returning to normal again. The characters Ms. Lindstrom has given us are honorable, hard working, passionate people. They've known great loss but they have hopes and dreams and refuse to give up. They keep going, heads held high, always striving to do the right thing.

Pre-, Post-, and current Civil War is one of my favorite time periods to read about in my historical romance novels. There’s something about the era – the plantations, the gentility of the South… it’s such a romantic setting. However, Shades of Honor is not set in the South, there’s nothing to speak of money, no balls or Scarlet O’Hara dramas - overmuch, but I did enjoy it. It’s a very sweet, slow paced, day-in-the-life kind of story about finding that yes, you can go home again, but it might not be on your own terms.

The Audio:

The Grayson Brothers series is being narrated by Julia Motyka, and I’ll say this right up front: She has a beautiful voice! It’s clear, passionate, and captures perfectly the deeply emotional side to the story. The only problem I have with Ms. Motyka’s narration is that sometimes I felt there was too much of a dramatic voice given to certain scenes. There were poignant moments brilliantly read where Ms. Motyka had me fighting back the tears, but for the most part I think she could have taken it down a notch without taking away from the overall emotional depth of the story.

The Bottom Line:

Though not without some flaws, Shades of Honor is an uplifting, entertaining read. If you enjoy charming, romantic, passionate stories with emotionally scarred heroes looking to find ‘home’ again, this might be right up your alley.

My sincerest thanks to Wendy Lindstrom for providing me with a copy of this audio book in exchange for an honest review.

The ebook format of Shades of Honor is currently free for Kindle at Amazon:

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