Reviewed by PizzyGirl
TITLE: Romancing the Ugly Duckling
SERIES: Dreamspun Desires #36
AUTHOR: Clare London
NARRATOR: Joel Leslie
PUBLISHER: Dreamspinner Press
LENGTH: 7 hours, 15 minutes
RELEASE DATE: June 19, 2017
Is this the makeover of a lifetime?
Ambitious fashionista Perry Goodwood lands the project of his dreams – track down a celebrity family’s missing brother in the Scottish Highlands and bring him back to London for a TV reality show. But first he must transform the rugged loner into a glamorous sophisticate.
Greg Ventura has no use for high fashion. He lives on the isolated island of North Uist to escape the reminder that he’s nowhere near as handsome as his gorgeous brothers and to avoid the painful childhood memories of being bullied.
Greg wants nothing to do with city life, and Perry’s never been outside London. When Perry is stranded on North Uist, this conflict seems insurmountable. But Greg is captivated by the vivacious Perry, and Perry by both the island and his host. However, Perry’s one heartfelt wish remains: that ugly duckling Greg fulfill his potential as a swan.
I’m not generally a fan of this trope but Ms London did a great job of taking something generally superficial and giving it enough depth to really capture my heart. The ugly duckling wasn’t about physical looks so much as the way childhood familial bullying can leave someone scared and hurting even years later. Greg was a fantastic character. While he did have self esteem issues resulting from his brothers, he was very self assured and set in life. He had his insecurities but he was such a good man.
I love that this story was more about bringing out inner beauty than focusing on outer beauty. It was very uplifting to read a story about being happy with yourself and your inner beauty rather than focusing on being physically perfect. It made me tear up occasionally with the amazing message.
I also loved that Perry also had growing and healing to do. Perry was broken by his ex and stuck in a job where he was abused and unappreciated because of debt. But in the end Greg and the secondary characters in Scotland actually helped Perry see he was worth so much more and he could achieve his dreams.
This whole story hit me in the feels. I absolutely LOVED it and everything about it. I am so glad I put aside my reticence at the trope and gave this one a try. I truly enjoyed the story and the message it conveyed. Oh and the romance was great too! This was a fantastic addition to the Dreamspinner Desires line and I will be listening to this one over and over.
Joel Leslie’s performance of this story was excellent. Most of his accents were exactly what I expected them to be and he really did a great job bringing out personalities and emotions and the anxiety when the story turned tense. His rendition of Perry really captured his character perfectly and I think his narration took this story to the next level. I highly recommend it!