Reviewed by Christine
ITLE: Vows Box Set
AUTHOR: Addison Albright
NARRATOR: David Gilmore
PUBLISHER: Addison Albright
LENGTH: 17 hours, 26 minutes
RELEASE DATE: December 19, 2017
Join Henry, Sam, and an appealing supporting cast as they ride a roller coaster of emotions when their lives are derailed before coming back on track, leaving Nash as collateral damage in the novel, ‘Til Death Do Us Part, novelette From This Day Forward, and short story Okay, Then. Nash takes an unusual path to his own happily ever after in To Love and to Cherish.
Contains the stories:
‘Til Death Do Us Part
Henry and Sam are living the dream, but their worlds are shattered when Henry’s plane crashes and he’s presumed dead. But Henry survives undetected on a remote, small, and insignificant island. Will Sam and Henry’s love be able to survive, as well? When Henry is rescued, will Sam be able to put aside his new love when he reunites with Henry?
From This Day Forward
With their nightmare separation behind them, Henry and Sam are anxious to renew both the intensity of their former intimacies – now hampered by having a curious and still apprehensive child sharing their home – and their commitment to one another. Will they be able to move their love forward now that they are together again?
Sam and Henry’s first date/encounter is mentioned in flashback in ‘Til Death Do Us Part, but this short story fleshes it out. Relive the moment they first connect while on a research trip in Honiara in the Solomon Islands.
To Love and to Cherish
Jilted by his fiancé, Sam, just weeks before their wedding, Nash Marino’s outlook on life in general, and love in particular, is jaded. Will Nash find love again? Of course he will. Will he go about it in the usual way? Now that’s another story entirely. When Nash’s marriage-of-convenience scheme is muddied by notions of love after a memory reboot, will their plans go awry, or will Nash’s new outlook on life be just what the doctor ordered?
This review will be for the entire set of stories and novellas, which includes all three of Henry and Sam’s books and shorts and a final installment that chronicles Nash’s story after his relationship with Sam ends.
Overall, the storyline focusing on Sam and Henry is the most satisfying. Told through a series of brief flashbacks and a current, dual timeline from both Sam and Henry’s points of view, ‘Til Death Do Us Part is the most fascinating of all the installments. Henry gets the most page time in this book, and his survival story is truly captivating. Told in a matter-of-fact tone rather than an emotional one, it is still a testament to the human spirit and the will to endure and overcome obstacles in order to live to see another day. The crash and island scenes are vividly portrayed with well-developed details and lively descriptions. The day-to-day events and steps taken in order to survive are quite engrossing, and I found this the most compelling of all the storylines in the set.
Unfortunately, the relationship between Henry and Sam feels rather underdeveloped in this first book, and the “fillers” of From This Day Forward and Okay, Then just don’t fit the bill in helping the reader to feel the connection between these two characters more fully. From This Day Forward does give the reader a better closure and a satisfying HEA, and it is endearing to get more of Buddy’s assimilation into life away from the island. Okay, Then is a cute glimpse into the beginning of Sam and Henry’s relationship, but I felt more connected to them and emotionally invested in the first book.
I liked Nash in his own story, To Love and To Cherish, until I didn’t. He is much more likable in the beginning of the book, when his emotions and reactions to the break-up with Sam feel real and authentic. He has every right to his anger and bitterness, and it would have been much more satisfying to see him work through that in an organic, natural way. When he has his accident, he becomes whiny and dependent, and his growth as a character is, unfortunately, stunted. I truly liked his fiancé’s character and wanted to see this relationship build slowly and naturally, but unfortunately, this marriage of convenience is further complicated by amnesia. That’s just one obstacle too many in what is already a somewhat unrealistic scenario. Although this story started out positively and had excellent potential, it lost me with the freak accident and never quite got me back. Too many tropes and an unfortunate “reboot” of the main character just made this story lose its appeal.
The narration of this set by David Gilmore was also a bit of a struggle for me. Although Mr. Gilmore is a fine narrator with a clear delivery of the story, there isn’t much of a performance factor here. These books are simply being read, with little emotion or change in tone. Unfortunately, the listener never really hears the panic, devastation, or sheer joy that should have accompanied the roller coaster of events that occurred in these stories.
Overall, this set of stories is good but not stellar, with ‘Til Death Do Us Part standing out among the rest. I would most definitely read more of Ms. Albright’s work mainly because she impressed me with Henry’s compelling survival story, her intelligent characters, and the manner in which she executed the plot.