Author: Anna Martin
Narrator:: R.L. Nelson
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Run Time: 5 Hours, 51 Minutes
At a Glance: If you’re looking for a sweet, easygoing story, and don’t mind a bit of insta-love, then definitely give this one a listen.
Reviewed By: Jules
Blurb: Ellis Broad never imagined he would end up a single father before he turned twenty-nine. Then again, most of his expectations for the future evaporated when his husband of three years filed for divorce, leaving Ellis as their six-month-old son Harrison’s only parent. After the divorce Ellis hides, working from home on his small graphic design business so he can be a full-time dad. He succeeds until Zane Hadlin stumbles into his life.
Zane is everything Ellis desires and everything he fears at the same time. A former gang member from the wrong side of the tracks, Zane turned his life around after his older brother was killed in a shooting. Now an artist, Zane shows Ellis a path back into the world and all he’s been missing out on.
The only problem is, Ellis’s ex-husband hasn’t quite gone for good, and his digging into Zane’s past could drag up secrets no one is prepared to deal with.
Review: I have to say right off the bat that I’m a big fan of Anna Martin’s books, and typically a huge fan of family stories. This should have been right up my alley. But, for a few reasons, Summer Son was hit and miss for me.
The main character, Ellis, is a single dad who has found himself in a day-to-day rut of caring for his six-month-old baby, Harrison, and working from home. If he’s not spending late nights up with Harrison, then he’s burning the midnight oil, finishing up some design project or other, and has basically given up on the idea of a happily ever after for himself. He’s wrong, of course, and his shot at happiness appears in the form of Zane Hadlin, whom Ellis meets on a very rare night out with friends. Zane is adorable, and the two of them together are very sweet. And, Zane with Harrison? Fuhgeddaboutit. I swooned so hard in chapter five, when Zane shows up in the middle of the night and helps Ellis with a sick Harrison, and then feeds and takes care of him in the morning so Ellis can sleep. Cute factor, off the charts.
I initially enjoyed the story and the narration. As far as I can tell, this is the first audiobook done by R.L. Davis, and overall, he does a very good job. I’ve discovered that I’m extremely picky about my narrators. I can’t tell you how many times I have started listening to a book, then turned it off within two chapters. That wasn’t the case here at all, though. Davis’s performance is, as I said, quite good. His voice is nice and lends well to the characters. He does a great job with a couple of the female characters; I particularly enjoyed what he does with Ellis’s attorney! I even stopped and made notes a couple of times while listening, that I could hear the smile in his voice and other little things that I liked. For the most part, his reading was solid.
There is a big glitch with the production, however, at the end of chapter 4 (the contents lists it as chapter 5, because they have the Audible intro as chapter 1). The audio cuts off about 10 pages at the end of the chapter, so you lose a whole section where Zane works/plays with Harrison at the art center, as well as a bit of insight into Zane and his career goals, and how he is with kids. Luckily a friend was able to loan me the book so I could see if my suspicion about the problem was correct, as the chapter ended so abruptly that I thought something had to be off. I read those pages for myself, but that was a bummer.
Things move along with the guys; they become close very quickly and decide to move in together. Ellis’s ex-husband, Oliver, is a giant prick, and tries to cause trouble with Ellis due to some unexplained prejudice he has against Zane. It is initially made out in the book to be a much bigger deal than Oliver just not wanting someone else to have Ellis, but that’s really all it turns out to be. I definitely felt like there was a lot of drama just for drama’s sake. Things with Zane and Ellis also moved much too quickly to be believable, and much of the ending seemed very contrived.
That being said, there were also a lot of things that I liked about the story. I loved the tight-knit community of friends and family that Ellis and Zane are a part of, and how they always have each other’s backs. I have a group like that myself, and there are times that I couldn’t have made it without them. Also, Zane as a younger guy with an old soul really worked for me. He had been through a lot in his life, and it was easy to imagine that he was pretty clear on what he wanted out of a relationship and for his future. I liked how driven he was. And, I loved the parts of the story where it was so obvious how much Ellis completely adored his son. Even though he didn’t choose to be a single parent, and things were tough, Anna Martin makes it clear that Harrison is Ellis’s world.
If you’re looking for a sweet, easygoing story, and don’t mind a bit of insta-love, then definitely give this one a listen. I think you’ll enjoy it.
You can buy Summer Son here: