A Barb the Zany Old Lady Audiobook Review: High Test by Elizabeth Noble and Colin Darcy (Narrator)


Rating: 3 stars out of 5

At times elementary, this story is loaded with trope—though in a way that’s to be expected with these Dreamspun Desires stories. Some of the writing was too unpolished and not what I expected. It’s possible though, that some of my impression of the simplistic prose is from the narrator, who told the story in a somewhat singsong voice, although thankfully, he used a different voice for each MC. The non-dialogue portions of the book sounded as if a high school kid were standing in front of the class trying to read in a way sure to please the teacher.

I liked the overall plot concept and I especially love May-December romances, though this one was a bit much—one MC was twice as old as the other. Neal Kirchner, wealthy and well-known architect meets Hayden Owens at the Owens Coffee Company shop one morning when he stops by to try a cup of their brew. He strikes up a conversation with the cute barista and from then on, coffee becomes a part of his morning, and sometimes evening, routine—especially when Hayden is working the closing shift.

He and Hayden go out together, though Hayden never lets him see his apartment and soon becomes convinced that Neal thinks his family owns the Owens coffee shops. Hayden is finishing graduate school, majoring in auto design and engineering, and he and Neal find they have a lot in common due to their technical interests. Though he tries several times to tell Neal that he’s not wealthy and is in fact a poor, struggling student, something, or someone, always interferes just when he’s ready to spill the beans.

Naturally, this causes an issue when the truth comes out, but it’s not what Hayden thinks it’s going to be and it was entertaining and interesting, even though it was a tried-and-true romance trope. I did want to smack Hayden upside the head a few times and I wanted to fast forward my audiobook each time he fell into his self-inflicted angst, but on the whole, I liked the story and the characters, and I think much of my negatives simply came from the narrator’s performance.

If you are interested in May-December romance and like the old romance tropes many of us grew up with, this one should fill the slot.

Cover art by Bree Archer depicts an older dark-skinned man in a business suit against the backdrop of a coffee shop—the perfect depiction of Neal Kirchner, the older architect who falls for the young barista.

Sales Links:  Dreamspinner Press | Amazon | Audible | iTunes

Audiobook Details:

Audible Audio. Length 5:12
Published March 22nd 2018 by Dreamspinner Press
Edition Language English

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