As You Wish (Shatterproof Bond #1) ~ Isobel Starling, Narrated by Gary Furlong
Updated: Mar 31
This one was a complete impulse read for me. I can’t remember how I found it, most likely I saw it as a recommendation somewhere, but the story line intrigued me enough to give it a go. Out of curiosity I also listened to the narration, and another Whispersync reading was born.
For this book, a skim of Goodreads reviews is an interesting exercise. Although there are a few reviews applauding the author and this book (which I happen to agree with), the majority (at least those that come up first) are neutral to not that great.
Since I often enjoy books that are panned by others, I didn’t let this stop me. Some people were really put off by the female stereotypes sometimes employed in this book. I’m not really sensitive to that type of writing, even though I’m female, it just doesn’t really bother me. Yes, a couple of the women were portrayed as shallow air heads, but I just took it as I thought it was intended and saw them as, what I believe them to be, Declan’s projections of his unhappiness with women. That subconsciously, he’s always been gay, or at least bi, and his inner unhappiness was projected onto how the women were presented.
First the narration. This is my first reading by Gary Furlong, and after just the short sample of Audible I was hooked on his voice. He does amazing British and Scottish accents, and really brought this story to life. I think the narration heightened the experience of the book, and I’d highly recommend either listening or reading & listening through Whispersync (like me). I’ll be checking out other books narrated by Gary, I really did like his voice and I’m interested to see if his skill translates just as well into other books/accents.
The story itself is just as it is described in the blurb. We know from the beginning that Sam is involved in something that seems spy related, but we don’t know what until the end. Declan is the grumpy older man, who believes he’s straight, but he is not really happy or satisfied dating women. The two form a connection over a year’s worth of emails helping to arrange their relative sibling’s wedding, and despite a rather contentious first meeting, that connection quickly grows into a strong attraction.
I just really, really enjoyed this story. I didn’t take it seriously, and appreciated it for what it was, a romantic, hot, and funny story of two men falling in love, with an undercurrent of just who is Sam Aiken, what does he do, and why does his father have so much power over him?
Many people complained about the cliffhanger ending. It is a cliffhanger, I mean it’s a HFN, but nothing concrete. This book wasn’t meant to be a standalone, it is part of a series where each book picks up immediately after the last. This book, in particular, was meant to be an introduction. It introduces the main players, it establishes Declan and Sam’s relationship, and it begins to unravel the mystery that is Sam and how Declan may fit into his life.
So go into this book knowing that while the arc regarding Declan and Sam’s initial stage of their relationship has an end result, it’s definitely a HFN; it is open ended and finishes ready for the second book to begin.
I loved it, and I’m ready for book two (I’ve already purchased the audio). I loved the humour scattered throughout, the references to The Princess Bride (if you didn’t guess it from the title!) and even the secondary characters. I’m sure in later books we’ll get to know Sam and Declan’s families in more depth, and I’m looking forward to that.
I can’t wait to jump into book 2, I think the story will really develop from here as the more suspenseful theme will start to come into effect.
As You Wish is a truly enjoyable introduction to this series, which is designed to be read one after another. I don’t believe any of them are intended to standalone. I loved Gary Furlong’s accents, and his vocal talents brought this story to life.
If this story sounds like anything you would enjoy, I’d highly recommend giving it a go.