Erryn & Bethany review ‘Red Dirt Heart 3’ by N.R. Walker. Self-published on October 17th, 2014, 287 pgs. Audio released on September 4th, 2017, 8 hours 48 mins. Narrated by Joel Leslie.
Why we listened to this book:
Erryn: Love in the Outback? Aussie and Texan cowboys? Who could resist?
Bethany: I have read this series a few times and when they audios came out I knew I needed to have them in my library.
NOTE: Bethany was provided an audio code for this book in exchange for an honest review.
Life for Charlie Sutton has never been better, or busier. With Travis now a permanent fixture of Sutton Station, a permanent fixture at Charlie’s side, Charlie’s convinced he couldn’t do anything on his ever-growing to-do list without him.
He can run a multimillion dollar cattle business, finish his degree, try and further the local beef industry, deal with staff issues, Ma’s failing health, and an attention-demanding wombat. He can even deal with an unexpected visitor and some shattering news.
He can deal with it all, as long as he has Travis.
But what happens when he doesn’t?
Red Dirt Heart 3 is the story of Charlie Sutton finally realizing he can be the man Travis Craig deserves, even if he doesn’t have Travis. It’s a story of love, family, holding on, letting go, and coming home.
After listening to “The Weight of it All” and “Switched,” I have become a fervent N.R. Walker fan. I had “Red Dirt Heart” in my audible library and it was on my list… When I was asked to do a duo review for Book 3, I wholeheartedly agreed and said I hadn’t listened to the first two. After the gasps of shock, I was urged to read them in order. Great advice. I binged. 3 audiobooks in 3 days.
I was in seventh heaven.
Joel Leslie is one of my all-time favourite narrators and can do no wrong, in my opinion. It was interesting to hear that, after feedback from the listeners of the first book, he changed the voice of Charlie. I didn’t notice the difference, but the comment was that the Australian accent was very thick. To me, it wasn’t an issue. I loved Joel’s performance in all three books and although each is a stand-alone, they are best enjoyed together.
The series is entirely in Charlie’s first-person point of view and, as the series progresses, Charlie and Travis come together. I’ll be honest and say it’s rare I find a couple who capture me for 3 books, but these two are the exception. I love them. I love their misunderstandings, their ups and downs, and their true emotions. They promise to talk to each other, and as anyone in a relationship can attest, this is a challenge. Charlie is a guy who lives in his head and only rarely speaks his thoughts aloud – probably because people would call him on the BS in his mind. Travis is a lay-it-on-the-line guy. He says what he thinks. Everything is good at the end of Book 2.
But this is N.R. Walker. Travis and Charlie are going to get their happy ending, but you know it’s going to be a tough slog to get through Book 3.
Charlie, with Travis’ help, is succeeding at everything he’s doing. Since that is a lot of things, their relationship can sometimes take a back seat. Book 3 takes the couple through some rough times emotionally and when the distance is physical, it looks bleak. Travis has shown Charlie that he can be true to himself, but without Travis, Charlie wonders if he can make it at all. But Nugget the wombat, Ma and George—his surrogate parents, and all those around him rally to support him. Throw in an unexpected guest and the baggage she brings, and this is an emotionally-charged book.
I can relate to Charlie. He’s got a hard shell around him, trying to protect himself from other people who might hurt him. He cares about his employees – even more than he’s able to admit – but he holds himself apart. His mind always goes to the worst-case scenario and he has a hard time believing he is good enough to care about, let alone love. Charlie adores Ma and George, but finds expressing those feelings tough, until he is faced with a crisis. He has only negative memories of his cold and distant father and no memories of the mother who abandoned him when he was just a young child. As the story unfolds, those memories are challenged. That examination leads Charlie to explore how he feels about his life. Is being more successful than his father enough? Is there more to life? Can he ever be good enough to deserve Travis’ love?
This is a book I loved. A perfect ending. There are more written and I can only hope Joel and N.R. are able to join together again to bring them to life. Please give this series a try. You won’t regret it. And, I agree, listen to Red Dirt Heart in order. You won’t be disappointed.
I have been a huge N.R. Walker fan for many years. She always seems to know how to write a story that speaks to me, that leaves me undeniably happy and wanting more. It was no different with this series as well. I devoured the books, they made me cry, they made me mad, they made me laugh so hard, and all in all left me with a feeling of contentment. At the end of the series I felt peace, like every little bump in Charlie and Travis’ road was a hard-earned victory.
Yet there is something so very different listening to a series you love so much versus reading it. A good narrator can make or break a book or series that you love so much. But Joel Leslie NAILS it with this. He brings these two men, along with the rest of the cast to life for me. He transported me to a place I have never been and made me feel like I had lived there my entire life. He transforms these “characters” into “friends”, he gives them a voice that I don’t think anyone else could have done for me. That is why Joel Leslie was the only narrator that made sense for this cast and I can honestly say I give him a solid 10 for his performance not just for this one, but the entire series.
These two have been through so much already to get to where they are as an established couple. The road they have been on has been filled with potholes, and speed bumps. But together they have managed to grow stronger together, and maintain a relationship most would envy. But this one, this book feels more like Charlie, FINALLY, emerging from the shadows and learning he can stand on his own. He doesn’t have to with all the people around him that love and care for him. But this one shows him that when push comes to shove he is stronger than he gives himself credit for. He is the man Travis sees, the man worthy of Travis’ love.
I love N.R. Walkers writing, the way she takes a story and weaves it into something magical. Something that you want to hold onto and carry with you wherever you go. This series is that for me, oh yes pretty much everything I have read by her I adore, but this one? This one is something special. Travis and Charlie hold this space in my heart, that I know if I’m having a tough time I can go back and re-read or re-listen to them and it’s like coming home. It’s like being wrapped in a warm, familiar embrace. This series, as well as the narration, is brilliant and I dare you not to fall in love with it.
N.R. Walker is an Australian author, who loves her genre of gay romance. She loves writing and spends far too much time doing it, but wouldn’t have it any other way.
She is many things; a mother, a wife, a sister, a writer. She has pretty, pretty boys who she gives them life with words.
She likes it when they do dirty, dirty things…but likes it even more when they fall in love. She used to think having people in her head talking to her was weird, until one day she happened across other writers who told her it was normal.
She’s been writing ever since…
Get in touch with N.R.