Thursday, March 17, 2022

Then Came the Thunder ~ Audio Book Blog Tour Review

Three Willows, Book One

Audio Book Length: 5 hours and 31 minutes
Producer: Audiobook Empire
Publisher: Rachael Huszar
Categories: Historical Thriller
Released: January 20, 2022



Jessalyn Joy loves her husband, but she can’t help the feelings that arose when he volunteered for the Union army. When he comes back to her in a box instead of on his feet, those feelings complicate even more. Jessalyn’s mourning period is cut short when something begins to attack the livestock in their small town, and greater dangers begin to threaten their provincial life. Thrown together with the new reverend, one of her own students, and a strange man somehow related to her husband’s passing, Jessalyn must find a way to stop the evils that threaten her husband’s first and ultimately last home. Set in the Southwestern home front, Huszar blends a taste of fantasy into a startling down-to-earth world, creating a high stakes adventure for this strong female protagonist and her band of amateur sleuths.



HALL WAYS REVIEW: Audio Book Review: I was thoroughly enticed by the premise of Then Came the Thunder, book one in the Three Willows series by Rachael Huszar, and since the only way I’m able to read books these days is with my ears, I was happy for the chance to review the audio book. The author does a great job of setting the stage, introducing characters, and building a believable – but slightly disturbed – world in Three Willows, a town set somewhere in the southwestern desert of the United States. A town that doesn’t want you to know where it is.

Huszar’s style of introducing elements is subtle; if one were to dive in without reading the cover blurb, it wouldn’t immediately be obvious of the exact time frame of the story, and it wouldn’t be obvious that when town leaders boast they protect the town, they mean it quite literally. And what from? Even that element to the story is presented through a veil that reveals, but then relies on readers to use their imaginations to flesh-out the details. While this was an unusual tactic, it still is impactful and leaves readers ready for more – which is likely available in the second book in the series, Then Came the Fire, which published in February, 2022.

Readers of Then Came the Thunder must be patient for the story to unfold. Many characters are introduced, and by the conclusion of the book, it’s not clear how each will play a part in the bigger story. But Huszar is an intentional writer, and my expectation is that these minor characters will come to the forefront. (I made a list of every one of them, and my suspicions of each.)

One of those characters (though not a minor one) is Roger, a preacher. Wrapping up the book with a sermon was an interesting approach, but it works to re-set the tone, and then the book’s ending leaves lots of opportunities for how the story could go. My only quibbles with the book are the slow pacing and a few anachronisms that caught my ear because they didn’t fit for the Civil War era (for example, a reference to the Welcome Wagon). I wanted more of several plot elements, and I’m curious about what the sources of conflict and tension could be, so I will definitely be reading the next book.

ABOUT THE NARRATION: Jenn Lee’s narration complements Huszar’s text very well, and she does a terrific job in voicing the characters, male and female, young and older. I enjoyed her sassiness when voicing Mamie, a somewhat sultry member of one of the town’s founding families. Other than one word that clanked in my ear (familiar), her pronunciations were perfect and perfectly enunciated, and her pacing was spot-on.  This was the first book I’d listened to on the Kobo app, and I have no complaints about the platform. I wouldn’t hesitate to again listen to the author or use this app for audio. 

I received this audio book as part of my participation in a blog tour with Audiobookworm Promotions. The tour is being sponsored by Audiobook Empire. The gifting of this audio book did not affect my opinion of it. 

Click to listen on SoundCloud!

Rachael Huszar kept her life steeped in stories from a young age, and she began her own journey in story-making when she reached adulthood. In the time since, she has taken up swimming, roller skating, and consuming tabletop RPG streams. She spends the bulk of her time with her dog, Silo, and works full time as a designer in Dallas, Texas.
After 20+ years as professional NYC actor, I stumbled into some documentary voiceover work. From that moment on, I knew the trajectory of my career had been changed forever. I adore narrating and doing VO, and every job feels like a gift.
 At Audiobook Empire, audio reigns supreme, narrators are hailed as heroes, and headphones are worn with pride. Marrying pomp and circumstance with quality you can count on, Audiobook Empire is a full-service production house that produces and promotes audiobooks with gusto. Give your audiobook the imperial treatment by producing it with Audiobook Empire.
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