When I read The Scent of Rome, I was overwhelmed, much as I often am in Italy, which is another proof of Lise Gold’s talent. Because of that sensation overload, I didn’t enjoy this story as much as it deserved, which resulted in a 4* rating. I’m now giving it the 5* it probably should have been from the start.
While I’d needed a little time to get know and appreciate Nadine in my first read, I liked her immediately this time around. I didn’t feel as overwhelmed when listening to the audiobook, and I wonder if it’s because I already knew the story, the characters, the atmosphere, or if it comes from the nature of audiobooks. As paradoxical as it may seem, when I read, I hear the sounds the author conjures. When listening to a narrated book, there’s no background noise. All there is is the voice. It falls entirely to the narrator to bring everything to life, the characters obviously but also the environment they exist in. And that’s the difference between a good narrator, who will make listening nice and enjoyable, and an excellent one, who will breathe life into the narration. TJ Richards falls into the second category.
The voice TJ Richards gave Nadine didn’t sound like the one I had imagined for her but it still worked perfectly. And Rome’s voice, in particular when she tells her best friend about Nadine, gave me goosebumps. I think what impressed me most is all the tiny nuances, especially the vulnerability TJ Richards manages to inject. Nothing is sexier than a strong woman allowing her vulnerability to show or a vulnerable woman finding her strength. We get both from both women in this novel.