Audiobook Review: Where Love Grows by Jay Northcote, narrated by Hamish Long


Note: The audiobook was provided by the author.

Nothing quite hits the spot like listening to a Jay Northcote romance, and this particular one happens to be narrated by one of my personal favorites, Hamish Long. Where Love Grows is a standalone and employs the hurt/comfort trope with a deliciously slow burn feel to it. We have Stephen Matheson, who lives in the Welsh countryside and is a former gardener turned bookkeeper dealing with Guillain-Barré Syndrome, and Luke (whose last name I don't recall being mentioned, but I could be wrong), who lives in London and is a software developer recovering from substance addiction and trying to get a grip on depression. When a mutual friend suggests that Luke take some time away from the busy city and head to the quiet of Stephen's more rural residence to help him with chores inside and outside of the home, it seems like a terrible idea. After all, what does someone like London-born and -bred Luke know about cleaning a house and tending to a garden? The last thing Stephen needs is to have him underfoot while recovering from GBS. As the weeks pass, though, not only does Stephen's garden begin to flourish again, something unexpected grows between them. Could they give love a chance to bloom fully or will it wither at season's end?

There was something about this audiobook that just got to me, and I can't pinpoint merely one thing because it was a combination of things. I've always enjoyed Jay Northcote's writing, so it's not as if the fact that I fell in love with this story was a surprise. His main characters had attributes I easily related to, and their back stories allowed me to empathize with them. Neither was perfect--far from it--and they were dealing with their own hurts and issues, knowing that they could never go back to how life was before and coming to grips with that harsh reality, much like countless of us do, not just with the current state our world is in, but in our personal circumstances as well. Then there's Hamish Long's narration, and goodness, could he have done a better job bringing these characters and this story to life? His performance was nuanced, switching from Stephen to Luke and then to the notable supporting characters. That subtlety of Long's was the perfect accompaniment to Northcote's writing, and together, this audiobook was a sublime bit of storytelling that lulled me into a book hangover I do not regret. Five stars for Where Love Grows.

Date Listened to: 19 August 2020

Learn more about Jay Northcote.

Learn more about Hamish Long.

Purchase Where Love Grows on Audible.

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