Romance, country music
On Amazon UK HERE
On Amazon.com HERE
Reviewed by me as part of Rosie Amber's Book Review Team
The debut novel by Julie Stock is a sweetly old-fashioned romance, in which English country singer Rachel meets her handsome prince, Jackson Phillips - who just happens to be a rich and successful independent record mogul from Nashville. It's strong attraction at first sight, but the path of true love is not a straightforward one.
I think this novel will appeal very much to readers who love traditional romance stories; I describe it as 'old-fashioned' in a good way; there's little reference to popular culture or general 21st century attitudes and it's very much of its genre. It's not what I gather is called a 'sweet romance' as there is a bit of earthy passion there too, but of the 'mounting desire' type, nothing at all graphic, and there's no bad language in it, a factor that will appeal to many. Obviously it will have an added attraction to country music fans, too!
This is a difficult book for me to review as Julie Stock has written a weekly blog about her path to publication, many episodes of which I have read, so I know a little about the quandaries that presented themselves during the process. As far as the continuity, structure and pace go I think she has made an excellent job of it, and she made a good decision to tell the story in two alternating first person points of view, which always adds interest. The book is well presented with minimal errors. I read that she was worried about lack of description of her settings, but I thought that the beginning, in particular, was illustrated very nicely. The sense of an idyllic British seaside town in August is all there; there's a slightly dreamy quality about it which really worked.
To sum up - the research of practical details throughout the book cannot be faulted but the lack of insight into the music industry and character realism weakened it. However, there are plenty of positives, lots of happy gooey bits for romance addicts, and I'll give this suggestion to Julie: try writing a big emotional scene over a couple of glasses of wine, it helps you to let go and feel what people really would say under certain circumstances. I wrote a difficult chapter of one of my earlier books via Blossom Hill red, and it's one that people say actually makes them cry. It works!