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From Here to Nashville: A Country Music Romance Kindle Edition
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From Here to Nashville is a book I have been eyeing up ever since I saw the beautiful cover reveal earlier in the year. I love reading books which have a music theme to them and I was interested to read the book anyway having been following Julie’s writing process a little through her blog. At the beginning of From Here to Nashville, we meet Rachel, part of the band Three’s Company, performing in front of a small pub audience. The first song they were covering was Need You Now by Lady Antebellum which is one of my favourite songs so I was quite easily won over! At the gig, Rachel meets a gorgeous American guy in Jackson Phillips, owner of an independent record label in Nashville. The scene is set really for the entire book in chapter one. We see Rachel’s passion for her music, how quickly she is drawn to Jackson and the obvious little drama building with Three’s Company’s guitarist. As far as introductory chapters go, Julie managed to grab my attention straight away and it was kept throughout the whole book.
The story in this book transports us from Dorset to Nashville. We get to read a good deal of both settings and I felt the author paid attention to detail and helped me in my mind develop a really good picture of both places. Her description of each setting brought the story to life and I found myself as much into the touristy side to both places as Rachel and Jackson were as I was really drawn into all the sights and locations, especially catching on to the feel of the seaside early on.
Occasionally I found myself wanting to read more about the music rather than the romance between Rachel and Jackson. I really love a story about someone chasing their dream and early on, we see how much Rachel wants to be a country music singer for real, not just the odd gig here and there. In contrast to her bandmates Sam and Matt, Rachel so obviously loved and wanted to be a successful artist and though I liked seeing her slip into an easy relationship with Jackson, the romance took over the story just a tiny bit too much for me. I would have liked to have seen just a couple more gigs or more of the Nashville music scene because I felt Julie wrote them so well. It was great how simple I found it to connect with the lyrics of a singer who is purely fictional and when the crowd get behind her, Rachel comes out of her shell and it livens up the book. Rachel was such a likeable character that I couldn’t help but want her to be happy and seeing her choose to follow Jackson to Nashville to go after her dream was empowering and feel-good.
It’s clear early on that Rachel and Jackson are going to fall in love and there was no messing around, which was kind of a refreshing change from a lot of contemporary romance novels where the book is about whether the two characters will get together instead of the ups and downs of an actual relationship. The thing with Rachel and Jackson was that, although they both had tendencies to run from their problems, when things went wrong you had that hope that they would try and work things out and they both knew that sometimes they needed to be brutally honest with each other. Their relationship felt plausible, like a real relationship where careers and friends and things from the past may try and even succeed at getting in the way but you know the two of them won’t give up without a fight.
The story is told effectively in three parts – first from Rachel’s perspective, then from Jackson’s perspective and then alternating between the two. I liked being able to hear from both of the characters but it wasn’t until their parts were alternating that I struggled a bit to tell the difference between them. Their tone and language felt too similar at times, even the pet names and certain turns of phrase. I thought Jackson, as much as I liked him, could have done with a bit more of an edge to his character. Also, both of them seemed to talk, again at times, in a long-winded way which to me didn’t feel much like natural dialogue. But it is true that I did like Jackson and his connection with Rachel – I really wanted them to stick at a relationship and be happy together, without obstacles getting in their way. I also really liked some of the supporting characters such as Alice and Sam, who felt well developed and realistic too. Overall I found From Here to Nashville to be an entertaining escapist read with a well-researched feel to it and an interesting, sweet romance. It was an impressive debut novel and I’m looking forward to reading more from the author in the future.
*Book received for an honest review
The characters were totally believable and I'm sure some of us had a friend like Sam, but found it hard to tell them their feelings were not reciprocated. It was handled so sensitively, I felt really sorry for him. You could also understand Matt's point of view, putting his family first. Jenna was Rachel's rock and it was good to see that they can maybe share a future in Nashville(?). Jackson's family seem to be my idea of how welcoming American families would be. They were so open, friendly and caring not only for Jackson and their family, but for Rachel as well. Also I could almost taste the food they served!
Descriptions of places, so clear and concise, it gave us in UK a chance to 'see' Nashville, and those in US to 'see' Dorset. The sections about gigs, recording, contracts etc. were so interesting, and again, a good insight as to how CDs etc. are produced. Very clever to include some of the words to Rachel's songs. How did you do that?!!
Having recommended FHTN to several of my friends, I do hope they enjoy the book as much as I have. This is one I certainly will re-read again and again. It really was a great read. Can't wait for the paperback to be published.
Congratulations and every good wish for the success of your wonderful book.
ps I should like to see Jenna's character expanded a bit more, especially since she has already made the leap to travel to America.
There's plenty of conflict - some expected, some not. The characters are fleshed out and believable with actual flaws that they have to overcome and, in some cases, accept about one another and the setting is beautifully described too which adds another layer to the entire novel. The structure allowed me an insight into the male perspective of romance, which was surprising and well done; not something I've come across before but that creates a balanced view of the situation the main characters get themselves into and gives you a glimpse into difficulties both characters face internally as well as externally.
Overall it's a lovely debut that sets a high standard for future works by this author and proves that self-published works can be of an equal quality as the works marketed by the great big publishing houses. Julie Stock's novel, From Here to Nashville, is honest, heart-warming and satisfying. If you like romance, you'll love this book.
I enjoyed the different locations - Dorset, Nashville and New York and Rachel's wonder as Jackson introduced her to his lifestyle. I loved the various live performances and the crowd responses to Rachel's own songs.
The secondary characters were all well written and I was pleased for Jenna and her new love. No spoilers, so I'll say no more! Jackson's ex, Stephanie, was particularly obnoxious and certainly put a spoke in the wheels of love for Rachel and Jackson!
I was really irritated by the fact they kept running away from each other whenever problems came up - but after thinking about it, I think that was more to do with me than the story! I always face up to problems and have scant patience for those who don't!
All in all, a great debut And I look forward to the next book :)
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