I saw this book on a writers' blog and after reading more about it, I simply had to get my own copy. This is a rare story which will take you to the heights of pleasure and the depths of despair - a love story between Darlina Flowers and Luke Stone, a musician in Texas during the 1970's, who has much talent, but also a taste for the unusual - a daredevil, often living for the moment. Darlina, on the other hand is more stable and holds down a 9 to 5 job, but she loves music and go-go dancing, which she pursues after hours. Inevitably, she and Luke Stone meet and fall in love - not just for the moment, but for good. This is a candid love story - a fictionalized memoir - told in the third person. The author has a wonderful engaging style of writing with much showing by means of excellent, often fast-paced dialogue, enhanced by specific scene setting - important because she paints a clear picture of the music and times of Country Music in Texas. I simply couldn't put it down. I loved this book for its originality and telling things just as they happened, from the moment Darlina and Luke make love for the first time, to where Luke thinks he does Darlina a favour by insisting she leaves him alone and he drops her off at her sister's house. A highly recommended read.
Driven from home by strict no-dating rules, naïve Darlina gets a job dancing in a club where she falls in love with the lead singer of a rock group. Luke Stone is older, separated from his wife but tied down by his love for his children, and into kinky sex, drink, and drugs. Jan Sikes shows a deeply moving, passionate and explicit, love affair, which keeps you wondering if Luke will survive, or if he does, drag Darlina with him down the slippery slope to addiction and death.
Reviewed on behalf of The Review Board by Harmony Kent.
I received a PDF copy of this book, in exchange for an honest review.
Flowers and Stone is a true story based on the lives of Rick and Jan Sikes. Roguish, Texan musician, Luke Stone, sweeps the naïve, nineteen-year-old Darlina Flowers off her feet. In a short time, her whole life becomes entwined with his, and she cannot imagine living without him. When Luke distances himself from her, she cannot understand why. Then tragedy strikes, and they are torn apart when Luke is arrested and convicted for bank robbery. This debut novel is paced steadily, and sometimes it felt on the slow side to me. In places, I struggled to keep going, as my attention slipped time and again. For me, the repetitiveness of the gigs, dancing, drugs, and deeply-in-love theme, without an awful lot of change, grew old. Plot development did come, but too slowly for my tastes, and nothing surprising transpired. The preface showed me where the storyline was headed, and the rest of the book built toward that. The narrative is written from the viewpoint of the two main characters, in third person, and hops from head to head without anything to indicate the change to the reader. Likewise, scene shifts and time jumps occur with no indication. Some of these jumps occur at the end of a run of dialogue, which means you are reading a conversation, and then all at once hours and hours have passed. With the simple introduction of an extra line space between paragraphs, this issue would be resolved, as it would be clear that there is a break. I felt further distanced from the characters because of the passive writing style, and the frequent use of filter words (he/she knew, heard, etc). The Texan music scene is written authentically, and the characters have been well drawn, and showed some small changes as their story evolved. This book is the first in a planned trilogy, but works well as a standalone novel. This is a love story that romance lovers can savour all the more because it is based on a true story. It gets 6 out of 10 TRB stars, which equates to 3 out of 5 on other rating scales. If you like a read with a gentle pace, and love stories based on real life, and don’t mind a bit of head hopping here and there, then I would say that you are likely to enjoy this book.