All The Books I Can Read

1 girl….2 many books!

Blog Tour Review: One More Song by Nicki Edwards

on December 6, 2017

One More Song
Nicki Edwards
Pan Macmillan AUS
2017, 381p
Copy courtesy of the publisher

Blurb {from the publisher/Goodreads.com}:

Harrison Baxter and Edwina Campbell lead completely different lives.

Much has changed for Harry since he escaped his home town of Yallambah ten years ago, headed for the bright lights of the big city. Now he’s the star of Melbourne’s hottest musical, chasing only the next standing ovation. Why bother going back to Yallambah to visit his parents when his father couldn’t care less about his success?

Meanwhile, nothing much has changed for Edwina in the last decade, which is exactly how she likes it. Eddie adores her career as a nurse and loves the Yallambah community – she can’t imagine living anywhere else. And even if she wanted to, she could never leave her beloved grandparents, who raised her and love her like their own daughter. She’s not going to abandon them in their old age. Not for anything.

So when Harry and Eddie bump into each other on one of Harry’s flying visits home, their instant mutual attraction seems as pointless as it is intense. There’s no way they could ever make it work.

Or is there?

This story has so many elements I find appealing – rural Victorian setting, Christmas, an opposites attract sort of deal. Both Harry and Eddie grew up in Yallambah but they are several years apart in age and didn’t really know each other before Harry left chasing his musical theatre dream. He’s now very successful and has just wrapped up Les Mis in Sydney and will have a brief break, returning to his home town before beginning the Melbourne run. Eddie on the other hand, still lives in her home town and is heavily involved with the community. She’s a nurse at the local hospital, a volunteer with the SES and after her nan needed medical attention and rehab in a nearer big town, she’s organising the local Christmas party. Her whole life is basically Yallambah and she doesn’t see anything wrong with that. In fact her relationship just ended because her boyfriend got a job in America and Eddie couldn’t see herself leaving her grandparents or her home.

The first half of the book felt a teeny bit slow for me but not unpleasantly. Harry is back in Yallambah almost against his better judgement and is shocked at the condition of his family home and the fact that his mother and sister seem to have been keeping a secret from him. Harry has a fractured relationship with his father – he’s the son, the one his father should be passing the family farm onto but Harry has carved out his career elsewhere and has no interest living on the land. His father in turn, doesn’t really understand Harry’s passion and the two barely speak. I really liked the complicated family relationships, the tensions and conflicts that felt refreshingly real. This book also tackles a medical issue that I have personally not seen addressed before and it does it very, very well. There’s a lot of frustrations and built up resentment that boils over during Harry’s visit as well as heart wrenching grief. The emotions are very well done here, some of these characters go through the wringer!

Eddie and Harry meet when her break up is quite fresh and both of them are well aware that their lifestyles are very different. The attraction between them is strong but they grow a friendship as well which I think is really important, given they and their lifestyles are so different. It gives the reader a real understanding of how they might function as a couple long term. Eddie and Harry pack a lot into their time spent together but there’s a lot of mutual support and a strong emotional bond as well as a physical attraction. I liked that the two of them had a bit of a different dynamic – Eddie is older, Harry is in musical theatre, not generally a profession of choice in a rural romance novel! Nicki Edwards really made these things work and the story had a very fresh feel to it – I was reading a lot of things I hadn’t seen done before, which is always a bonus in a strongly populated genre.

Eddie is a fantastic character, loyal and dedicated to her job, the town, her grandparents. So much so that she doesn’t seem to realise that they have their own ideas about the future. They raised her and I think she feels the need to repay that, to always be around if and when they need her. I enjoyed her role with the SES – it’s an organisation we all know about (State Emergency Service for the non-Aussies) who play such a vital role during times of struggle, especially revolving around things like natural disasters – freak storms, flooding, fire, etc. I appreciated the insight into the role of volunteering with them and what it was like for Eddie to be on call and to respond to a dangerous situation. I also liked the sense of small community (warts, busybodies and all!). This book has such an Aussie feel to it, capturing all the elements of our summer Christmas, the harsh realities of life in the bush but also community spirit and the way that people come together in times of grief and hardship.

I really enjoyed this story and found the ending deeply satisfying.

8/10

Book #193 of 2017

This review is part of the One More Song blog tour.

One More Song is book #56 of the Australian Women Writers Challenge for 2017

Visit:

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One More Song is out now from Pan Macmillan AUS, RRP $29.99

 


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