It's been over three years since a train accident made a widow of Katrina Lewis, sending her and her young daughter Abbey back to the suburban town of her youth...the only place that still makes sense. Lauder Lake is the perfect place to hide and heal.
Recluse rocker Adrian "Digger" Graves survived the implosion of his music career, but his muse has long lain dormant. Until Kat hires him to play at her library—not on the basis of his hard rock credentials but rather, because of the obscure kids' TV jingle he wrote years ago. In a case of mistaken identity, Adrian stumbles into the lives of Kat and her comically lovable daughter.
Using tattoos as a timeline, Adrian unfurls his life for Kat. But as the courtship intensifies, it's unclear whose past looms larger: the widow's or the rocker's. Will their demons ever rest, or will they break these soul mates apart?
Published September 17th 2013 by Berkley/InterMix (Penguin)
*eGalley received from publisher in exchange for review*
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Our ReviewI wasn't sure what I thought about this novel for the first 15-20%, honestly. It started a little slower than I was used to but I liked it so I decided to stick with it. Follow my lead...stick with it. The first part, I suppose, is necessary to help understand the rest but it did feel a little draggy in places. The first part sets up the story, but for some people...okay mostly us...it wasn't that shock and awe that we've been reading lately that gets things going with questions right out of the gate. I didn't appreciate this until the story was over, but I do now!
We start with the story of Katrina (aka Tree or Kat) and how she fell in love, lived happily, got married and knocked up, and within a short time became widowed. We learn about how she tried to cope and regain her life, if for no other reason than for her precious daughter, Abbey. Fast forward 4 years and she's managing her life, feeling a lot less pain over the events that got her there, and has made a peaceful existence for herself and Abbey in her hometown. By pure coincidence she meets Adrian (aka Digger), when she extends an invitation to him to perform for the local library.
They were definitely a meeting of happenstance! She finds his CD in a library collection I believe? and it just happened to be something he recorded as a personal gift and accidentally ended up there. I really enjoyed Adrian from the very first time we met him because well duh, he's British...which I didn't know at first..and then he is just funny. He says whatever is on his mind, and is in my mind a wonderful guy that Kat should give a chance! Getting her to do that though...phew...
The sparks fly between them from the very first meeting. Since they are both older and more experienced, the usual shenanigans of hiding feelings and pretending are pushed aside for real conversations...sometimes even uncomfortable ones....like Adrian's story. We learn about his past life as a musician, a father, and husband (now an ex husband). Eek! His journey was tough! These are conversations that reveal hurts and leave him wide open, but he takes the plunge and shares. Kat is a little more reticent to open herself to potential hurts but she lets small details out, very slowy, (like molasses!) but she does nonetheless...a striking and mature difference than characters in a New Adult novel.
I think that is why this novel completely blew me away. It is obvious pretty early this is not the normal rock star story that we have come to know and love. He has had many many years to evaluate his decisions, both good and bad, that have led him to how he is currently living his life...and was content with his lonely existence until he met Kat. I liked their relationship which was also different than some of the New Adult books out there, and even a lot of Contemporaries in how it developed. They were selfless to each other, and 100% to Abbey. Their time and wants and needs were always taken with care of her in mind, and for me that was amazing.
This novel is not complete smooth sailing--these characters are far from perfect but that's precisely why I like them. They were a slightly elevated form of what we'd see in our real lives. As I said earlier, there are parts that require our patience but I thought this story was worth it!
After the first parts were a tad slow, the rest of the book had a great pace and was easy to read. I enjoyed it immensely because of the tone it was written with...and HELLO, debut novel. I pretty much can't believe that! A++ effort on account of that! The characters were well developed, and I shed a few tears before the pages came to an end. I loved where everything ended up, and for those who care this is a standalone novel!
Shelley: 4 Stars
Courtney: 5 Stars
About the AuthorJessica Topper is an ex-librarian turned rock n' roll number cruncher. She can trace her love for the written word back to age three, when she memorized Maurice Sendak's "Chicken Soup with Rice" in its entirety.
After her daughter was born, Jessica left the Manhattan library world and began working for her husband's music management company. He offered her a part-time bookkeeping job so she could "stay home for the baby's first year" and pursue her dream of writing.
The baby is now eleven, and Jessica has been working her full-time, sold-her-soul-for-rock-n-roll job as Office Manager for veteran jam band moe. ever since. She may have traded in books for bookkeeping, but the written word is never far from her mind, or her heart.
Jessica lives in upstate New York with her husband, daughter and one ancient cat. You can visit her at www.jessicatopper.com.