It’s such a pleasure today to be sharing my review of From Here to Nashville by Julie Stock – available for kindle (also free via Kindle Unlimited) and in paperback – as part of its fifth birthday celebrations. My thanks to Rachel at Rachel’s Random Resources for the party invitation and support, and to the author for my reading e-copy.
At risk of embarrassing her (again), I’ll repeat the story I told when I reviewed The Bistro by Watersmeet Bridge last August (you can catch up on my review of that one here). Although I’ve been aware of Julie’s books for a long time now, what finally prompted me to read one was hearing her speak at the Deepings Literary Festival last year: her passion for writing and her sheer professionalism impressed me so very much. So now I’m delighted to have had the opportunity to catch up on one of her earlier books (thanks Rachel – I probably wouldn’t have got there left to my own devices…) – and now I want to read the prequel and the two sequels too (preferably before they also hit their fifth birthdays).
Let’s take a closer look…
Two worlds, 4,000 miles apart. Is their love strong enough to keep them together?
Rachel Hardy dreams of being a successful country music singer in Nashville’s Music City, four thousand miles away from her lonely life in Dorset. When Jackson Phillips, an independent record label owner, encourages her band to audition for a nationwide ‘Open Mic’ competition, she decides they have nothing to lose.
But when she starts to fall in love with Jackson, the stakes suddenly get higher and she finds herself with a great big dilemma on her hands. Should she abandon her dream and take the easy way out or should she leave the life she has always known behind and take a gamble on a man who has personal demons of his own?
Follow Rachel and Jackson as they learn to trust in love again to see whether their music really can unite them.
Now how did I miss this one first time round?! One of the main things I loved about this book was it that, at heart, it’s rather a lovely old-fashioned romance, that hoped-for happy ending never really in doubt. But you can’t have a happy ending without a bit of conflict, and the barriers Rachel and Jackson encounter along the way made this a tremendously engaging story and a read I thoroughly enjoyed.
I’m not sure what the chances really are of a talented country singer in a Dorset seaside town stumbling across a Nashville record label mogul who – as well as proving to be the man of her dreams – wants to make her a star, but it certainly makes for a great story. Goodness, they don’t make it easy for themselves though! At first there’s a lot of “will she/won’t she” with a few extra complications – and then, when everything seems to be going well, you really want to shake them both at times and tell them to just talk to each other. But those are the conflicts that make a good story, and the author handles it all so very well.
I loved the music – choosing the sets, those gigs and open mic nights, the performances, all so well done that you really feel you’re present, just waiting to be enchanted by one of Rachel’s own compositions amid all the covers. And I really did like the way the whole story was told – first Rachel in the first person, then Jackson, then gently alternating so that you get both perspectives.
You’ll know how much I enjoy a strong sense of place – and never having been to Nashville, it’s now on my bucket list, and this book could really be my guidebook. But the seaside town setting is well done too, the community and the waterfront pubs, and the whole book whisks you away quite wonderfully and transplants you into the locations.
The supporting characters are strong too, and I have no doubt both Jenna and Sam can more than sustain stories of their own. Maybe Sam in particular – his relationship with Rachel and his reaction as she leaves him behind is realistic and believable, adding another interesting dimension to the story, and I’d really like to get to know him better.
This is such a lovely story about overcoming problems, following your dreams and finding what makes you happy, that grabs you from the very beginning and leads you through all those twists and turns – and the writing is really excellent. I thoroughly enjoyed it.
With thanks to Julie and Rachel, I’m delighted to offer the chance to win a signed paperback copy of From Here to Nashville, plus a bookmark and a guitar magnet (open to UK readers only). Here’s the rafflecopter for entry:
Terms and Conditions UK entries welcome. The winner will be selected at random via Rafflecopter from all valid entries and will be notified by Twitter and/or email. If no response is received within 7 days then Rachel’s Random Resources reserves the right to select an alternative winner. Open to all entrants aged 18 or over. Any personal data given as part of the competition entry is used for this purpose only and will not be shared with third parties, with the exception of the winners’ information. This will passed to the giveaway organiser and used only for fulfilment of the prize, after which time Rachel’s Random Resources will delete the data. I am not responsible for despatch or delivery of the prize.
About the author
Julie Stock writes contemporary feel-good romance from around the world: novels, novellas and short stories. She published her debut novel, From Here to Nashville, in February 2015 and her second novel, The Vineyard in Alsace in March 2017. Over You (Sam’s Story) and Finding You (Jenna’s Story), her follow-up novellas to From Here to Nashville were published in 2018, making the From Here to You series complete.
She has also published a boxed set of the From Here to You trilogy of books. The Bistro by Watersmeet Bridge was published in August 2019, followed by Bittersweet, a collection of 12 Short Stories for Modern Life in September 2019.
If you’d like to sign up to her newsletter list, you can do so here: as a thank you, you’ll be able to download Before You, the prequel story to the From Here to You series, for free.
Julie is a member of the Romantic Novelists’ Association and The Society of Authors.
When she is not writing, she works in communications. She is married and lives with her family in Bedfordshire in the UK.