This was an interesting story centered on a singer-songwriter who's made it big in the Nashville music scene. Though fiction, it feels like a memoir as Jennifer Clodfelter tells the story of how she rose to fame and the realization that she still wasn't happy. She was twenty-three when she left her mountain home and past behind her to make it big as a country music star. She was extremely naive upon arriving in Nashville and found out pretty quick it wasn't going to be as easy as she thought. The man who signs her wants her to write songs that come from her broken past, but it tears her up inside to relive the memories, especially one horrific memory that she keeps burying deep inside. The songs keep hitting number one and she's tiptoeing around landmines, afraid she's going to lose it in front of an audience.
Then she meets Tonilynn, her hairstylist, a Christian who encourages her to talk about her memories and release them to God so she can be free. Tonilynn's quite a character, as is her Aunt Gomer, who's getting forgetful and is quite stubborn. A few chapters are told from Aunt Gomer's perspective and those were quite amusing. While Tonilynn has her heart in the right place, she was very pushy and I think would have pushed Jennifer away from God even more except for Tonilynn being her only friend. She is also welcomed by Tonilynn's aunt and son and spends a lot of time with this family in their mountain home. Jennifer had given up on God as a teenager, certain that He doesn't care
after allowing bad things to happen to her. She wants peace, but turns
to the Cumberland River for that feeling and visits it every Saturday.
What will it take for her to realize that that isn't true peace? Can she release her pain to God and forgive her father?
I enjoyed this story partly because I love music. I like some country and I've been to Nashville so I was familiar with most of the artists she talks about and some of the places mentioned, including the Bluebird Cafe! The author did a good job of making that world come alive. The pacing was well-done, with knowing some of her childhood but not everything revealed until near the end. I liked the quirky characters and the message of forgiveness and trusting God no matter what you're going through.
I received a free copy of this book from Abingdon Press in exchange for my honest review.