Acquired Book By: I was a host for Lola’s Blog Tours back in  – enjoying working with Lola to showcase the authors who were using her services with their stories until my personal life tipped the scales a bit in regards to what I could handle doing back then and what I needed to realise was a sign I needed to withdraw from a few newer commitments to seek better balance in the future. It was a two year journey – of being mindful and conscious of pulling back on requesting too many books – which at the time I hadn’t thought I was doing – opting instead for a reduced blog schedule which yielded better personal health. It was also prior to recognising my chronic migraines were not going to ‘go away’ on their own and I had to take steps to curb their re-appearances; hence why in  I started to seek out audiobooks in earnest as a break from reading books in print.
Originally, I was meant to post my reviews of both novels “Promises Under The Peach Tree” and “Nights Under the Tennessee Stars” within the same week of each other. I did receive them with an open-ended deadline – meaning, they were received without an obligation to post an immediate honest review and could be read in my leisure. Thus, as  took it’s final countdown to greet  I found I could finally re-focus on the stories awaiting me on my backlogue.
I received a complimentary copy of “Nights Under the Tennessee Stars” direct from the author Joanne Rock in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.
What I enjoyed about the first half of this duology:
I don’t believe I’ve read a more intensely emotional opening sequence of a novel than this one! At least, not for quite a long time. Nina is beyond distraught over her emotional angst stemming from a past relationship she’s never allowed herself to heal from or recover out of – as noted by how her impulsive emotional triggers are responding to things never spoken aloud. Mack on the other hand is trying to find a way to tread through his return to Heartache – a call from his brother was insisting he was needed; his brother had a marriage drifting towards divorce, their mother was having a bad spell with her mental health struggles and meeting up with his teenage love Nina was pushing him a bit over the edge. To be honest, neither of them were ready to see each other, much less try to fill the gap of the years they had been apart with idle conversation now.
Nina’s emotional health was shouldered on the surface of her being – she didn’t hold back and she didn’t wait long enough to think through what she wanted to say either. She simply spoke her mind – whatever she was feeling at that moment and ran with it. This sort of brokered trouble because she misread most of the conversation – especially in regards to the motives behind Mack’s return to their hometown. His intentions were to help his family, she only believed he wanted to goad his success over her own failures – the sad truth really is they both were emotionally shattered by how their relationship ended. Ironically or not, they each had a different point-of-view on their exit from their romance affected them long-term – of how theirs was a relationship which should have lasted but only left them with remorse, regret and uncertainty of what really went wrong.
Heartache is well named – the residents have a hard time expressing their emotions – some leave their emotions bottled inside them, others shout to release them and a few have no understanding about how to even approach expressing themselves until they find the harsh words they say in haste isn’t the right way round to fix the issue at hand. The characters, young and old are struggling to find resolution in their lives – the teens are emotionally anguished by their families choices and the adults, are either still trying to heal their own teenage lives (as a lot happened with affected the whole town when one teen died tragically premature) or they have difficulties in their relationships. Some have commitment issues, others struggle to accept they can parent children without the worrying concerns over inherited health issues whilst a few are just trying to find stability in their lives as a measure of growth past their adversities.
I admit, I was a bit more wrapped inside Ally’s struggle to find truth and understanding about her mental health issues than I was as held by Nina and Mack’s hard-fought restitution for past hurts. There were a lot of back and forth narrative choices which muddled Nina and Mack’s growth from the past but also, at one point, I was finding myself not as interested in if they resolved their issues or if they parted company. Their story-line I didn’t feel was the strongest one in the novel – it was Ally, her friends at school and the break-down of her parents marriage which I felt held far more traction of interest.
-quoted from my review of Promises Under the Peach Tree
As I had mentioned previously, it was my intention to read both stories in this duology back-to-back, however, I had a difficult month for health and wellness in March, 2018 which threw off most of my reading life. I enjoyed the stories I was able to tuck inside but overall, I yearned to read more of the stories I felt were calling to me to be read as Spring started to come into sight. We had a small shift in our weather patterns this year – where Spring came quite unexpectedly ‘later’ than usual! For my family and I, this was quite the blessing – as the idyllic glimpse Ms Rock gives in her Author’s Note about why she *loves!* slipping back into Heartache, Tennessee in Nights Under the Tennessee Stars is reminiscent of what I long to find myself – a slower pace of living hugged close to the natural world, where you not only can see the stars but you can feel the joys of the Seasons as they enter and exit your life.
Spring is generally a difficult season for me (pollen allergies) however, I had a small reprieve from fighting them whilst finding my heart uplifted due to the cooler weather patterns, the overcast skies and the joyfulness of watching the seasonal birds hearken from above as they found new places to nest in the boughs of the trees they call home this time of the year. When you hear the songbirds singing and feel the last bits of cold nipping in the air, you know Spring is coming soon. I thrive in colder weather, make no mistake and although, I shudder to think about how abominable Summer’s wrath will be – it’s nice to read about settings and locales like Heartache where you feel the climate doesn’t suffocate you nearly as much and where you can relax into the community.
As I feel a renewal in focus in my readings this April, it is nice to have my ‘send-off’ to Heartache to be at the start of the month, just as Spring is starting to bloom in front of me. And, let’s pray the pollen levels are not as increased as they have been in years past,… honestly that is not something I wish to repeat!
In regards to the hopeful message about love and the inspiring joy of reading Romances where you know despite the adversity or anguish – a happier ending is coming round for the characters – I had to smile as I read the author’s words in this vein of thought! This is what first attracted me to reading Romances all those years ago as a young girl – I loved being caught up in the moments, between the first meeting and the joyfulness of finding love take root in the heart’s of the characters I was growing attached to watching come together as each chapter ended. Romances are the heart-blood of our living realities – as it is the celebration of part of the goodness in our lives, the moments where we seek out of love and find it warmly reciprocated. It is wonderful to find other authors who feel the same way as we do (the readers) as it makes it a happy celebration of the stories we all love most to find!
Heartache—the best place to heal
Erin Finley heads home to Heartache, Tennessee, after the perfect guy turns out to be anything but. She throws herself into running a vintage store with her sister and surrounding herself with the comforts of her small town. Then one rainy night, TV producer Remy Weldon shows up and almost sweeps her off her feet!
Remy sees more in Erin than she sees in herself. Quirky, beautiful and capable, he needs her for his antiques show—and for himself. Because Erin is the first star Remy’s found in the very dark night that has become his life. And she might just be able to lead him into the dawn…
Places to find the book:
Also by this author: Promises Under the Peach Tree
Also in this series: Promises Under the Peach Tree
Published by Harlequin Super Romance
on 7th April, 2015
Published By: Harlequin Books (@HarlequinBooks)
via their imprint Harlequin Super Romance
A Harlequin Super Romance duology:
Available Formats: Paperback and Ebook
Converse on Twitter via: #HarlequinBooks + #HarlequinSuperRomance; #Contemporary #Romance
I’ve started adding ‘flames’ when I’m reading Romances where the descriptions inside were a bit more than I was thinking they would be – in other words, I am definitely a reader who finds ‘less is more’ and where a lot of what makes a Romance work for me doesn’t necessary have to be spent on the page. This Romance is a bit tamer than a few I’ve read recently but it still merits the flames as it doesn’t leave that much to your imagination.