Amy Gaer is overwhelmed. That much you’ll know pretty quickly from the beginning of the book for what makes for a poor lead-in for what becomes a really great romantic novel. As the description tells you, Amy is a harried working wife and mother of twin boys and a teen daughter. She’s juggling a lot and some of the balls are falling. We don’t meet her husband and I remember wondering based on some of the dialogue if they were divorced or if he had passed.
While I could sympathize with the Amy’s character in the introduction, it just didn’t capture my interest. Thankfully, I’m not the type to give up easily and I was able to push past it. The writing in the intro felt a little too stilted and I didn’t feel like I was easing into the book. I was really worried as the author had personally contacted me to offer me a copy and review it based on another review I had done for an Emily Giffin book. Having dabbled in nonfiction writing, I know how hard it is to get it just right.
The book is an ode to the 1990s and music. I grew up in the late 1990s and though I wasn’t the musical aficionado that Amy’s character is, I found myself cheering during mentions of Nirvana and other big names. It’s also a love story about coming of age during the ’90s when women were just starting to get their due and small-town girl. Recent college grad Amy has moved back home temporarily while trying to figure out her place in the world and whether to translate her love of music into a hobby or a career. Amy’s an only child and the interactions with her parents are absolutely darling. Amy is a girl who knows how to be loved, she just hasn’t found the one and she’s not really looking for one either. So, she doesn’t exactly expect to fall in love so close to home.
The book really takes off when Amy meets Nick, a local farmer. Amy’s goal up until that point has been to get out of her small-town and head to any of the big cities populated by her friends from college. She’s got a whole summer to figure things out while taking a job she hopes will help her answer some questions about her future and then, boom, she MEETS NICK. And you definitely feel the BOOM. Their relationship is beautifully rendered and makes for the best writing in the book. I seriously could not get enough of both of the characters. They seem so mismatched: he loves baseball, she loves music, neither knows much about the other. He’s happy staying and building on the family farm and she’s chafing against the small-town she grew up in and has always wanted to leave.
I honestly could have read more and more about their relationship. I couldn’t get enough of it. I actually felt sad to be torn away from their budding romance towards the end and have to skip back to the Amy’s present life. If you’ve ever been in love, if you believe opposites attract, if you’ve wondered to hit a fork in the road and decide what will be the road not taken, this is a book for you.