The Darling Songbirds by Rachael Herron is light fiction, and a pleasant read when you just want to relax.
There are all the components for a good story, intriguing questions to unravel. The Darling Songbirds – Adele, Molly and Lana Darling – are sisters, songwriters and performers from Nashville. There has been a serious falling out. Why?
We don’t find out till near the end of the book, though the reader is teased with partial answers all the way through.
These wounds are very deep, and while, Adele, the main character in this story, attempts to reconcile with Molly, she is continually rebuffed. Adele is convinced she can fix things, if only the others would listen to her.
Adele has just returned to Darling Bay where her father’s brother, Hugh has not long died. The girls and their parents used to spend their summers here. ‘The Golden Spike’ once a flourishing hotel, café and saloon is now just a run-down saloon with Nate, a young man, left as bartender. Nate is handsome. Nate wants the saloon. A page and a half is spent reflecting on the way Nate fills his Wrangler jeans. It’s that sort of book.
With Nate and Adele, there is a constant interplay of aggression and attraction culminating in two explicit sex scenes.
Adele is confused. Does she sell ‘The Golden Spike’ on the open market, does she sell to Nate, does she keep it and run it herself? Her sisters are no help.
Nate is something of a mystery man and the unfolding of his secrets are an important part of the story.
There is a range of well-drawn minor characters who add life to the main story line. Some of these hang around the bar, some are townspeople. We meet Hugh only in others remembrances of him. He was a man who liked to help others, including Donna, the alcoholic barmaid from Adele’s memories.
For country music fans, there are country music references that add depth to the story.
Author, Rachael Herron, has a keen eye for detail in her descriptions, particularly of the rundown saloon. You can really sense the cobwebs and the dust and grit of the place.
As you would expect in a love story, the love story works out and we learn about Nate’s mysterious past.
There is the beginning of hope for reconciliation for the sisters but not all loose ends are tied in.
Along the way, there is a thoughtful exploration of alcoholism and the reader comes to an understanding of what it is to be the person who constantly wants to help, or constantly wants to fix.
If you enjoy this story, you can look forward to a sequel of Molly’s story in 2017. Rachael Herron has written several other books like this.
If you want a light, romantic read, The Darling Songbirds may be the book you’re looking for. It’s available online from Dymocks.