Author: Stephanie Lawton
Genre: Southern Fiction, Romance, Upper YA
Publisher: Inkspell Publishing
Julianne counts the days until she can pack her bags and leave her old-money, tradition-bound Southern town where appearance is everything and secrecy is a way of life. A piano virtuoso, she dreams of attending a prestigious music school in Boston. Failure is not an option, so she enlists the help of New England Conservatory graduate Isaac Laroche to help her.
She can’t understand why he suddenly gave up Boston’s music scene to return to the South. He doesn’t know her life depends on escaping it. Julianne must face down madness from without, just as it threatens from within. Isaac must resist an inappropriate attraction, but an indiscretion at a Mardi Gras ball—the pinnacle event for Mobile’s elite—forces their present wants and needs to collide with sins of the past.
If you want vampires and werewolves, faeries, fallen angels or zombies, you won’t find them here. I know a real-life monster. She drains the life out of me and tears at my flesh with words and fingernails that sink deeper than fangs ever could. I’m not her only victim, just her favorite.
Even the thick walls of our ancient house couldn’t absorb the crash of a delicate heirloom when she’d aim at Daddy’s head for his latest transgression. My six-year-old self used to peek around the corner and along the steps to where the monster did battle with Daddy. The night I saw her hit him was the night I knew it'd soon be my turn. I was right, and it's gotten worse over the last eleven years, especially since my brother R.J. went off to college.
Tonight I’m studying for finals. Our air conditioner wheezes in the evening heat, and sweat drops stain my history book. There’s a knock on my bedroom door, but Daddy doesn’t wait for an answer before opening it. I’m glad he’s finally home from work, but it’s weird that he’s in my space with a constipated look.
“Juli, it’s Mr. Cline.” I stop breathing. “He’s in the hospital.”
I’m going to be sick. “And?”
“He had a stroke. Half his body’s paralyzed, but the doctors think it might only be temporary. Try not to get worked up.”
“Try not to get worked up. Right.” My piano mentor and stand-in grandpa might be a vegetable but I shouldn’t get worked up.
“He’s already asking for you. His sister said you should try to visit after school tomorrow.”
I swallow back tears and nod.
I think about Mr. Cline all through school next day. If I lose him, that’s one less person who knows the real me. If I lose him, my chances of getting into the music school I want melt like gum in the sun. I Bolt for my car as soon as the last bell rings and drive like a maniac to get to the hospital before visiting hours end.
I really enjoyed reading this story. I liked that the story had a southern twist; it was pretty refreshing! There are complex characters and I thought Lawton wrote them, characterized them very well. Dave had a great personality; I thought he lightened up the mood in some tense scenes. Isaac is more reserved and in a way mysterious, but as the story comes along, we definitely learn more about him. To me, Julianne seemed like a realistic character, and I enjoyed reading this from her point of view; it really helped to understand the depth into her story, to understand the issues she goes through with her family (especially her Mom), and her beloved talent for the piano and for music. I have to say, you will read through some major events that affect the lives of major characters, but there is a good; I mean I really liked how the ending went; it seemed fitting, but I just hope that there might be more...? :) Anyways, I hope you have the chance to read this story as it will take you through some emotional times, but also through sweet/good times. This is a book that should not be missed, and I recommend it!
*My Rating: 4.8/5
*My Audience Rating: PG-13
*My Rating: 4.8/5
*My Audience Rating: PG-13
After collecting a couple English degrees in the Midwest, Stephanie Lawton suddenly awoke in the deepest reaches of the Deep South. Culture shock inspired her to write about Mobile, Alabama, her adopted city, and all the ways Southern culture, history and attitudes seduce the unsuspecting.
A lover of all things gothic, she can often be spotted photographing old cemeteries, historic buildings and, ironically, the beautiful beaches of the Gulf Coast. She also has a tendency to psychoanalyze people, which comes in handy when creating character profiles.
On her thirtieth birthday, she mourned (okay bawled) the fact that in no way could she still be considered a “young adult,” so she rebelled by picking up Twilight and promptly fell in love with Young Adult literature.
She has a love/hate relationship with Mardi Gras –where does all that money come from?–and can sneeze 18 times in a row.