When I was approached about reviewing Inglath Cooper’s Nashville box set I accepted without hesitation. As an avid viewer of the TV show of the same name I expected the book version of that.
Nope, I was wrong, although there are similarities between the two these books are not the same as the TV show. With that in mind I had no idea where the books were going to take me and that was a good thing.
In part one of this series we are introduced to three characters, CeCe, Holden and Thomas. The books give us both CeCe and Holden’s point of view throughout and I think that makes it really interesting from the start. Getting the perspective of the other party involved always adds a fantastic dimension to a book.
We begin with CeCe making her way to Nashville to pursue her dream as a Country music star. She’s travelling in her Grandmother’s old car – a car which her Grandma had from brand new. Unfortunately for CeCe the car breaks down and subsequently sets on fire, she’s lucky to get out with her dog, Hank Junior, and her guitar. Everything else goes up in smoke.
She is rescued at the side of the road by two guys who are also heading to Nashville to pursue their dreams of becoming singers. Thomas is keen to help CeCe, he is the one who insists that she gets a ride with them, much to Holden’s chagrin. CeCe tries her hardest not to annoy Holden but no matter what she does he just gets annoyed at her. Despite this Thomas insists that she stay with them at the apartment that they have lined up and having no money or clothing after the fire she has to agree.
Despite having a girlfriend Holden finds himself attracted to CeCe – no matter how hard he tries to fight his feelings he cannot get her out of his head. The two of them go out to find work the next day and catch their soon to be boss in a compromising position with a famous Country singer. They both get the jobs they are going for and their first couple of days in Nashville go smoothly.
But a couple of days later Thomas manages to lose Hank Junior when he is taking him for a walk whilst CeCe is at work. When she and Holden return home they end up spending the night looking for her dog, finally discovering he has been taken to the local dog pound. CeCe is so distressed at this that Holden promises to wait with her until the pound opens at 8am the next morning.
They manage to convince a worker to let them into the pound a little before 8 and they rescue Hank Junior. They also convince the guy to let them have a dog who is also in the same pen as Hank Junior and is due to be euthanised that morning. Holden is so taken with her that he adopts her and names her Patsy.
When they return home Sarah, Holden’s girlfriend from Atlanta, has turned up and whatever had transpired between him and CeCe must now be forgotten about. They all muddle along for a few days until they are caught in a tornado. Once the danger has passed they leave the cellar of their work place and head home. But they come across Lauren, their boss, finding her unconscious. They get her to hospital and Holden rings Case Philips to inform him. He is so grateful that they saved her – she’s a diabetic – that he offers them to come to his home where he has a recording studio and cut a demo. The only snag is that they need four members for the group and Holden has to convince Sarah, despite her dislike for CeCe, to join them.
Just when they think that everything is going their way, tragedy strikes for Sarah and she returns home, closely followed by Holden. That breaks CeCe’s heart and she just has to get on with her life without him.
Eventually everything begins to work out for them all; CeCe has become involved with Beck, Case’s son and she and Thomas are playing gigs most nights of the week at cafes and bars in Nashville. Holden is still writing songs for them, despite not being in Nashville and one song in particular catches the attention of someone close to a famous singer who lost his wife to a drunk driver. The artist is determined to have that song for his own and eventually Holden is convinced to come back to Nashville.
Case Philips is due to go on tour but his support act has pulled out. He convinces his CeCe and Thomas to join him, along with his son and Holden. They manage to put any weirdness behind them – given how CeCe and Holden feel about each other and that she’s now involved with Beck. The tour works out but CeCe and Beck don’t, mainly because he catches her and Holden kissing. Beck responds by getting it on with a couple of women and taking drugs, this means that CeCe and Holden have to stay away from one another for the sake of the tour. But towards the end of the tour they spend the day together and decide they are going to commit to one another. But again tragedy strikes and everyone is affected so badly that it seems certain things will never be the same again.
This series will definitely take you on a roller coaster of emotions. It’s beautifully written and despite me not liking country music I could definitely relate to the characters. You will feel for CeCe and Holden throughout the series and will feel their pain and frustration too. I wasn’t sure what to expect at the end of this box set but I certainly wasn’t disappointed.
The author has a wonderful way with words and her stories are captivating.
Definitely worth reading.
***** 5 stars.