Book Review: Andrea Laurence’s Facing the Music

Posted September 14, 2014 by Kathy Davie in Book Reviews

I received this book for free from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Book Review: Andrea Laurence’s Facing the Music

Facing the Music


Andrea Laurence

romance that was published by Pocket Star on September 15, 2014 and has 250 pages.

Explore it on Goodreads or Amazon.

First in the Rosewood romance series with the couple focus on Ivy Hudson and Blake Chamberlain. Based in Rosewood, Alabama, and six years later.

This ARC was provided by NetGalley, Pocket Star, and Simon & Schuster in exchange for an honest review.

My Take

Laurence has really twisted the revenge-of-the-woman-wronged trope. It’ll make you laugh even as you start off feeling bad for the guy. Of course, once you hear his side of things, you’re likely to think he got what was coming! He made his bed, and now he’s lyin’ in it. I don’t feel sorry for him a’tall anymore especially with some of the dimwitted moves he makes It did surprise me how well his grandmother knew him. Lucky thing for these two!

This is mostly a fluffy feel-good romance, except that Laurence has some nice switch-ups — besides the twist I mentioned above. And Laurence keeps you wondering just what that song does refer to, ’cause I know what I was thinking, ahem. When you do finally learn what Ivy/Laurence is really referring to, well, it just makes sense and is so well done, you can’t help but laugh while you shake your head.

It’s rather tacky of Ivy to date guys just to use ’em as she does. And I think Malcolm hit the nail on the head as to why this emotion is the only one she can write about. Ivy is missing out too, as it sure doesn’t lead to a happy life. She ticks me off with her feeling of entitlement; that scene where she locks her keys and phone in the cabin comes to mind. She sure is accident-prone, probably ’cause she hasn’t got her head on straight. Nor can she take what she likes to dish out.

I do like the sound of Ivy’s family; it sounds as though the three of them have always been there for each other. As for Blake’s family, if you discount his dad, the rest of them sound terrific as well.

Ivy must have had a really easy time of building her career as thin-skinned as she is. She does a nice job of lobbing most of Lydia’s zingers right back at her, but there are a number that just crumple her up. And they don’t make sense that they have that reaction. Ivy knows about Lydia’s antics, and Ivy’s childish reactions irritate me. I’m just not buyin’ it. Laurence needs to work on those Ivy-Lydia interactions to make them believable. It’s the only weak point Facing the Music has.

As for Lydia, I’m surprised no one has called that witch to account yet. She’s a selfish, self-entitled nightmare. If she behaves this way with people she wants, how does she behave with the “riff-raff” in town? Why hasn’t she been taken out yet? No, no, this should have been developed more with people’s reactions to make it believable or toned down. Instead, it’s as if Lydia is an invisible person in town. No one reacts to her except Blake and Ivy. I know, I’m whining. It’s just that Laurence has gone so over the top with Lydia, that I don’t see how anyone could possibly not notice her.

Huh, I like the point Blake’s grandmother makes about why all these publicity events are so important to rebuild the gym. I never thought of it this way. She sure makes a good point about the town’s sense of intimacy dying out. She’d be agreeing with Kevin about the press: use them even as they’re using her. Yank that attention they’re paying in the direction you want it.

Oh, crack me up!! Ivy’s so worried that the locals would chase her out of town with pitchforks, that when I read how the townspeople rally against the reporters, well, I can’t help but laugh. Makes you wish more “decent” people would react this way!

That message Rex delivers…I see his doing this as a loose thread…

Blake realizes he’s missing the end of Ivy’s show, so why doesn’t he simply turn around and go back for the end of it? It is such a no-brainer as to what she’s up to, and I’ve only known her for a few hours. And Ivy has her usual, lame reaction.

Laurence does do a good job playing on my emotions: Ivy’s reactions, Lydia’s actions, Blake’s thoughts, the story Grandmother told about meeting Charles and his fits of courting, that one taunt of Lydia’s that actually sounds as if it could be true.

“It’s the long, winding road…”

The Story

Thank god Rosewood contacted Ivy — again — about doing a charity concert in her old home town. Lord knows the town needs it after that last disaster, and Ivy is desperate to get some good publicity after this last fiasco, even if this will be her first trip home since the song that launched her career. The one about her break-up with the town hero, “Size Matters”.

Now her manager is requiring all sorts of PR stunts — in her old hometown — but also demanding she change the types of songs she writes.

All she has to do is get through these next two weeks and avoid Blake…

The Characters

Ivy Hudson has a reputation as a sweet-but-unlucky-in-love Grammy-award-winning singer. Kevin Lynch is Ivy’s manager, who knows what he’s doing to Ivy’s chagrin. Malcolm Holt is one of her best friends, and she’s been linked to him romantically. Lucky for Malcolm, the action film star… Dominick is her bodyguard.

Sarah Hudson is Ivy’s mother and owns a beauty salon, Curls, gossip central. Ivy’s dad, Trent, is the high school band teacher. Sounds like Ivy got quite a bit from her dad. Pepper Anthony is Sarah’s only, very insightful, employee and a former classmate of Ivy’s. Pepper’s being set up for a Grant romance. Brian Green, the former chess geek, manages the electronics store and is dating Pepper.

The Chamberlains are the town’s royalty, and Blake Chamberlain was the town’s golden boy and is a former NFL quarterback whose career was cut short. Now he’s coaching the high school football team. Adelia Chamberlain is Blake’s imposing grandmother and the family matriarch. Norman is his lawyer dad, and it seems that Blake may be taking after his daddy’s inability to keep his pants zipped. His mama is Helen, and we don’t know if she’s dead or alive. Maddie is one of Blake’s sisters, a snotty one, and she works at the town bakery; Mitchell is Maddie’s twin brother, and he’s going for a medical degree; Grant is a younger brother and a local fireman with some great insights; Simon is the youngest and a policeman in town; and, Hazel is his book-lovin’ baby sister. Winston is their houseman; Cookie is their cook.

Lydia Whittaker is the town rich mean girl who also went to school with Ivy. Her family owns a huge horse farm and two of the local restaurants: Ellen’s Diner and Whittaker’s where she’s an executive chef. She’s best friends with Maddie. Tells you what Maddie is like… Thomas is her little brother. Angus and Willow are the horses the Whittakers provide for the parade.

Francine Doyle does a nice casserole. Dorothy “Dotty” Baker is too old to care what she says, and she says anything she likes. Miss Vera‘s mac and cheese is to die for, and she always wins for her pies. Sheriff Todd. Emmett Sawyer is the new bar owner and bartender at Woody’s. Jesse and Curt are a couple of guys with whom Blake had gone to school. Mayor Otto Gallagher has been the mayor all of Ivy’s life; Marilyn is his wife. Mrs. Gloria Everett is Ivy’s favorite history teacher, although she’s now the high school principal. Miss Beverly Perkins owns Dressin’ Up, the go-to shop for ladies needing a nice outfit. Such as tea with the town grande dame. Ruth is a waitress at Ellen’s Diner; Fred is the cook. Miss Twila runs the B&B. Mr. Osbourne is the bank manager. Arthur Jackson owns the gas station. Miss Phyllis owns the antiques shop. Clark Newton is with the Rosewood Times. Petal Pushers is the local flower shop. Cheryl Buckman is a middle-aged lady working behind the counter of her daddy’s ice cream store, Scoops. The same protective daddy who was a decorated sniper in Korea. Estelle Townsend owns Rosewood Cakes & Cookies, the local bakery. Josh Baldwin is the kicker on the high school football team, and the way Blake handles him is just beautiful. I’m curious what Rex Campbell‘s motivation was; he’s another student on the football team.

Nash Russell is a tabloid celebrity reporter for Hollywood News. He’s made a career out of uncovering every inspiration behind every one of Ivy’s songs. Yeah, he’s a not-nice guy and a disreputable journalist. Larry and Ted are from Celebrity Weekly. Jimmy is the talk show host.

Sterling Marshall is the jerk of a teen idol Ivy is in trouble over. Perfect Harmony was his boy band.

The Cover

The cover is sweet with a relaxed-looking Ivy and Blake lying on the green, green grass, each lying in the opposite direction with their heads touching. Ivy’s guitar is off to the side, and they appear to be relaxing into the day.

The title means different things to Ivy and Blake. Ivy’s music is for the release of her emotions while Blake is Facing the Music for what he did so long ago.