Monday, September 26, 2016

Jamie Logan and the Wonderful World of Opera

You Are My Song is the final book in my “Carousel Trilogy,” a trio of books about three high school students whose lives are changed by a small town tragedy in the 1950s. When we first meet Jamie Logan, in How I Grew Up, he is performing the role of Billy Bigelow in Carousel. His leading lady is Melanie Stewart, a high school senior whose parents have just been shot to death by her estranged brother-in-law.
My thanks to Anita Lock for this excellent review of the book in this week’s issue of Underground Book Reviews, a great website which encourages and promotes independent authors in many ways. It was exciting that this was the second book the website selected for an in-depth review. Eli’s Heart was also reviewed by Ms. Lock.

The Rundown
Jamie Logan’s love for singing was set in place at a young age. By high school Jamie gets involved in theater and his lilting tenor voice wins him the lead role in Rodgers and Hammerstein’s Carousel. Although he’s attracted to the lead lady in the musical, Jamie is too enamored of Sarah, his longtime sweetheart—so much so that Jamie dreams of the day when he will be a dad. A few years pass and Jamie and Sarah finally wed. But the marriage is not a happy one since Sarah forbids Jamie to pursue his other dream of singing. Dissension brews eventually leading to divorce. Now with his dreams dashed, Jamie feels like a failure, especially when Sarah snidely comments that maybe he’ll “find a job as a professional rainbow chaser.”
Getting back on his feet, Jamie decides to contact Ed Davidson, his high school vocal teacher who inspires him to train for entrance into the University’s opera program. Passing with flying colors, Jamie slowly begins to build his career as an opera singer. Yet as highly talented as he is, Jamie has no idea the trials he will have to face on his musical journey. Jamie periodically finds himself plagued with nervousness prior to performances and low self-esteem as competition auditions become more taxing. It doesn’t help that a family crisis gets added to the mix. Amid all his problems, Jamie knows that the only one who can help him achieve the highest career goal is the woman he loves. But whether or not Jamie can overcome his worst enemy in the process will be his ultimate challenge.
In the final novel of The Carousel Trilogy, Jordan gathers the featured characters (Melanie Stewart, Krissy Porter, and Jamie Logan) from her series together in one glorious romance tale. Based on her “experiences as a voice teacher and stage director” and “inspired by real people she has encountered,” Jordan’s 1960’s plot shines a light on the complexities of professionals in the opera realm. While men and women’s roles were defined differently in general as well as in the musical arena, so too were issues of race and gender—all thought provoking concepts for readers to ruminate on to compare then and now. As she weaves in these troubling aspects in the midst of Jamie’s intriguing life, Jordan includes a delightful array of all things opera.
The Recommendation
You Are My Song creates a nice closure to a great trilogy! There is no doubt that the largest draw of readers will come from those who are musically inclined—whether instrumentalists or listeners. Yet Jordan incorporates so much more than the opera scene to grab the attention of anyone looking for a captivating read.
The Rating Reviewer Rating: 5 Stars
5 Stars (out of 5): Highly recommended. This book did exactly what it set out to do, with originality, style, and maybe even a twist. It stands out next to popular, traditionally published novels in its genre.
The Pros & Cons
Pros: Believable, Characterization, Page Turner
You Are My Song (Kindle edition) is currently on sale on Amazon for ninety-nine cents. A great chance to pick up the book!

Cover by Tristan Flanagan