“Changes” by Judith Arnold opens with Diana searching for the perfect wedding venue, as she and her irritable fiance visit laid-back Brogan’s Point. The fiance hates the small-town vibe. Diana, however, loves its authenticity. And when this mismatched couple wanders into the local bar, a song from an antique jukebox nudges Diana a whole new direction. The tune? “Changes,” by David Bowie.
As luck would have it, someone else also hears the jukebox’s siren call. And it’s not Diana’s grumpy fiance. Instead it’s Nick, a local with a chequered past. He and Diana find themselves drawn to each other across the crowded barroom. Love this pull-you-in teaser:
The man with the dark hair and the darker eyes was staring at her. She stared back, unsure why. Unsure why she couldn’t seem to look away from him.
Nick and Diana’s romantic connection evolves from that first, crazy moment when the jukebox spoke to both of them. It’s a tug they can’t seem to resist.
She opened her mouth to say no. But what came out was “Thank you. I’d like that.”
But are they each willing to make the changes they need to, to be together? Diana must decide whether to cancel her long-planned marriage to a man she never really quite chose. Nick must to decide whether to share his past – and face all the pain that he’s buried for so long.
The romance between these two gentle souls is both fast and slow-moving – a sweet build between characters who clearly heard the siren call of the jukebox, but who take their time adjusting to its message.
The writing’s a slow, gentle wave, not a page-whipping tornado. But you’ll love immersing yourself in Brogan’s Point, from the red-leatherette bench seats in the diner to gruff, worldly Gus, who wrangles the bar.
For me, the plot lost steam and bogged down about three-quarters of the way through before (yes!) picking up again. But I thoroughly enjoyed the author’s sure touch – she knows how to paint a scene without belaboring it. She draws you along deftly in the story. And the characters have to fight for their happily-ever-after.
Four stars for an enjoyable, well-crafted tale. And I loved the fun touch of jukebox’s magic! A great summer beach read.
“Changes” is the first in the The Magic Jukebox series, currently at 9 books (“It Takes Two” is the latest (2020) series addition). By USA-Today bestselling author Judith Arnold (aka Barbara Keiler), an author so popular she has her own Wikipedia page: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Judith_Arnold. For more, here’s her website: http://www.juditharnold.com/
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