|Get The Rock Season by R.L. Merrill here.|
Stevie is a soon-to-be mother. But that doesn't stop her from rocking out! As a popular blogger, she and her concert buddy frequent the local venue to see all the great shows. When Stevie's careful plan start on a tumultuous slide, she has to find a way to deal with her broken heart. Her whole life, music has been her companion, and once again she turns to it for solace.
Aaron McShane comes from a melting pot of a family. He's given up the rat race to open a vintage vinyl store with his best friend. Everyone thinks he's crazy that he works at an amphitheater during concerts as security for pleasure in his spare time. As the oldest son in a tight-knit extended family, he takes on a lot of responsibility which has taken a toll on his previous relationships. One look at Stevie at a concert, and he's dumbstruck by the redhead blooming with motherhood.
As Stevie works on picking up the pieces of her life, she and Aaron run across each other more and more. There's a sudden vacancy when her concert buddy goes on an extended trip, and Aaron is more than happy to step in. They have music in common, Aaron's family adores Stevie, and it seems as though they might have what it takes to have real love. The tenuous bond they've forged is suddenly tested by life's unexpected smack-downs and Stevie and Aaron have to decide if they can work through the storm together, or be torn apart by it.
'It sounds stupid, but I was kind of grateful, maybe like someone who’d seen the Taj Mahal or the Grand Canyon would think, “I am better for having seen this place.” For me, I was better for having seen her face. I was fucking mental, but I was grateful.'
Quick on the heels of her first release, R.L. Merrill's The Rock Season easily sidesteps the "Sophomore Slump" many authors fall into. This story runs the spectrum of emotion very well. From the first stirrings of attraction, to deep heartbreak, to fear and love - all are painted in the relationships of the main characters whether it be family or with each other. They are seamless and flow with the speed of real life.
Stevie is that quiet, tough soul that soldiers on. She isn't dreary, but her personal sadness is sharp and clear. Rather than telling the reader how much Stevie loves music, Merrill conveys it in her habits, her hobbies, and her dialogue.
Aaron is a big sweetie that only looks intimidating. He's a poet at heart, and a deep thinker. Fiercely devoted to his family, he feels especially responsible for his two younger brothers, who seem to find trouble quite easily.
The story is told in first person, switching back and forth between Stevie and Aaron. Merrill handles this well. Instead of causing the reader confusion, it allows for a deeper understanding of the main characters' feelings and actions. The plot covers a decent span of time, with the emphasis on the busiest time of year at the venue. Despite its length, it doesn't stagnate, but offers new peaks and valleys in the roller-coaster of the relationship.
All of the supporting characters have wonderful depth, and there are quite a few here. Stevie's friend, Maryland is lively and amusing. Aaron's whole family and even his friends are all different and memorable. But, of all the supporting characters, music plays the biggest supporting role. Its presence is felt in every chapter, woven in with a deft hand.
If you love a hero with a sensitive soul and a heroine with enough strength to face down life's challenges, The Rock Season will become one of your favorites. I highly recommend this book for anyone that loves a good romance.