Book Review: A Swan's Sweet Song, by J. Arlene Culiner

I loved this sweet story about a country singer and a playwright.  Sherry Valentine is the queen of popular culture and Carston Hewlett is the king of high-brow theatre: Nashville meets New York Times.  When they’re thrown together for a radio interview, neither of them expects much of the occasion, but they quickly find that there’s more to each of them than first appearances suggest.  Sparks fly and they’re soon looking for opportunities to spend more time together. 

The mature hero and heroine of the story were totally believable, and I liked the fact that, while they both had a past which influenced their present-day feelings, their pasts weren’t overplayed.  Instead, the focus was purely on how things play out for them in the present, when Carston finds out about Sherry’s desire to become an actress.  While Sherry keeps her ambitions a secret because she doesn’t want to exploit Carston, his past experience makes him misread her intentions entirely.  The crossed wires here are totally believable and understandable, and this whole strand of the story is a thought-provoking exploration of how fear can get in the way of love. 

Both Sherry and Carston are attractive characters, and there are some lovely descriptions of people and places.  I also enjoyed the frequent humorous moments.  Sherry’s pushy manager provides some delightful comedy as well as some astute insights into her character.  But my all-time favourite scene was when Sherry and Carston were caught in the storm.  I’ll see hay barns and boy scouts in an entirely different way after reading this book!

Altogether, it was a sweet, funny, believable story, brought to a satisfying conclusion, and I thoroughly recommend it to anyone who enjoys a love story with a mature hero and heroine, especially if, like me, you have a taste for showbiz.  


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