Author: Nicki Edwards
Publisher: Pan Macmillan Australia
Copy: Courtesy of the publisher
One More Song is the latest in the list of Nicki Edwards books that I have read and loved, but I think this is the first that I actually have in paperback so I thought that was a little special; being the first paperback it’s the first we have been able to feature as a book club read so I hope that our readers love this story as much as I do.
Nicki’s Escape to the Country series was largely set in one small town region surrounding a hospital. One More Song is set in the fictional town of Yallambah in the Victorian High Country, an area decimated by bushfire the year before the story is set.
Harrison Baxter is the prodigal son, born to a farmer and expected to take over in the succession plan. Harrison may have been born to a farmer but he certainly wasn’t born to be a farmer and he knew it from early on. Harrison always dreamed of becoming a performer, even though it created quite a rift between he and his father and saw his visits become less and less frequent.
Harry agrees to come home for Christmas in the lead up to a charity show fundraising for the bushfire victims, on his first day back in town he crosses paths with Eddie (Edwina) Campbell.
Eddie also grew up in Yallambah but she has always been very happy nestled in the heart of her community and taking care of her grandparents. Things just lately haven’t really gone her way but she loves her work as a nurse and a volunteer with the SES, she is completely community minded and is more than happy to make Yallambah the bulk of her world.
One More Song is another sizzling story of an Australian summer, complete with bushfire threat and the need to be prepared. These stories always get me thinking, and wondering about what I would do in the situation because I’m in an area that needs me to be bushfire ready.
Musical theatre features quite predominantly and I am amazed at how prevalent this subject matter is lately, but perhaps it’s just that I have become more open to it. I was always very closed to the idea but over the last year or so my mind has been opened a little, and is ready to be opened some more if the right opportunities are to present themselves.
Harry is currently performing in Les Mis and it’s a scaled back version of that being performed in Yallambah, he has performed in some big name shows that even I have heard of, and his dream is to make it to the big time, internationally. He isn’t thrilled to be home for Christmas, time with his family always ends up quite stressful but he has even more to face this time round because his infrequent family contact mean he has missed out on quite a lot, but now could be the perfect opportunity to try and make amends. He can’t do anything to change the past but maybe he can make a better future.
Eddie has family issues of her own with aging grandparents that suddenly make some huge life changes that Eddie was not expecting.
Harry and Eddie both come with quite a bit of family baggage and they are polar opposites in a lot of ways so watching their interactions was almost as enlightening as it was entertaining; watching the way they talked through their differences and every angle of a situation was aired.
One More Song is a story of family, of community, of small towns that band together and look out for each other. It’s a story of aging, of frailty, of love, of loss and new beginnings.
Sometimes it takes the raging heat of a bushfire to clear a path to fresh new starts, burning off old resentments and fears to allow fragile new shoots of understanding to grow into closer bonds.
Nicki has penned a story that brought tears of happiness, tears of laughter and heartwrenching tears of empathy; maybe her books do need to come with a tissue warning, or a free box of tissues. I often get the lump in my throat or a sheen of tears in my eyes but they don’t often spill, One More Song had them spilling.
Yet again Nicki’s background, and day job, in nursing shines through with quite a bit of hospital time required for our characters and her hospital scenes always ring quite true, where sometimes with medical scenes you are left shaking your head that events could never happen.
One More Song is a fabulous summer Australian read that I would recommend to a wide audience.
One More Song is book #53 for the Australian Women Writer’s Challenge 2017.