Dirty Little Secret by Jennifer Echols
Published: July 16, 2013 by MTV Books
Source: For review from edelweiss via publisher
From the author of the “real page-turner” (Seventeen) Such a Rush comes an unforgettable new drama that follows friends-turned-lovers as they navigate the passions, heartbreaks, and intrigue of country music fame.
Bailey wasn’t always a wild child and the black sheep of her family. She used to play fiddle and tour the music circuit with her sister, Julie, who sang and played guitar. That ended when country music execs swooped in and signed Julie to a solo deal. Never mind that Julie and Bailey were a duet, or that Bailey was their songwriter. The music scouts wanted only Julie, and their parents were content to sit by and let her fulfill her dreams while Bailey’s were hushed away.
Bailey has tried to numb the pain and disappointment over what could have been. And as Julie’s debut album is set to hit the charts, her parents get fed up with Bailey’s antics and ship her off to granddad’s house in Nashville. Playing fiddle in washed-up tribute groups at the mall, Bailey meets Sam, a handsome and oh-so-persuasive guitarist with his own band. He knows Bailey’s fiddle playing is just the thing his band needs to break into the industry. But this life has broken Bailey’s heart once before. She isn’t sure she’s ready to let Sam take her there again… [goodreads]
Getting my hands on the next Jennifer Echols book has become an addiction for me. I love this woman's writing and storytelling so much, that when given the opportunity to read her next release, I literally jump at the chance (yes, I may have actually jumped up and down when I received an e-copy of this to read). There's something so hypnotic, yet familiar in her books that keeps me coming back for more and more. This particular story held my interest when I realized it was based around country music. I love all types of music, so being a girl from Texas, I've been to a few music festivals suited up with cowboy boots and hats, along with a fiddle in the band.
Bailey has been tucked away by her parents, out of the limelight, as her sister's career of becoming a country music star takes root and begins to grow. The girl has talent of her own, and even though she wants to see her sister succeed, it still makes it difficult for Bailey to want to pursue her own dreams in country music, too. At first I was a bit confused as to why her parents were forcing her to lay low (per her sister's record company's request) and not dabble in her own affair with music. But as the story continues, and the more I got to understand Bailey, the reasons for this became more clear.
Given Bailey's talent, and her pure love for the music, it was evident she couldn't lay low for long. Eventually she'd find herself on a stage, performing for a crowd that was instantly drawn to her. There is also a boy, who was instantly drawn to her as well. As Echols always seems to deliver, we meet Sam -- the irresistible character we want to like because he's so dreamy and charming, yet it's his flaws that keep us at a distance, weary of what his true intentions may be. He's insisted on Bailey joining his band, claiming she's the added spark they need to be heard and get signed. However, the mystery plays out, causing you to wonder -- is he falling for Bailey? Or is he using her, and her family's contacts in the industry, in order to get his big break?
Jennifer Echols delivers a story in true country music form. It starts out simple, about finding that one person who makes you feel the best you've ever felt, only to lead you down an unknown path full of heartache and wonder. Though I did not always agree with the character's choices, I was still invested in the story and committed to seeing it to the end. Thanks to Echols, I now have the urge to dig out my cowgirl boots and listen to some old classic country. And maybe even plan a trip to Nashville so that I can witness the greatness of the Grand Ole Opry!