BRING ME BACK was Karen’s first rock star hero book.  It allowed readers to fantasize about actually getting that guy in the band they lusted over in high school…BACK FOREVER concluded Claire and Christopher’s story.  Now Karen introduces HIDING IN THE SPOTLIGHT.  We’re dealing with home-grown rockers & unrequited high school love this time round….(Clicking on the prior book links will take you to my reviews).

Here’s the blurb from Karen’s site

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David Callahan wanted a career in rock music and a life with Alex, the woman of his dreams. He got the chart-topping success. His best friend got it all.

Alex Halford’s rock-star husband, Glenn, steals away in the middle of the night, leaving her with their two boys, a mountain of debt, and one person to turn to—his lifelong friend and band mate, David Callahan. David helps Alex pick up the pieces of her shattered life, happy to have any time with the woman he’s loved for seventeen years. Every moment with her is ripe with opportunity, and every last idea running through his mind would destroy his brotherly bond with Glenn.

Out from under Glenn’s thumb, Alex can see the person she was before marriage, finding feelings for David she thought she’d left behind in high school. A single kiss and the floodgates open, giving her new hopes of happiness. But when David and Glenn’s band has a chance to be back on top, David must convince Glenn to return. With every passing day, success comes closer, Glenn’s ego inflates, and David and Alex find it more difficult to hide. One misstep and the secret comes out, forcing David to choose between his life’s work and the woman he doesn’t want to leave behind.

 

My thoughts…..

David and Glenn have been friends forever.  Enter Alex in their Junior year.  David falls hard but his reticence in telling Alex of his feelings allows Glenn to beat him to the punch.  Double Damage, Glenn and David’s rock group takes off, Glenn marries Alex and David’s left with a severe case of unrequited love while being their best friend.   

Ms. Booth does an excellent job of bringing her characters and their world to life.   Fast forward seventeen years from Junior high days and talk about your emotional conflict and misery. 

 David’s had a brief marriage but mainly a string of girlfriends, none of which last long.

Glenn and Alex have two sons, Page and Tyler, and a dead marriage.  Glenn has cheated repeatedly and finally disappeared leaving their joint accounts almost empty.   When Glenn leaves Alex high and dry she turns to one of her best friends, David, for help.  Refusing to accept his offer of financial assistance she does accept his offer of a place to live while her home is being rented to a film company; the boys’ tuition has to be paid after all. 

Some where along the line Glenn has morphed into the stereotypical “I’m the center of the universe” rock star, not a huge leap for him granted.  However, you’d think the children would have made a dent in that ego and self centeredness.  Sadly for Glenn, fame is a fickle mistress and Double Damage isn’t selling out stadiums or at the top of the charts.  However, thanks to David and his business acumen there’s a good chance that is about to change.  

Unlike Bring Me Back, HIDING IN THE SPOTLIGHT doesn’t invite fantasies of landing your younger self’s rock star crush. 

I’m still unsure if it was the triangle, the length of time David had loved Alex, or simply the complicated situation overall, but HIDING IN THE SPOTLIGHT is Ms. Booth’s most emotional book to date.  She has a knack of bringing musical stars down to earth.    

There was only one fly in my ointment and this is a totally “me” thing.  While I applaud Alex’s putting her children first I wonder why she put up with Glenn’s philandering and shoddy behavior as long as she did. Especially considering the effect on her when they shared the same air and what it was doing to Page.  Was it a forest for the trees thing or what?  It behooves me.

Glenn, Alex, and David’s Gordian knot is unraveled realistically and creatively, staying true to the characters and situation.  

Ms. Booth has another winner on her hands with HIDING IN THE SPOTLIGHT.  Readers who crave musicians with some life and living under their instruments will surely fall under the spell of Ms. Booth’s handsome, down to earth rockers.

4.5 stars

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KarenBoothauthorphoto-300x300I’m Karen Booth, a Midwestern girl transplanted in the South, raised on 80s music, Judy Blume, and the films of John Hughes. An early preoccupation with Rock ‘n’ Roll led me to spend my twenties working my way from intern to executive in the music industry. Much of my writing revolves around the world of backstage passes and band dynamics.

My first full-length novel, Bring Me Back, is a story I had in my head for nearly eight years before my fingers hit the keyboard. Sleeping and eating quickly became a luxury, a plan I have since dubbed the Writer’s Diet. I channeled teenage memories of plastering my walls with posters to weave the tale of music journalist, Claire Abby, and the dreamy British rock-star crush of her youth, Christopher Penman.Bring Me Back is a work of women’s fiction, published by Turquoise Morning Press.

When I’m not creating fictional musicians, I’m listening to everything from old-school Cheap Trick to Duran Duran to Superchunk with my kids, honing my Southern cooking skills (I make some mean collards), or sweet-talking my astoundingly supportive husband into whipping up a batch of cocktails.

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