Where Honesty Never Ends.
Genre: Fictional Memories
Disclaimer: This book was provided to The Review Board in exchange for an honest review.
Blurb per Goodreads:
Nothing could have prepared Darlina Flowers for the reckless Texas rogue musician, Luke Stone, to come stampeding into her life like a team of wild horses. Their love ignited into an ever burning flame, enduring a cruel twist of fate and injustice. A compelling true story based on the lives of Rick and Jan Sikes.
Today The Review Board brings you “Flowers and Stone” by Jan Sikes. First up, Harmony Kent.
Flowers and Stone is a true story based on the lives of Rick and Jan Sikes. Roguish, Texan musician, Luke Stone, sweeps the naïve, nineteen-year-old Darlina Flowers off her feet. In a short time, her whole life becomes entwined with his, and she cannot imagine living without him. When Luke distances himself from her, she cannot understand why. Then tragedy strikes, and they are torn apart when Luke is arrested and convicted for bank robbery.
This debut novel is paced steadily, and sometimes it felt on the slow side to me. In places, I struggled to keep going, as my attention slipped time and again. For me, the repetitiveness of the gigs, dancing, drugs, and deeply-in-love theme, without an awful lot of change, grew old. Plot development did come, but too slowly for my tastes, and nothing surprising transpired. The preface showed me where the storyline was headed, and the rest of the book built toward that. The narrative is written from the viewpoint of the two main characters, in third person, and hops from head to head without anything to indicate the change to the reader. Likewise, scene shifts and time jumps occur with no indication. Some of these jumps occur at the end of a run of dialogue, which means you are reading a conversation, and then all at once hours and hours have passed. With the simple introduction of an extra line space between paragraphs, this issue would be resolved, as it would be clear that there is a break. I felt further distanced from the characters because of the passive writing style, and the frequent use of filter words (he/she knew, heard, etc).
The Texan music scene is written authentically, and the characters have been well drawn, and showed some small changes as their story evolved. This book is the first in a planned trilogy, but works well as a standalone novel. This is a love story that romance lovers can savour all the more because it is based on a true story. It gets 6 out of 10 TRB stars, which equates to 3 out of 5 on other rating scales. If you like a read with a gentle pace, and love stories based on real life, and don’t mind a bit of head hopping here and there, then I would say that you are likely to enjoy this book.
Thank you Harmony for your insight.
Next No Labels Unleashed brings us her thoughts on Flowers and Stone.
If I could sum up Flowers and Stone, it would be the homemade maple syrup that swirls outward from the pat of butter on the top of the pancakes. The syrup is viscous and leisurely as it tumbles from the top of the stack to the base of the plate.
By now you are attempting to decipher what I mean by this analogy. Don’t worry; I won’t make you wait too long.
For the hopeless romantic, Flowers and Stone is the type of work that has tremendous appeal. You have a rebel—a man rough around the edges in the form of Luke Stone. Then, you have a young woman with a Cinderella mentality (the Prince charming to sweep her off her feet so they can live happily ever after) in Darlina Flowers. This is the type of story that screams, “When you have a love, you fight for that love, no matter what the challenges.” That is a very admirable premise.
However, I feel like the love component was so thick in this story (like the maple syrup) that the motivator for the novel (Luke getting locked up for a crime he didn’t commit) gets lost in the shuffle. The women, the drugs, the alcohol and the music served as a great back drop to put the reader in the environment, yet for me, this occurred so many times that it became difficult to discern one location from the other location, as it pertains to the performances. It almost slipped my mind that we were supposed to circle back to what was revealed at the beginning because the pacing of the work was very sluggish.
In other words, it took too long to build up to the point where the main injustice unfolds.
In addition, I kept waiting to see what Darlina saw in Luke outside of his talent and willingness to take care of her so she wouldn’t have to work. Yet, there were quite a few things he did which made me shake my head. Also, if this was set in more current times, Luke might have even been categorized as an alcoholic and drug addict who’s emotionally abusive. I couldn’t control my ire flaring up a few times and it is beautiful when one writes such a tormented character. The only downside is due to that disconnect, I couldn’t make myself care what happened to him. I do care about what happens with Darlina, for some of her naivety reflected a bit of what I was like in my younger years—before I experienced the pain I went through in loving a rebellious soul.
To sum up the pros and the cons:
Unleashed Verdict: 6 Stars
The author does wonderfully with painting the emotional blueprint of a love story along with doing her research in historical parts of the book. This book could have easily gotten some extra stars if the pacing wasn’t a bit stagnant at times and there were more layers to the other people in the story.
It looks like Harmony and the Unleashed One were on the same page with their scoring. Therefore, the overall score for Flowers and Stone is 6 TRB Stars.
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