title: Jane’s Melody
author: Ryan Winfield/ Twitter
rated: 4 out of 5
genre: Contemporary Romance
first line: The day after the funeral, Jane came back to the island cemetery and sat in her car, watching rain fall on her daughter’s grave.
WHAT BOUNDARIES WOULD YOU CROSS FOR TRUE LOVE?
That’s the question a grieving mother must answer when she takes in a young street musician she believes can shed light on her daughter’s death—only to find herself falling for him. A sexy but touching love story that will leave you both tantalized and in tears, Jane’s Melody follows a forty-year-old woman on a romantic journey of rediscovery after years of struggling alone.
Sometimes our greatest gifts come from our greatest pain. And now Jane must decide if it’s too late for her to start over, or if true love really knows no limits.
Jane’s Melody is actually a re-read for me as I first read this one in 2014. I have been meaning to read the sequel, Jane’s Harmony, so I decided to read the first book again since it has been a while.
In this story, Jane is a forty year old grieving mother. She lost her only daughter Melody to drug abuse.
What stood out again in this one was Jane’s pain and feelings of helplessness at the loss of her child. The drug abuse took hold of Melody at a young age and spiraled out of control until Jane got the phone call that her daughter had passed away.
Throughout the story, Jane’s grief is real and jumps off these pages. She goes to group therapy and is trying to work through her pain. There is substance abuse in her family so Jane is familiar with the struggle of loving an addict. The author tackles this sensitive subject with heartfelt compassion.
She let herself weep. In a way she was crying more for that little five-year-old girl who had died long ago than she was for her twenty-year-old daughter who had died just recently.
p.55, Jane’s Melody by Ryan Winfield
Jane meets Caleb, who knew Melody in passing and offers him work clearing out her backyard. Her motive is to get Caleb to tell her more about her estranged daughter. Caleb is homeless at the time and a musician who has had a rough time himself. Despite the fifteen year age difference, the relationship that develops between these two seems like it could be real. They easily gravitate towards one another. Jane struggles with her feelings towards Caleb and really tries to view the situation from different angles before jumping into anything. That is one of the main issues throughout the book as well, Jane worrying she will hold Caleb back if they become seriously involved.
What was refreshing here is that the character of Jane was independent and mature. I have read a few other older woman/younger man romance novels where the older woman was written with a childishness about her personality, almost as if she needed to be immature to hold a younger love interest. That irked me. It wasn’t the case here, Jane doesn’t behave foolishly and Caleb is wiser beyond his years, perhaps because of the rough life he has led.
What did age matter, she wondered. Wasn’t love timeless? If it wasn’t, it should be.
p.100, Jane’s Melody
Author Ryan Winfield pens a story that pulls at your heartstrings. There is the loss of Jane’s daughter but also her finding love unexpectedly. I love these type of sweet, unconventional love stories. Love that is unexpected can be the best kind. I really enjoyed this one the second time around as much as the first time I read it.
The ending winds everything up nicely but also leaves room for another book, which I also read.
title: Jane’s Harmony
author: Ryan Winfield/ Twitter
genre: Contemporary Romance
first line: Jane lay awake, searching for the secret of all existence in Caleb’s sleeping face.
From the New York Times bestselling author of Jane’s Melody comes the next chapter in Jane and Caleb’s breathtaking love story.
Starting over is hard to do.
That’s what forty-year-old Jane McKinney learns when she quits her job, sells her home, and leaves Seattle behind to start a new life and pursue the man she loves in Austin. After the death of her daughter, Melody, Jane never thought she would find happiness again—until she met Caleb Cummings. Sensitive, loving, and mature beyond his years, Caleb is a handsome young musician struggling to make ends meet. But when his fortunes take an unexpected and drastic turn for the better, Jane is left wondering where exactly she fits in.
Can you ever leave the past behind? Jane must now decide if she really is willing to commit to a new beginning with Caleb—or if some wounds are just too deep to ever truly mend.
My Thoughts: (minor spoilers)
Jane’s Harmony picks right up where Jane’s Melody left off. Jane and Caleb are in a relationship and Jane has moved to Austin to start her life with him.
She is adjusting to living in a small apartment and is trying to find work.
As the story flows, Caleb is actually chosen to be on a reality musician television program (think American Idol). He has to leave Jane behind and go to LA for a few months.
While he is away the two deal with having a long distance relationship and the issues that come with that. Jane finds work as a meter maid while Caleb is off trying to get ahead in the competition. There is a beautiful girl named Jordyn who is pretty much neck in neck with him and she seems to take an interest in Caleb. Also an issue is how Hollywood depicts these reality tv stars however they like, in order to entice the public into watching.
As the story flows, Jane still struggles with the loss of her daughter. She finds a friend in her neighbor Marj, a woman whose husband was an addict.
I found this second installment lagged just a little for me. I also thought the whole reality tv show aspect of the story to be a far fetched. I would rather have seen these two deal with more realistic every day issues as opposed to Caleb becoming somewhat of a reality tv star while trying to get his music career going.
I do have to say, I like both of these characters and their love does shine through these pages. Caleb is devoted to Jane and just wants her to be happy. I also like that Caleb is mature and responsible. At the end of the day, he really wants to provide for Jane. The author’s writing style can be really sweet, which I also enjoyed.
It was as if their hearts beat a rhythm that rhymed, their souls strolling together forever in some place beyond space and time, step for step, humming a sweet tune of hope, her voice and his, a harmony neither could deny.
p.170, Jane’s Harmony by Ryan Winfield
There were a few funny moments in there that had me smiling. Like Jane and Marj going into the wrong support group at one point.
I thought some of the sex scenes in this one were uncomfortable to read, either they were too explicit or just a little weird. I see these two being more lovey dovey romantic than Jane turned almost dominatrix. It was too much information during some scenes.
In the end, every single thing gets wrapped up nice and neat with a pretty bow on top for good measure. So if you enjoy sickeningly sweet happy endings, you might like that.
Overall, while I enjoyed some of it, I wasn’t too crazy about this second installment. It just felt unrealistic to me and at times I felt Jane mothered Caleb.
I’ll finish off my reviews by saying that if you have the time and are so inclined, check out the author’s website: http://www.ryanwinfield.com/ He’s easy on the eyes 🙂
About the Author
Ryan Winfield is the New York Times bestselling author of Jane’s Harmony, Jane’s Melody, South of Bixby Bridge, and the Park Service trilogy. He lives in Seattle. To connect with Ryan, visit him at RyanWinfield.com.
Disclaimer: These reviews are my honest opinion. I did not receive any kind of compensation for reading and reviewing these books. I am under no obligation to write a positive review. I purchased my copies of Jane’s Melody and Jane’s Harmony by Ryan Winfield.