This Is Our Song
By Samantha Chase
Publisher: Sourcebooks Casablanca
Release Date: December 6, 2016
After enjoying success with his band Shaughnessy, Riley Shaughnessy has hit a rough patch. First, he was considered and rejected as part of a documentary on rock legends, and then the rumors began to circulate that he was the least talented member of the group and would never make it on his own. The other band members seem to be doing fine with their solo projects while the band takes a break, but Riley’s insecurities are mounting. For the first time in his career, he can’t write. That means that he can’t finish the album that was supposed to be all his music. His label has grown impatient. Without quick results, they are ready to cut him loose. The only way he can win more time is to consent to an interview with a journalist from Rock the World magazine. Riley resists the interview, to no avail. The best he can do is plan to fake it and give a bland interview with smiles and no revelations.
Savannah Daly has been promised a career-making interview with Coldplay. An interview with Riley Shaughnessy, a musician whose music she doesn’t like, whose talent she questions, and whom she has relegated to just another pretty-boy-rock-star status is a poor substitute. But when her boss tells her it is the Riley interview or a move back to cutting hair to make ends meet, Savannah begins her research on Shaughnessy. She may have no choice in whom she interviews, but she is determined to write a gritty piece based on the reality of who Riley Shaughnessy is, not a shallow PR piece.
Both Riley and Savannah are surprised when their first meeting challenges all their preconceptions about one another. They are even more surprised—and uncomfortable—with the chemistry they share. When Riley insists that they move the site of the month-long interview to North Carolina, home to the tightly knit and steadily growing Shaughnessy family, Savannah discovers a very different Riley Shaughnessy. She falls in love with him and with his lively, affectionate, welcoming family. Riley finds Savannah easy to talk to and easy to love. She sees him as a man, not merely a celebrity, and she inspires new music and new plans for the future. But just as an HEA for another Shaughnessy seems certain, Riley discovers Savannah’s role in his period of despair and reacts in anger. Is this obstacle too great to be overcome?
I love the Shaughnessy family, and This Is Our Song was a book I eagerly anticipated. For much of the book it was all I hoped it would be. Riley and Savannah were engaging, interesting characters individually and credible and endearing together. The gathering of the Shaughnessys was delightful. I enjoyed seeing the in-process HEAs of Aiden and Zoe (Made for Us), Hugh and Aubrey (Love Walks In), and Quinn and Anna (Always My Girl). Seeing more of Riley’s twin, Owen, and Darcy, the only Shaughnessy daughter, and catching another glimpse of patriarch Ian involved in his new romance were bonuses. The thread of the brothers’ ongoing sense of loss with their mother’s death and her enduring influence on their lives continues to pack an emotional punch. I found the way Chase wove his mother’s influence into Riley’s music particularly moving.
However, I thought Riley acted like a jerk when the moment of revelation occurred. I understand the principles of the black moment, but he just came across as mean and vindictive to me. I had a difficult time getting past that to the reconciliation and concluding bliss. His reaction wasn’t enough to ruin the book for me, but it knocked it from Perfect Dish rating.
Samantha Chase is a fairly recent discovery for me, and I have fallen in love with her family stories. I enjoy the tight family connection and the distinct differences among the siblings. I have been following the Shaughnessy Brothers with joy and catching up on the Montgomery Brothers, which is also good. The next Shaughnessy Brothers book, A Sky Full of Stars, will be released in June. I hope it is Owen’s story since I love a nerdy hero. (Band on the Run, Chase’s new series, a spin-off from Riley’s book, debuts with One More Kiss on February 7, 2017.) If you like family stories with lots of warmth and teasing, a satisfying central romance, and a moderate sensuality level, I suggest you give Chase a try. This Is Our Song will work as a starting point.