The last verse A novel

Caroline Frost

Book - 2024

Nashville, 1977: A broken heart. A terrible crime. A song the world would sing. When aspiring musician Twyla Finch arrives in Nashville, Tennessee, in 1977, the nineteen-year-old Texan is dazzled by the fringe-and-rhinestones country music scene. Live music flows from bars, open mic nights tempt with the chance of stardom, and record label execs seek the next hot new act. As Twyla finds her way in this vibrant town, she soon falls for Chet Wilton, country music hopeful and son of blue-blooded Nashvillians. When a night out with Chet goes terribly wrong, Twyla finds herself involved in a shocking crime. Hoping to process what happened that fateful night, she composes a haunting ballad that she performs only once in an empty bar. But weeks la...ter, when she turns on the radio, she hears another woman singing her song. Twyla must decide whether to claim her ballad, securing the fame she's always wanted--but implicating her in the terrible crime she's desperate to put in the past.

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FICTION/Frost Caroline
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Subjects
Genres
Historical fiction
Bildungsromans
Thrillers (Fiction)
Novels
Published
New York, NY : William Morrow, an imprint of HarperCollinsPublishers [2024]
Language
English
Main Author
Caroline Frost (author)
Edition
First edition
Physical Description
358 pages ; 24 cm
ISBN
9780063265486
Contents unavailable.
Review by Booklist Review

Twyla's life plays out like the lyrics of a clichéd country and western song, one filled with jealousy and betrayal, unrequited love and, ultimately, murder. It's not the kind of soulful ballad Twyla writes nor that her deceased father played with his band. Twyla ran away from an emotionally abusive mother in Texas to attend Elvis' funeral at Graceland, then hopped a bus to Nashville, hoping to make it in the music business. She falls in love with Chet, a wannabe musician, who cheats on her with another woman. Her confrontation over Chet's dishonesty turns violent, and Twyla kills Chet in self-defense. Turns out Chet's lover did more than steal Twyla's man, she also stole her best song and turned it into the country's number one hit. As the investigation into Chet's murder ramps up, thanks to the determined efforts of a disgraced ex-cop, Twyla struggles to atone for the lifetime of bad choices that have led her to this moment. Frost (Shadows of Pecan Hollow, 2022) delivers a tearjerker fraught with complicated emotions.

From Booklist, Copyright (c) American Library Association. Used with permission.
Review by Publisher's Weekly Review

Frost's intriguing second novel (after Shadows of Pecan Hollow) follows a talented 19-year-old aspiring country singer and her travails in 1977 Nashville. Twyla Higgins, tired of her sheltered life in Texas, defies her domineering mother, Faith, and makes her way to Graceland to attend Elvis's funeral. From there, she hitches a ride to Nashville, where she falls for rich pretty boy Chet Wilton, a middling guitarist who recognizes her songwriting talent. After sleeping with him, Twyla's crushed when she learns Chet is engaged to magnetic singer Lorelei Ray. Following a violent argument on a boat, Twyla stabs Chet in self-defense and tries in vain to save him from drowning. Not long after, she hears Lorelei on the radio, singing a song Twyla had written about her guilt over Chet's death. Lorelei later blackmails Twyla into writing the rest of her debut album in exchange for keeping quiet about Twyla's involvement in Chet's death. Frost turns many memorable phrases ("Like a circus, she would erect herself each morning and dismantle at night") and each of the imperfect yet sympathetic characters are well-drawn, including workaholic former cop T. Lynn Struthers, who's hired by the Wiltons to find Chet's killer, and ambitious Lorelei, whom Twyla grows fond of in spite of the blackmail and jealousy. Classic country fans will love this. Agent: Elizabeth Winick Rubinstein, McIntosh & Otis. (Mar.)

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