Monday, November 7, 2011

An Unforgettable Melody

You know when you pick up a book you've never seen before and read the first chapter? You pretty much know whether or not you want to keep reading. Either nothing grabs you, or you feel a pull... compelled by voice and/or prose. Further on, the action may pull you in and the need to know what happens next. But before you get to that point, something very basic must resonate.

That's what happened with me and String Bridge by debut author Jessica Bell. Most of us in the blogosphere  know Jessica from her popular blog, The Alliterative Allomorph. If you've never been by there, check it out. Jessica always keeps it real and is down to earth, but in a very spiritual way. I remember last year when she announced Lucky Press was going to publish her story. I remember later when she announced the title, aptly named String Bridge.


And now it's here!

In String Bridge, we follow Melody Hill, an Australian living in Greece. She's married to a swoon worthy Greek man, is mother to a bouncy four year old daughter, and is a successful career woman. And for those things she's grateful, but there is something more to Melody--something she can't escape from, no matter how hard she tries.

She has an indelible yearning to play music. It is in her very soul. As a former up-and-coming guitar player and singer, Melody had the world in her palm. After meeting future husband, Alex, who promotes concerts for a living, all seemed peachy. Melody was on the brink of her dream and playing music for a living. Marrying Alex made sense in her life. She played music, he promoted it.
A dream come true, right?

Not quite. Once married, Melody finds herself living a life that isn't hers--the embodiment of domesticity. How did it happen? And why can't she just accept it and be happy with what she's got? Because the music inside her is clawing at her soul to get out. Will her hubby, who grew up in a traditional Greek household, accept this part of her? He's happy with things the way they are. And what about their daughter? Is it fair to put Melody's own desires over that of her child's?

This inner conflict is very real. I found myself relating to Melody very much. First of all, I loved her! She's someone I could see myself meeting for coffee. And she has excellent taste in music and fashion. :) But as a writer, I get her--that need to express oneself artistically, but conflicted by family responsibilities that sometimes feel like chains, even though you don't want them to and would give anything in the world NOT to feel that way.

It's what sparks Melody's depression--the guilt of not suppressing the artistic urges, laced with the turmoil of having to do so in the first place. It's enough to drive the creative soul mad.

In all honesty, I feel like a better writer for having read String Bridge. Jessica is a spectacular writer. I've dubbed her as the Queen of Metaphors in my mind. She has such a vivid and gripping way of describing a sight or feeling that it really pulls you deeper into the story. Melody's voice is fun and real  and sometimes I just wanted to reach out and give her a hug. Her inner conflict is very real and relative.

Jessica did a genius job with Melody's hubby Alex. He isn't the bad guy, though sometimes I wondered if he was going to do something really rash. But what Alex represents is what holds Melody back from the life that calls to her. I mean, who says she can't have both? Tori Amos has both. Why can't Melody? (I love that Melody is a Tori fan! She's been my fave singer since her first album twenty years ago)

Make it a point to read String Bridge if you can. Readers will relate to and bond with Melody's raw emotion, and writers will appreciate Jessica's polished craft. I thoroughly enjoyed reading this!

And what's super far out cool, is Jessica created a soundtrack for her book. I can't wait to hear it!


You can download it from iTunes here.
Or from Amazon here.
Amazon UK here.

Jessica has all kinds of prizes and celebrations going on, so be sure to check out her blog for daily details. She also has this amazing writer's retreat happening in Greece next year and gosh darn I'd kill to go to that!! Here are the links to her blogs, websites, book trailer, cool merchandise, and writer retreat info:
String Bridge Website

Jessica Bell: 
Bio:
Jessica Bell is a literary women's fiction author, poet and singer/songwriter who grew up in Melbourne, Australia, to two gothic rock musicians who had successful independent careers during the '80s and early '90s.
She spent much of her childhood travelling to and from Australia to Europe, experiencing two entirely different worlds, yet feeling equally at home in both environments. She currently lives in Athens, Greece and works as a freelance writer/editor for English Language Teaching publishers worldwide, such as HarperCollins, Pearson Education and Macmillan Education.
In addition to String Bridge, Jessica has published a book of poetry called Twisted Velvet Chains. A full list of poems and short stories published in various anthologies and literary magazines can be found under Published Works & Awards, on her website.
From September 2012 Jessica will be hosting the Homeric Writers' Retreat & Workshop on the Greek island of Ithaca, home of Odysseus.
Buy String Bridge as eBook on Amazon or Amazon UK
Or in paperback at Barnes & Noble
And sign up for the chart rush on 11-11-11 at Jessica's blog and win a copy of the soundtrack! 


Have you read String Bridge yet? Do you ever feel the pull of your creative soul like it's going against the grain of responsibilities of a life you should be satisfied with? Please share ...

26 comments:

Jessica Bell said...

Oh my gosh, PK. I'm all teary at this amazingly enthusiastic review. Thank you SO much. It really means the WORLD!!! XOXOXO

Matthew MacNish said...

Great review, PK! Jess is the best.

salarsenッ said...

Fantastic review, PK! You and I have the same view of Jess's story. I teared up in so many places. Her writing sends subtle messages. Loved it!

Cally Jackson said...

This sounds like a must read. I can definitely relate to that creative angst you describe and I don't even have children yet. Looking forward to getting my hands on a copy - evenmoreso considering Jessica's a fellow Aussie! :-)

Old Kitty said...

Lovely enthusiastic and really heartfelt review, thank you PK Hrezo!!! Yay for Jessica Bell and all the best with her stunning debut novel. Take care
x

Karen Walker said...

Pk, I love Jessica and I am waiting till her Amazon Chart Rush day to purchase the book. I was lucky enough to receive the accompanying music, though, and Jessica's voice is as beautiful as she is, and the music is hauntingly beautiful. I cannot wait to read her novel. Thanks for this.
Karen

Nisa said...

Jessica is super talented! I really want to hear her soundtrack as much as I want to read her book!

Hart Johnson said...

Great review! Melody really resonated with me, too. And the writing was gorgeous!

DL Hammons said...

That was an awesome review! The blogosphere is full of positive buzz about String Bridge, and I'm so happy for Jessica. :)

welcome to my world of poetry said...

A wonderful review, most enjoyable to read.......and make you want to go and buy the book.


Yvonne.

Dawn Ius said...

Awesome review, PK and I love the title. Clever.

Amie McCracken said...

Really great review! And yes, the pull of creativity is too strong for me to bear sometimes. I have to give in to it.

J.L. Campbell said...

I agree String Bridge is a lovely book. Great review!

Julie Musil said...

Queen of metaphors is a perfect title for Jessica! I'm amazed at each one as I'm reading through String Bridge. Excellent review.

alexia said...

Sounds like a great book! And yes, that retreat in Greece sounds so fabulous!

Anonymous said...

Alas, Florence must leave this comment as "anon."

What a wonderful review PK. The story of Jessica and the description of her book pulls me back to my childhood. I grew up with "strings" and a lover of the muse, muscian, artist and great big brother. This sounds like a must read for me to be sure. Your question gives me pause. For so long I felt the confict of my desire to write and my responsibilities as a parent. My choice was to wait. I do not second guess, as things happen when they do for a reason. Yet, I now how fortunate you and so many of my dear Mom/writer friends are to have the love of both worlds. Great success to Jessica :)

Rachel Morgan said...

As a somewhat "retired" musician (because life just got too busy), Melody's desire to bring that music back into her life really resonated with me. I understand that ache that twists deep inside every time I think of my dust-covered instruments and how I've neglected them...

And I agree with you that Jessica is indeed a Metaphor Queen!

Arlee Bird said...

Nice review. I imagine you sold a few books for Jessica with this one. I'm looking forward to reading String Bridge and hearing the album.


Lee
Blogging from A to Z

Stacy Henrie said...

Great review! The constant pull between the creative and life's other responsiblities is great conflict for a book.

DM said...

Very nice review. Sounds like a well-written book.

Romance Reader said...

Great review, PK. Made me want to read this book.

All the best to Jessica!

LTM said...

Yay! This is an excellent review, and exactly how I felt when I read it. Love this book. And Jess, of course. I like how you put it: "Jessica always keeps it real and is down to earth, but in a very spiritual way." Couldn'tve said it better myself~ :o) <3

Catherine Stine said...

What a beautiful book cover! The story sounds good too. I'll check it out.

William Kendall said...

Thanks for the recommendation!

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Leslie Lim said...

I read your blog.I thought it was great.. Hope you have a great day. God bless.

Rica
www.imarksweb.org