This is one of those stories that will mark you and stay with you forever. When you’re not sure what to do or where to go, whether physically or metaphorically, Jane’s Melody will remind you to not fear but to live, regardless of grief or pain or loss. This haunting novel follows Jane McKinney as she deals with the death of her daughter, looking for answers which led her down a road she never expected.
This is a simple story, written with quiet, easy words that allow you to feel. So many authors today try too hard, filling their pages with big words and lengthy, boring descriptions of things that don’t matter. Ryan Winfield just tells Jane’s story which somehow becomes our story as it reaches deep down into the reader’s heart, holding it tightly.
Personally, there were many things within Jane’s Melody that I related to. I’m close to her age, our children are the same age, and, like Jane, I’m at that point in life where one starts to reevaluate where they’ve been and where they’re headed. Of course you don’t have to be in your 40s to feel this way or to experience gut wrenching loss, which is demonstrated perfectly in Caleb, the amazing young man who comes into Jane’s life.
I won’t lie, I cried while reading this and not just at the obvious moments. Just as in life, it was the small little details that broke my heart: the memory of sharing an air mattress with your five-year old in a new house, a precious moment you’ll only ever have again in memory, an old nickname from a sibling that goes back to simpler times, the emptiness of a house that was once a home. Ryan Winfield gets these moments and pours them out, avoiding all the clichés that could so easily take up the space instead.
Jane’s Melody is for everyone. It’s not chick lit or a romance novel (though there’s definitely a few steamy moments!). It’s a book about living your life with all of its ups and downs without fear of the past or future getting in the way.
In addition to Jane’s Melody, Ryan Winfield is the author of South of Bixby Bridge, The Park Service Trilogy, and coming in August the sequel to Jane’s Melody, Jane’s Harmony.