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SISTER GOLDEN HAIR
JULI PAGE MORGAN
Summary: Recently widowed and newly jobless, 42-year-old Rhett (yeah, she knows that’s a man’s name) Davis has a major life decision to make. She can either stay in the little Texas town where she was never really accepted, driving the same old beat-up Dodge and sliding toward genteel decrepitude, or she can buy a Jag, get some highlights, ditch the frumpy clothes, and strike out for the big smoke of Dallas. Hey, she never liked that Dodge, anyway.
The one thing she’s not looking for in the Big D is romance, but when her upstairs neighbor turns out to be the delectable and very single Rhys James, front man for the band Illicit, Rhett decides that she just might give this love thing a shot…assuming she remembers how to go about it, that is. It doesn’t take her long to figure out that Rhys is anything but a predictable, paint-by-numbers sorta guy. Music is his mistress, and she’s not good at sharing. Throw in a scheming ex-wife and a demanding daughter, and Rhett’s quest for her old crush’s heart just got a hell of a lot harder.
But Texas women don’t scare easy. And Rhett will be damned if she lets this English Rock star go without a fight.
I was grinning ear to ear before I even finished the first chapter of Juli Page Morgan’s Sister Golden Hair, book one in her rock and roll series Illicit. It doesn’t take long for Morgan’s skillful writing and incredibly real characters to pull you straight into their lives. Taking center stage in this lyrical story is the newly widowed Rhett Davis and Rhys James, lead singer for the legendary rock band, Illicit.
At 42, Rhett is just starting to take stock of her life when a devastating revelation about her marriage sends her reeling…and leaving the only home she’s ever known. Clairborne, a suburb of Dallas, holds only feelings of inadequacy for Rhett, dating all the way back to her high school years. Determined to start fresh, she sells her house and moves in with her older sister Melanie. An afternoon drive around town leads Rhett right into the life of 48 year-old Rhys when she encounters him on a lonely road, his car broken down.
At a towering 6’ 4” and “beautiful sun-streaked, blond hair that tumbled over his shoulder and down his back”, British-born Rhys has enjoyed 28 years as a lead singer and songwriter. But, after almost three decades in front of the mic Rhys finds himself tiring of the hijinks that come with being a rock star and ready to rid himself of the fake women found backstage after every concert. When fate lands him in the passenger seat of Rhett’s “gently used” Jaguar he is immediately smitten. What starts as a delightful friendship quickly turns smoldering as Rhett and Rhys declare their attraction for each other and give into it. And, though they may seem “old” to some, the chemistry between these two is sizzling and most definitely reflects their experience.
Sister Golden Hair quickly became a favorite of mine, as did the couple headlining the book. The dialogue between Rhett and Rhys flows naturally and the reader is treated to a romance that develops from a genuine friendship and respect. The pace and narrative are snappy, snarky, and descriptive and Morgan cleverly uses flashbacks throughout the story that flow seamlessly, never disrupting the pace and giving added depth to Rhett’s character.
Love is the centerpiece of this novel with Rhys and Rhett’s story in the spotlight. Yet love comes in many forms and Juli Page Morgan demonstrates that through the many well-developed secondary characters that fill the 350+ pages of Sister Golden Hair. There’s the delightful relationship between Rhett and Melanie that’s as realistic as it is funny. Both Rhett and Rhys have children, and all three play significant roles throughout the story, not to mention Rhys’ strong ties to his band mates and Rhett and Mel’s strong-willed mother, Bettina, whose love for her daughters is hidden behind a tough exterior. Even Rhett’s love for her deceased husband eventually overcomes the painful mistakes he made before his death and Rhett finds herself holding onto the memory of a (mostly) happy, loving marriage. And this love, all of it, is painted on the canvas provided by both Rhys and Rhett’s love for music, because, after all, this is a Rock and Roll story.