Since Joey Callaway lost his father, he’s been working hard to run the pub his dad left behind. With his mother’s eyesight failing, it’s up to Joey to turn things around so that they can sell the pub for a profit and move on with their lives. Joey is only twenty one, but he’s dedicated to doing the right thing. He works from early in the morning to very late at night, and he doesn’t regret a second of it. But he’s exhausted, and things don’t seem to be improving. At his mother’s insistence, Joey agrees to take a short vacation and go to the country music festival in the nearby town of Tamsworth. And it’s there that he meets Adam.
Adam Chambers is supposed to join his father’s construction business, but he disagrees with some of his father’s practices and when they get into an argument, Adam heads off to spend several months traveling the country and trying to decide what he wants to do with his life. He’s in contact with his grandma, and even though he’s lonely and ready to come home, he lets his grandma convince him to stay out just a little bit longer. That’s how he ends up at the country music festival, though country music isn’t quite his thing. Adam plays his guitar and sings on the street, and later when he’s in a bar, sees the pretty man who gave him a tip.
Adam and Joey strike up a conversation, and as the night draws to a close, Joey finds himself wishing he was better at reading people. But he makes the offer of sharing his room, and Adam quickly accepts. Once the men get past their awkwardness, things really heat up. When Joey is called back home, he leaves Adam behind. But Adam has his information, and a week or so later, he shows up at Joey’s pub.
The men pick up where they left off. They start building a relationship, but neither of them is willing to put a name on it. Adam has to go back to Sydney at some point, and Joey is just trying to turn things around for the pub. But Adam and Joey are really beginning to care for each other, and Adam is able to put his business degree to work and make some suggestions to help Joey out. He also starts to solidify plans of his own, and what he wants to do with his future. But an emergency with his grandma has Adam rushing back home, and circumstances may mean that he’ll have to stay in Sydney. But Adam can’t get Joey out of his mind, and their talks aren’t enough for either man. Adam will have to stand up and take control of his life if he has any hope of fulfilling his dreams and having a future with Joey.
I thought Rustic Melody was a sweet, lovely, low-angst story about two guys who each had their own dreams to fulfill. It’s when the two of them meet, and realize that there are things they really want to work for, that they even begin to realize that what they want is obtainable. If only they are willing to go after it, and to work together.
I really liked the characters in this story. Both the MCs are well crafted and individual. Joey is just a sweet guy. He’s big hearted and dead set on doing what is right. I loved his determination and drive. He wants to make things the best they can be for his remaining parent, and he wants to live his own life. What I really liked here was that Joey didn’t have some overinflated sense of obligation, and he wasn’t heavily burdened. He was doing what needed to get done so that they could sell the business and he and his mother could move on to the next stage of their lives. I really liked him, and I was rooting for him to succeed from the very beginning.
Adam was, perhaps, a little bit harder to get a read on at first. His character seemed a little inconsistent in the beginning of the story to me, but quickly found his footing and showed us who he was. And that is a really nice guy, who was a little confused, and really just wanted to do the best thing for himself. He wasn’t selfish by any means, but he certainly needed time to sort out his head. I liked that he had a strong sense of morals, and then he didn’t shy away from the connection he had with Joey. As soon as he realized what kind of chemistry they had, Adam went after it and showed Joey exactly how good they could be together.
I did have a few tiny quibbles however. Joey was supposed to be twenty one, but really he really read much other than his years. Adam did too, for that matter. It was fine for the story, in that these guys worked as they were, but I kept remembering that they were supposed to be 21 and 23 and they just didn’t act like it. They were both more leveled headed and big picture thinking than I would expect guys in their early 20s would be. So they worked for the story as it was if you just forget how old they were supposed to be. There were also a couple of places where the story lagged for me a little bit and I wanted to start moving things along a little faster. Again, it wasn’t a huge deal, but there were a few points where I was speed reading because I wanted to get back to the meat of things.
Overall, this is a really nice story. The characters grew and changed, fell in love and made it work, and went after their dreams. I liked that there was a theme of music woven throughout the whole tale. And there was a wonderful sense of place that I found charming. I’d encourage you to pick this one up if you’re looking for a lovely, sweet read.