Gwen is restless, even though she has exactly what she thinks she wants. She has Flora, the wife she loves, and the career she’s always wanted. Gwen moved to Nashville from L.A. to become business partners with Nico, and styling country music superstar Clementine Campbell is a dream come true. But gorgeous Clementine may turn out to be too much of a temptation. Gwen is at odds between the late night partying girl she used to be and the married, coming home early person she is now. Her new house in Nashville is just that, a house, and it doesn’t feel like home as she misses L.A. Flora is content and talks of babies, but with every conversation, Gwen becomes more unsettled.
Nico is also settling into life in Nashville with Grady and they appear happier than ever. But when Grady thinks that Nico is uncertain about their future, Grady slides back into dangerous habits. Gwen, Grady, Nico, and Clementine, all have decisions to make as they navigate the next stages of their lives and the storm of life in the public eye.
Burning Tracks is the follow up to Broken Records, which featured Nico and Grady and introduced Gwen, Flora, and Clementine. Nico and Grady have more than a passing cameo here and it’s expected that you will know all the connections, so this book would be most enjoyed having read them in order.
Gwen is the narrator here and first off, I have to talk about the style. I can read a lot of different styles, but I find third person present to generally be excruciating and tedious. So I have to give a nod to the author for making the third person narrative a win for me with this book. The combination of Gwen’s omnipresent narrative coupled with plenty of dialogue made this book not just simply palatable, but most enjoyable.
Gwen has been with Flora for years. Where Gwen always has a different color hair and an edgy style, Flora is smooth and flowing with a temperament that suits her career as an elementary school teacher. Gwen knows she’s not the daughter her parents wanted and she is conditioned to thinking that she will eventually let everyone down, that she will never be enough, and she’s having immense growing pains.
The move from L.A. to Nashville was for Gwen’s career, but L.A. is in her blood, it’s home, and all the changes in her life are catching up to her and she’s acting out. Maybe she’s immature in some ways, but she’s so concerned about keeping Flora happy and she just agrees to whatever Flora wants without voicing her own needs. Flora is steady and constant and completely accepting, as well as forgiving where Gwen is concerned. Gwen thinks she constantly takes all the wrong turns, but in the end she ends up exactly where she needs to be and comes to realize that home is a person and not a place.
Added into Gwen’s story is the continuing story of Nico and Grady. Gwen is the main POV (Flora gets POV for a few scenes), but it was well written and engaging that we were given a sense of where Nico and Grady were at when they were speaking to Gwen, which made for a more well rounded story. Nico and Grady get ample page time and it was great that they were such an integral part of this book. But, they were almost in the same place as before with Nico running again at the first sign of discord and having this part of their story filtered entirely through Gwen didn’t work as well for me here. Likewise with Clementine, who has more of a presence in this book but still remained too much of a mystery.
I enjoyed getting Gwen’s full story and seeing Nico and Grady again. I liked the feel that it was an ensemble piece and that all of the stories were intertwined. But at times I questioned if Gwen was a strong enough narrator to carry the entire story. Overall this was a well crafted story and if you have already read the first book in this series, I can definitely recommend continuing on. The series will then continue further with more of Grady’s story with Blended Notes coming in 2017 and I will be looking out for that one for sure.