My Only Sunshine: A Burnside Novella by Mary Ann Rivers

My Only Sunshine: A Burnside Novella

byMary Ann Rivers

Kobo ebook | July 13, 2015

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John Lake owes his label an album—and has for months. Alone in his farmhouse studio outside of Lakefield, Ohio, he hears the music, but he won’t write it down. All the songs remind him of her. Fifteen years ago, Mallory Evans was a fairy-haired warrior-poet. John couldn’t figure out why no one in high school noticed. He noticed, and he came to her window every evening before darkness came and the private violence of her home life threatened. Then, inevitably, one terrifying night broke the sweet spell between them. John hasn’t seen Mallory since, but he’s looked for her—in his audiences, in his dreams. Now he decides that if he can’t find the inspiration to finish an album, he can at least find Mallory and finish what has always been between them.

Title:My Only Sunshine: A Burnside NovellaFormat:Kobo ebookPublished:July 13, 2015Publisher:Brain Mill Press LLCLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:1942083025

ISBN - 13:9781942083023

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Reviews

Rated 4 out of 5 by from lovely, poignant story about rekindling first love It's been a while since I visited Lakefield Ohio, the lovely town where Mary Ann Rivers has set her contemporary romances, including this novella about first loves and loss and forgiveness. Mallory and John had a secret relationship in high school - they were just friends, but they connected in night time meetings outside her bedroom window. At school though, there was no acknowledgment of their friendship, nor of the abuse that Mallory was living with at home, that John knew of, but did nothing about until one horrible morning when he came to pick her up for school and everything fell to pieces. It's been 15 years since they've seen each other and during their time apart they have both become accomplished artists - John as a musician and Mallory as a writer. John has been writing pieces with Mallory as the audience in his head, while Mallory went one step further and wrote about her abusive childhood, and then about her one year in high school where her friendship with John meant the world to her. Can they connect again as adults, and rekindle the flame that was started with their friendship? If you are sensitive to stories with child abuse, this might be a tough read for you (parts of it were for me but the story is novella length and while it's a significant part of the story, there is much more to it than that). The story alternates between different tenses and voices - it was quite interesting in that regard. It's told in first person as John's story really, but with chapters from Mallory's teenage memoir interspersed (in third person) so it goes from present to past to present again and tells of their reconnection as adults while detailing some of Mallory's experiences as a teenager. What amazed me was how resilient Mallory was, to have had the upbringing she did and still be a levelheaded, friendly and warm woman. She has accepted her past and dealt with it emotionally by writing out her experiences. When she wrote her story, she unabashedly told of her friendship with teenage John, including her secret feelings for him, ones that he only knows now from hearing second hand about her book. John's prevailing memory of that time, besides how wonderful Mallory was, is guilt. He knew her home life was violent and he did nothing to stop it. They didn't talk about it, he didn't tell her he knew what was happening, but he's lived with the feelings of shame that he could have told someone what was happening and never did. When John comes back to Lakefield to work on his music, he can't stay away from Mallory anymore, and their first meeting again is fraught with emotion - that guilt, but also joy in seeing one another again. Music - it's creation and it's influence on both their lives is also a key part of the story as John owes his record company and album and this is why he's come back to Lakefield, in hopes of being able to create something fresh and exciting. His feelings about music and Mallory are intertwined, and the story is rather poetic in its descriptions of John's relationship with his music. Mallory is his muse, and having her back in his life gives him what he needs to be creative again. Being together again as adults enables them to connect intimately, and their love scenes are tender and poignant. It was really heartening to see them regain that friendship they had, and also to have them connect intimately as adults and realize they could have the future they had only daydreamed about. It's a bittersweet but lovely story with a happy ending. 4 stars.
Date published: 2015-09-02