Judd’s first novel about the travails of a singer-songwriter torn between Nashville success and the pull of home.
Destiny Hart could never duck a dare, so when her high-school friends trick her into entering the Kentucky Idol talent competition shortly after graduation, no one expects her to win, leastwise Destiny herself. To the chagrin of her domineering father John, a retired Air Force colonel, she forgoes college to make it big in Nashville. Since running away from Wilmot, her small Kentucky hometown, the closest she’s come to a music career is waitressing at the Saddle Bar & Grill, the Nashville equivalent of Schwab’s Pharmacy, where country-music hopefuls come to be discovered. She’s understudying the bar’s current headliner, Mandy, a bleached blonde who’s as stubbornly healthy as she is tone-deaf. When high-school heartthrob Seth comes to visit, Destiny realizes that the attraction between them can no longer be ignored. But she’s bent on pursuing her dream of stardom wherever it takes her, and Seth is house-hunting in Wilmot and wants only to settle down and coach high-school baseball. Destiny’s big break finally comes, and in no time she has a record deal, a manager and a posse of publicists. Her song "Restless Heart" is chosen as the theme for a country music variant of The Bachelor reality show, and megastar Tammy Turner wants Destiny to open for her at Tammy’s new amphitheatre. But trouble at home is brewing. John and mom Sara are at odds over everything from Destiny’s career path to Sara’s midlife rebellion against military wifehood. Their other daughter Grace has fled the family turmoil to live with Destiny and carve out her own Nashville future. Can homebody Seth adjust to Destiny’s life on the road? Will Wilmot woes shortstop Destiny’s fast grounder to fame?
The answers are all too predictable, and readers hoping for a fresh, insider’s look at the country-music scene—or for celebrity dish—will be disappointed.