JANE’S HARMONY by Ryan Winfield
This installment of Jane and Caleb’s story picks up right where Jane’s Melody ends. The two are living in Caleb’s little apartment, Caleb is working at a beer distribution center while playing shows in the evenings and on weekends, and Jane is trying to figure out where she fits into the entire equation. She is unemployed with no real prospects for work, especially in her given field. They live next door to a psycho neighbor with her equally psychotic dog, so even if she wasn’t tired of being stuck in the tiny apartment, she’s walking on eggshells trying not to disturb her neighbor. Will life in Austin really be what they both imagined it would be? What if Caleb never actually gets his big break?
Unbeknownst to Caleb, Jane has entered him into a singer/song writer competition (kind of like American Idol, but for those who actually write their own material) and he has been invited to the audition. Originally he was dismissed, but after a technicality leaves one spot open, Caleb is called to Los Angeles to continue on with the show. This is the first time he and Jane have been apart for any length of time, considering he has to spend weeks in L.A. while Jane stays back in Austin. Jane is just short of falling into a depression, since adding Caleb’s absence to the rest of the mix. When a chance encounter with a meter maid, Jane decides to apply for a position as a meter maid as well (so at least she’ll be able to pay for all of those parking tickets she gets). It’s not her dream job, but it gets her out of the house with a sense of purpose, and helps with finances, given how quickly her savings is dwindling.
When Caleb makes it to L.A., he soon realizes that real life and reality TV couldn’t be more different. He quickly becomes disillusioned and wants to go back to his life in Austin; he might be leaving a recording contract behind, however he will be back with Jane, a place he wasn’t meant to be.
Meanwhile, Jane has issues of her own; she quickly finds out that being a meter maid is a lot more difficult than it seemed. When a family emergency has her going back to Seattle, her job is in jeopardy and she is still missing the love of her life, going through everything by herself.
Jane’s Harmony, much like the first book, is a story of love and friendship. Jane finds a friend, whom she has more in common than she thinks, in her next-door neighbor. With her new friendship and her love of Caleb, she begins to find her way in the world. She supports Caleb with all she has, and when he returns to Austin, they realize that being apart is no longer an option; they each need other.
Jane’s Harmony is another well-written, thoughtful, and feel-good novel by Mr. Winfield. I wasn’t a particularly big fan of the idea of the singer/songwriter competition; however it did help to solidify the relationship between Jane and Caleb. They survived many challenges brought about due to Caleb’s time in the public eye, many of them manufactured by the drama of the show itself. These challenges made them all the stronger in the end. I loved how the book ended as well, (no spoilers here!) with Jane being given a second chance she wasn’t sure she needed or wanted. It didn’t have quite the emotional punch of the first book, but I still thoroughly enjoyed it and I love the characters that Mr. Winfield seems to effortlessly craft. I love the camaraderie of the supporting players; they are relatable and genuine, much like the people we have in every day life. I’m definitely looking forward to the next book in the series because I feel a part of Caleb and Jane’s life and can’t wait to see what the future holds for them.
Christina is a Seattle native currently living in the DC area with her sailor husband and two kids. She spends her days lost in books, waiting for the day when she can finally get back to the Evergreen State, or better yet, traveling the world with her husband. She can be found reading and reviewing for Love Between the Sheets.