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Marsha Moyer

REVIEW: Return of the Stardust Cowgirl by Marsha Moyer

REVIEW: Return of the Stardust Cowgirl by Marsha Moyer

Dear Ms. Moyer,

stardust-cowgirl.jpgWhen I first read “The Second Coming of Lucy Hatch,” I was blown away by it. Loved the characters, loved the setting, loved the book. Since then, I’ve had my ups and downs with the Lucy Hatch series. But “Return of the Stardust Cowgirl” felt like coming home after a long time away. You know, when you finally get back to what you remember, and the people you grew up with and the place where you come from? Sure, things have changed since you left, people have aged, nothing stays the same but it just feels like you’re wrapped up in warmth and love and forgiveness, no matter what’s gone on in the interim.

Like all the other novels in the series, the action centers on the small east Texas town of Mooney. Stuck out in the piney backwoods, many things are just as I remember them – Lucy’s aunt Dove’s fabulous garden, Lucy’s prickly mother, her two solid brothers along with their wives and children. But life flows on and the town is shrinking as people move away to find work. Faye’s flower shop – which has been Lucy’s refuge since the early days of her widowhood before she hooked up with Ash Farrell and the town began putting bets on how long they’d last – looks like it will be the next to close down.

But even before Lucy hears this, she’s reeling from Denny’s return. Ash’s daughter from his first marriage is back home, fleeing from a bad marriage to a worse husband. And pregnant to boot. With her own music career finally taking off, Denny’s already got too much on her plate. And it’s not like nobody warned her about Will Culpepper who shows up hot on her tail then shows his ass. It’s a good thing for all that Ty Briggs follows since, as Dove puts it, he can shoulder a load.

Ash is still stuggling, day by day, with the fight against alcoholism that nearly tore their marriage apart after his own brief turn at stardom in Nashville. It’s a little easier than the worst of those dark days and Lucy is grateful they clawed themselves back from the brink to salvage the love that still burns bright between them. Ash tells her their love is the flame that keeps him steady and that most of the fabulous songs he once wrote were about her. With his home built studio now finished, perhaps the spark will strike again, allowing the music Lucy knows is still in Ash to pour out again.

“Return of the Stardust Cowgirl” is a soft, sweet coming home and winding up of the Lucy Hatch story. It’s some regrets, mingled with forgiveness, unconditional love, second chances and putting your heart out there even knowing it might be broken. It’s living with a few disappointments, shaking them off, squaring your shoulders and realizing in the end that life in a small east Texas town, surrounded by those you know and love is pretty darn good after all. B


REVIEW:  Heartbreak Town by Marsha Moyer

REVIEW: Heartbreak Town by Marsha Moyer

Dear Ms Moyer,

Heartbreak Town: A NovelWhen Jane told me that she’d received an advanced copy of your latest book, Heartbreak Town, I was thrilled. I love the first in the trilogy The Second Coming of Lucy Hatch” I really like The Last of the Honky-tonk Angels and was eager to see what’s in store next for Lucy, Ash, Denny, Jude and the citizens of Mooney, TX. You’d left me with a ton of questions at the end of “Angels” and I needed answers.

It was good to see old friends and faces back in Mooney. Some had changed and others hadn’t changed at all. What had happened in the few years interval since book two was Ash’s meteoric rise and fall on the Nashville music scene. Initial success hadn’t translated into lasting fame for him and the bottle was eroding the wonderment of Ash and Lucy’s marriage. When she thought it was the only option left to her, Lucy had packed up their son Jude, quickly loaded her car and turned it southwest towards east Texas. Now suddenly Ash has shown up again, moving onto their joint property against Lucy’s say-so. Is he trying to win her back, just see their son, restart his career, dry out or just passing through? Lucy can’t tell, Ash doesn’t really seem to know but you can bet that everybody in Mooney’s gonna have something to say about it all.

Once again, thank you for creating Mooney. The descriptions of it and NE Texas make me feel them – the heat, the crickets at night, the stars spread across the midnight sky, the small town with it’s lack of any cultural refinement and having to drive to other places for any choice or selection. I like that the town isn’t a DoubleName cliche of the South yet after two books, some characters are getting slightly stereotyped, especially those who feel the need to place bets on all aspects of Ash and Lucy’s lives. Dove’s garden still seems to be growing and looks like it might take over the town soon. Geneva and Bailey finally have a child, an adopted Chinese daughter Lily who seems like an old soul at age five. Jude sounds like a little boy – delighted to see his father and do “guy” things – growing up and away from hugs with Mommy – wanting his independence.

I like that you’ve included ups and downs for everyone. Life hasn’t been all rosy for the Farrell family – which is good – but it’s still hard for me to read about an alcoholic character due to personal reasons. Lucy and Ash still have a ways to go, probably always will since Ash will never be a recovered alcoholic — that seems reasonable – marriage is hard work and this book shows that – warts and all — HEAs take work. I can see why Lucy distrusts Ash and his recovery but at the same time, I did get tired of her not cutting him any slack. And what happens to Denny and Will? I hope you were laying the groundwork for a fourth book about for them cause you sure left us dangling. It was nice to finally get some information about Raymond Hatch and see some depth to Patsy Hatch beyond just being holier than thou. How could Father Laughlin not know about black-spot on roses? But I like his character too even if he does seem to have too many slick sayings to spout to Lucy. I like how he says he doesn’t always know if what he’s saying makes any difference to those he counsels.

I think you did a good job sketching out what happened in the two previous books yet I would strongly recommend that newcomers to the series start at the beginning and work their way through all the books as there’s a lot of details they’ll miss otherwise. As I said earlier, I also hope there’s another book in the works since this one left me with almost as many questions as I had after “Angels.” Yet it was good to go back to Mooney again and I certainly enjoyed my stay. B-