Title: Rustic Memory (Rustic 2)
Author: Nic Starr
Release Date: January 26, 2016
Page Count: 156
Reviewed by: Kristin
Heat Level: 3 flames out of 5
Rating: 3 stars out of 5
Tyler Samuels had his reasons for leaving the country town where he grew up. He moved to the city, established a home and a career, and found love. Now Ty is in his early thirties, and as his life takes another tragic turn, he finds himself returning to the place he first ran from.
Mac McGrath has lived in Armidale all his life. He loves his family and his job as an electrician, running the family business. The only thing missing in his life is a relationship. When Ty, his teenage crush, arrives back in town, maybe he has found someone to love at last.
What starts as friends with benefits quickly turns to more for Mac, but Ty will need to let go of his memories if he is to learn to love again. But can Mac wait that long?
I continue to enjoy Nic Starr’s stories – well written, feel good stories that can be read in an afternoon or a couple of days. And while Rustic Memory met that criteria, something was a somewhat off for me in this installment. I felt I kept getting bounced out of the story.
At the beginning of the story, we learn that Tyler – Ty – experiences the traumatic loss of his first love. Then the story bounces to Ty’s return to Armidale and in flashbacks, we learn the why fore and where how of his return. Personally, I would have liked the period of time between his departure and return fleshed out more. I never really got the feeling of Tyler’s grief and struggle other than pushing Mac away.
That was one of my struggles with the dynamic of Tyler and Mac – for myself, their relationship came across as a bit too much ‘insta-love’. Yes, Mac had harbored feelings for years, but I didn’t feel Ty’s beyond not wanting to hurt again.
I’m really on the fence about this next bit – this group of guys had a tendency to slip into chick mode. Whole heck of a lotta touching, lots of heart to hearts, and dinners with wine. I could see that with Tyler; it was established he was in the hospitality business and he and Nicholas used to entertain friends on a regular basis.
Where it didn’t fit was with Mac and his group of friends. It’s been established that Armidale is not as urban as Melbourne or Sydney. Guys ride horses and motorbikes. Work as carpenters and electricians. We have salt of the earth guys here wearing cargo shorts, to tight t-shirts and flip-flops while playing pool and drinking beer. Suddenly they are making beef bourguignon casseroles, cracking open Syrah, and well, behaving like I would expect of a group of girls. I know it’s possible but given the setting it didn’t quite work for me.
So, while I was entertained over the course of an afternoon, I think Rustic Memory could have benefited from being longer – more of Tyler’s background between finishing school and starting college, more of what Nicolas meant to him, more of the stress of taking on an established business.
Rustic Memory could be read as a stand-alone; there is enough backfill to bring the reader up-to-speed from book one with a few spoilers.