A Song For Another Day by Maria Imbalzano

A Song For Another Day by Maria Imbalzano
Publisher: The Wild Rose Press
Genre: Contemporary, Romance
Rating: 3 stars
Reviewed by Fern

Gigi Jenson, an up-and-coming Broadway star, finds herself in Willow Springs, Vermont, for the summer as director of their first annual community revue. This sleepy town is worlds away from her vibrant and beloved New York City, but the experience she’ll gain will be invaluable to her career.
Jason Simmons has lived in Willow Springs his entire life. Working several jobs while writing music, he yearns for a contract to record his songs. The one chance he had to make it in Nashville he blew due to stage fright.
When Jason volunteers to help Gigi with the revue, sparks ignite but their dreams are taking them in different directions. Could their love for each other guide them to the same path?

Gigi decides a change of pace is needed when she struggles to find her dreams in New York City. Taking a position to direct a community review in a tiny village in Vermont might have been a bigger change of pace than she’d reckoned with. Jason had blown his one chance at the big time – but in his own way he was happy with his small village and his regular slot singing and playing at the local pub. He has no intention of signing up for Gigi’s revue, but when Gigi’s strict rules and stricter suits set a few people on edge he can’t help himself and tries to give her advice on how to fit in with their small town better.

I found it a really odd experience to not really like Gigi’s character from fairly early on in this story. Sure, she’s a modern, upwardly mobile and sassy-as-heck New York lady – but her culture shock at arriving in a small country town in rural Vermont had me seriously struggling to find her appealing. I’m not sure why Gigi accepted a job in such a small town without at least Googling her new, albeit temporary, home. It was surprising to me, therefore, just how strong Gigi’s shock and disappointment was at there being no museums, no boutiques or nightlife or anything Gigi considered absolutely essential. The strength of her dislike of the small village didn’t make me chuckle and empathise with her, on the contrary her attitude and faint disdain made Gigi come across to me as snobby and a little bit bitchy – so it was a hard beginning to what ended up thankfully being such a warm and enjoyable story.
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I was exceedingly grateful, when Gigi managed to swallow her arrogance, lower her lofty New York expectations and relax, letting the small village and all the local characters charm her. I enjoyed the story – and Gigi herself – a lot more when she wasn’t comparing every little thing unfavourably to her regular life in one of the world’s largest, richest and busiest cities and simply enjoyed this time and small town as it was.

In stark contrast to my slow-growing-warmth towards Gigi – I totally loved Jason’s character almost immediately. While he didn’t fall in insta-lust with Gigi – for which I was completely grateful – his attraction to her was quick and he tried to stifle it, knowing she was a Big City girl and was only passing through. I adored how even though Jason was attracted to Gigi he kept his feeling to himself, and offered her advice and help on how to better integrate with the other people in town and make the revue a success. I normally wouldn’t want a hero and main character to hide his feelings in this way – but Gigi absolutely wasn’t ready for any kind of emotional connection or relationship for quite a way into the story and Jason deserved so much better than she could have initially given him. This made his growing attraction and his keeping it to himself completely acceptable and even commendable to my mind.

While the plot of the community revue was solid right throughout the novel, there was also the really strong plots surrounding both Jason and Gigi’s careers. This book was exceptionally well plotted and I loved how the author wove all these parts together throughout the whole story. Gigi is about to make her big break on Broadway and Jason finds himself finally ready to reach for and embrace his music career. I was glad Gigi was completely up front from the beginning with her priorities and plans – she didn’t lead Jason on or give him false hope that she had any desire to stay in this small town, but while I loved this brutal honesty from a plot perspective it dimmed my attraction and attachment to the relationship growing between Gigi and Jason.

I found it hard to invest in them as a couple when it was so clear Gigi had her eyes firmly on her career and progressing as far as she could as fast as possible and while I believed she truly cared for Jason she wanted her career first and foremost and not him. I have to give Gigi major kudos for knowing her own mind and not lying or deceiving Jason – intentionally or not – but I really struggled to get on board with Jason and Gigi as a couple and couldn’t feel overly enthusiastic about their romance when there was so clearly an “expiration date” on it and Gigi always had one foot out the door. Without giving anything too much away this story does have a solid Happily Ever After ending and the romance between Gigi and Jason gets sorted out and full closure – but much of this happens in the final few pages. While all the answers were given and the explanations were there – I truly felt the relationship between Gigi and Jason was merely “fixed” so it gave a Happy Ever After and it didn’t *feel* as if their problems and blockages were resolved. Because of this I feel strongly that some readers will struggle with the romance aspect to this story just like I did. Without time and exposure to how and why Gigi and Jason made their relationship work and how they got there it was difficult to believe in it – just being told “this happened and now they’re all right” didn’t cut it for me, personally.

The plot, the characters and the small town were all well written and well handled to my mind – but for a romance story I feel that in a number of ways the actual romance between Gigi and Jason just didn’t work for me and that was a shame since I enjoyed much of the rest of the story.

Realistic – often brutally so – and with a few well-paced and well-written plots this is an interesting full length story. Readers looking for an intense emotional and romantic connection might not find this story fully satisfies them, but readers who enjoy small-town stories with many interesting characters and a tight plot should find themselves enjoying this story.

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