The Farewell Tour. Stephanie Clifford. 2023. [March] 352 pages. [Source: Library]
First sentence: I wouldn't have recognized the farm. Almost didn't. Charlie nearly drove our tour bus right by it.
Premise/plot: Lillian Waters (aka Lena Thorsell, aka "Water Lil") is a middle-aged country and western "star" returning to the road for her farewell tour. She's been absent from the music scene for a handful of years--three to five years. Her last performance did not go well. But after a medical diagnosis stuns her, she is out to mend her reputation and leave on a high note.
The narrative alternates between the present-day (1980/1981) and the past. (Lena was born in 1924, left home and changed her name at age ten.) Her life has been rough--full of ups and downs. Fame came 'relatively' later in life (her forties). But "fame" can't buy happiness. Nothing can.
My thoughts: I wanted to enjoy this one. I haven't always appreciated the history of country music, country "and western" music. But the older I get, the more appreciative I am of music that came before. I liked the name dropping well enough. I like the premise--of an "older" country star trying to stay relevant and in the business in the midst of all the newcomers, the up-and-comers. (Like Barbara Mandrell).
But. I found Lillian Waters to be an unlikable narrator. I found her abrasive and bitter. I found her ambitious and manipulative. She doesn't come across as a people person. She isn't empathetic or kind. (I don't have a problem with ambitious and hardworking. But she was so manipulative and unkind.)
© 2023 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews
You got me all excited as it sounded like fun!
Thanks for sharing this review with the Historical Fiction Reading Challenge.
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