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The Novels

Synopsis & Review of "Looking for Love"


     When, with drummer Styx Buchanan, they started their band, ‘The Hot Rocks’, sax player Jasper Fenneman and bassist Rachel Monroe each had sworn privately to never again get romantically involved with a musician. ‘Unpredictable, always broke, obsessed with sex, has crazy ideas, keeps weird hours… broke my heart.’ The Hot Rocks is a terrific band with too many ‘freebie’ gigs, a slippery manager, infectious, danceable music, and romantic attraction bouncing back and forth among them.
    As de facto leader of The Hot Rocks (a name which beautiful and outspoken bass player, Rachel, considers sexist), Jasper feels responsible for their shared career path. Newly-added guitar player, Cliff Randall lusts after Rachel, but ‘hooks up’ with keyboard player, Christine Flynn, after her amorous advances are rejected by Jasper. When that happens, the brewing ‘Greek tragedy’ that their prescient drummer, Styx, had predicted begins to take shape.
    Cliff and Christine leave The Hot Rocks and Sonoma County’s ‘wine country’, for Los Angeles, seeking fame, fortune, and a better agent than the Hot Rocks’ greedy manager, ‘Earl, the Squirrel’. The remaining Hot Rocks members regroup as Jasper and Rachel start realizing the depth of their affection for each other.


 

Repeated phone calls from Cliff and Christine describing ‘fantastic musical opportunities’ in the ‘City of Angels’ convince Rachel and Jasper to  move to Los Angeles. Upon arriving, sleepy and exhausted, they sign a long, almost unreadable contract, which includes starting a four-member band with Cliff and Christine, already dubbed ‘Chosen Ones’.‘
    Chosen Ones’ is under the aegis of Andrew ‘Sonny’ Graham, Cliff and Christine’s dynamic, unpredictable agent. Gigs come in steadily, but when jealous Sonny and Cliff try to oust Jasper from the group, he and Rachel quit Chosen Ones and return north. After they leave, Sonny sues them for ‘Breach of Contract', Actual and Anticipatory’, naming a huge sum in compensatory damages due him as the plaintiff.Christine secretly arrives on Rachel and Jasper’s doorstep one evening, offering new evidence that could get Sonny’s case against them dismissed. Jasper, now called Jaz, returns to Los Angeles with her, and undertakes the process of legally fighting Sonny’s action in court, while Rachel is rebuilding their life in the north.    
    As lawyers successfully play all sides in a Los Angeles courtroom, long-standing layers of treachery in the music business are  revealed. Christine’s star is on the rise but Cliff’s and Sonny Graham’s careers are shaken. Leaving the courtroom, Jaz wryly observes: ‘Cherchez la femme.’

Review:
The Power of Love and Music:
How "Looking for Love" Captures the Heartbeat of a Band's Journey to Fame


In Jane Frances Hirsh's upcoming novel "Looking for Love," readers are transported into the vibrant and tumultuous world of an indie band striving for success. The book masterfully links the themes of romance, ambition, and the gritty reality of the music industry, making it a compelling read for fans of both love stories and musical dramas.

A Deep Dive into the Music Scene
"Looking for Love" centers around The Hot Rocks, a band filled with talented yet struggling musicians. Each member brings their unique personality and musical prowess to the group, but they also carry personal baggage that adds layers of complexity to their interactions. Jasper, the
de facto leader, and Rachel, the outspoken bass player, are at the heart of the story. Their private vows to avoid romantic entanglements with fellow musicians set the stage for the emotional conflicts that follow.

Hirsh's background in the arts and her experiences with theater and radio bring authenticity to her depiction of the band's dynamics. The challenges faced by The Hot Rocks, from dealing with unreliable managers to the fickle nature of gig opportunities, reflect real-life struggles encountered by many musicians.


Romantic Entanglements and Personal Growth
At its core, "Looking for Love" is a romance novel, but it stands out by delving deep into the intricacies of relationships within the band. The romantic tension between Jasper and Rachel is palpable, and their journey from mutual attraction to genuine affection is fraught with obstacles. Their interactions with other band members, particularly the flirtatious guitarist Cliff and the ambitious keyboardist Christine, create a web of romantic and professional conflicts that drive the story forward.

These entanglements are not just about romance; they are about personal growth and self-discovery. Jasper and Rachel's evolving relationship highlights the importance of trust, communication, and mutual respect. Their story is a testament to the power of love to overcome challenges, both personal and professional.


The Gritty Reality of Pursuing Fame
The novel does not shy away from portraying the harsh realities of the music industry. The Hot Rocks' struggle to move beyond local gigs and achieve broader recognition is a familiar tale for many aspiring musicians. The depiction of their manager, Earl, who is more interested in lining his own pockets than genuinely promoting the band, underscores the exploitative practices that can permeate the industry.

As the band members grapple with these challenges, their resilience and dedication to their craft become evident. The decision by Jasper and Rachel to form a new band, The Red-Hot Hurricanes, after facing numerous setbacks, illustrates their unwavering passion for music and their determination to succeed on their terms.


Legal Battles and New Beginnings
Legal issues add another layer of complexity to the story. When Jasper and Rachel sign a dubious contract with Andrew "Sonny" Graham, they find themselves embroiled in a legal battle that threatens their career and relationship. This subplot not only adds suspense but also highlights the importance of understanding legalities in any professional endeavor.

The resolution of these legal challenges brings about significant personal growth for the characters. Jasper and Rachel's ability to navigate these hurdles and come out stronger underscores the themes of resilience and perseverance that run throughout the novel.


A Compelling Read for Romance and Music Lovers
"Looking for Love" is a novel that resonates on multiple levels. It captures the essence of the indie music scene, with all its ups and downs, while delivering a heartfelt romance that explores the complexities of love and ambition. Jane Frances Hirsh's ability to draw from her own artistic experiences enriches the narrative, making it a story that feels both authentic and deeply engaging.

For readers who enjoy stories about the pursuit of dreams, the power of love, and the challenges of the music industry, "Looking for Love" is a must-read. Its realistic portrayal of band life, combined with the emotional depth of its characters, ensures that it will captivate and entertain, offering a glimpse into the passionate and often chaotic world of aspiring musicians.

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