Shotgun Love Songs by Nickolas Butler

shotgun

The story of four men who grow up in a small-town Little Wing, Wisconsin. Ronny becomes a successful rodeo rider but returns to Little Wing with a head injury and a drinking problem.  Kip moves to Chicago, makes a lot of money and returns to fix up the crumbling grain elevator as an entertainment venue.  Hank stays in Little Wing, marries his sweetheart Beth, works the family farm and fends off bankruptcy.  And Lee becomes a world famous musician who keeps a local farmhouse to come back to when he needs to recharge his batteries.  The four friends think they know all of each others’ secrets, but new connections trigger hurtful revelations and they must struggle to come to terms with their changing relationship.

What the Armchair Critics Thought

This was a very cozy book with characters you wanted to sit down and have a cup of coffee with.  It was a good light read with a strong sense of place.  The author lives on a large rural property in Wisconsin, and his love of the area is obvious in the novel’s beautiful descriptive passages.  Apparently the character of Lee was based on indie rocker Bon Ivor who grew up in a small town.  Themes of privacy and anonymity are explored as the characters hide and reveal their authentic selves.  Ronny is able to leave his reputation as a damaged person behind, Lee is able to live as a non-famous person, Kip is trying to build a reputation by giving back to the community.  We did wish there had been more of Beth’s voice in the book.  Recommended.

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