“And lastly, I want to thank Harrison Ford. Because I can. And let’s face it, he shaped as much of my world and imagination as anyone else I can think of. I owe him a hell of a lot.” – Rhys Ford
Author: Tia Fielding
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Pages/Word Count: 200 Pages
Rating: 4 Stars
Blurb: When forty-six-year-old washed-up country musician Jasper “Red” Blue looks at the past, all he sees is a series of failures. His one treasured success is six years battling alcoholism without the help of AA. To secure his children’s future, Jasper desperately wants to produce a new album, but he can’t write alone. And he won’t work with just anyone.
Jasper’s record company manages to secure the writer of one of the biggest country music songs in recent history to help write the album. Cade Wallace is a long-haired former soul surfer, devastatingly handsome, talented, and willing to take a chance on the rugged musician. Jasper, on the other hand, is deep in the closet.
With Jasper’s career hanging in the balance, he can’t promise Cade anything, and Cade eventually heads back to his full-time job as a truck driver, taking Jasper’s hopes of a relationship with him. If Jasper’s dream of a life together is ever to come true, he will have to take some big risks, putting both his career and his children’s security on the line.
Review: Okay, I’ll admit to being a “woman of a certain age”. For those of you who aren’t one, that means around fifty years old. As someone who has earned every single damned gray hair and wrinkle and C-section scar, can I just say Hallef**kinglujah to Tia Fielding for writing a book, a LOVE story, with a main character who is forty-six years old. I have no idea when “they” decided that only the under 35 crowd got to fall in love, but “they” should piss off because love is there for everyone to trip over at whatever age it finds you. My mom, who is a serial monogamist, found her latest love at 62. They live happily and in relatively good health at the Jersey shore, because really, is there a more romantic place on Earth?
Mirage is the story of Jasper “Red” Blue, a washed up alcoholic country music star. In the six years since he dried out, he has been white-knuckling it on his property in Texas, in virtual isolation. He has focused on his relationships with his kids and ex-wife. She has always known he’s gay, but the kids don’t. And he’s definitely not out to the public. His career hasn’t felt important as long as he had enough money to support his family and himself. But now he feels ready to make a new album. He, unfortunately, seems to have lost the ability to write a good song.
The brain-trust at his record label is able to hire an amazingly successful song-writer to come to the ranch and work with him to get enough songs together for an album. Cade Wallace is a full-time truck driver, part-time song writer who happens to be devastatingly hot and talented. He also wrote the most popular country music song to come along in many years. He arrives at Jasper’s home and sparks fly immediately. Cade makes it clear that he is gay, but it takes a little longer for Jasper to admit the same to Cade.
Their song writing becomes a reflection of the development of their relationship. The songs are great, but their chemistry is incendiary. They spend months working on the album (that’s old-timey talk for a bunch of songs recorded at the same time by a band or artist). And in that time, Cade meets Jasper’s friends and his family and just carves out a place in Jasper’s heart and life. Jasper just isn’t willing to make any plans past the end of their collaboration, so Cade is forced to take a trucking job when they finish writing. He leaves Texas and doesn’t look back.
The connection between Jasper and Cade was great. It was lovely to see Jasper coming out as a gay man, one toe at a time, until he got a much needed shove. But it was a good thing. Being a woman of a certain age also enables me to recognize how impossible it can seem to make a big life change at that age. To switch up everything you know, and that people think they know about you. Jasper may never have stepped out of the closet if it hadn’t been for that shove. It’s hard to undo 46 years of thinking and behavior.
While Cade is on the road not looking back, Jasper is figuring how he can get Cade to come back to him. Jasper’s ex-wife and kids are awesome supporting characters through the whole book, but especially here. They fall in line behind Jasper and have his back in a way that is only possible if they really believe in him and trust his sobriety and dedication to them. If Cade won’t take his phone calls, he’s gonna have to do it up right.
One big, public gesture coming right up. I’m not going to spoil it for you. Just know that I was shaking in my boots for Jasper. I was crying with him as he did it up right. With his ex by his side. It was so sweet and romantic and brave. I jumped out of my chair, I was so excited. That was before I really got into the meat of the scene and started crying. So good. The way a love story is meant to be told.
Tia Fielding, Tia Fielding, how did you do it up right with Mirage? Let me count the ways: your main character is 46 years old, he is a GINGER!!!!!, he’s a triple threat (he writes, plays and sings), and he is a country singer. We have read enough closeted rock stars to fill an arena, and I will still read them because there’s just something about a rock star, but there aren’t a lot of gay country music stars. In fiction, I mean. That’s four ways that Tia Fielding did it up right with this book. Just so happens to coincide with the number of stars in my rating. Go figure.